Appropriately then, the ITAM Review now gets to quiz Longbottom on his recent white paper entitled Don’t sweat assets, liberate them! (free to access without registration) with a view to finding out why so many firms are “just sitting” on IT equipment that is sweating away and failing to be used in a productive context that will support the business optimally.
The ITAM Review: What’s the real issue with “sweating” IT assets then?
Clive Longbottom: Here’s the problem, the commonly received wisdom among many organisations is to “sweat the assets” to gain as much perceived lifetime value from them as possible. However, IT assets have inherent value which can change significantly through each asset’s lifecycle – whether this is through its hard resale value or just through its scrap value. By applying a full IT lifecycle management (ITLM) approach to the complete IT platform, a business-optimised platform can be created – one where business value overrides the embedded concept of sweating assets.
The ITAM Review: So when you say that every IT asset has some intrinsic value, can you provide us with some more colour and context?
Clive Longbottom: Well look at the facts, even old IT equipment has some level of value – whether it is as working equipment, as spares or even in the precious and rare metals held within the equipment. The key is to be able to optimise the value that can be gained from these assets while managing the security and performance of the total IT platform.
The ITAM Review: You also assert that data itself always has an intrinsic value — and managing this badly can have massive impact on organisations. What are firms really doing with data that is so wrong?
Clive Longbottom: With many organisations having in excess of 80% of their data now in electronic format, the value of that data to the organisation cannot be underestimated. The intellectual property of the organisation is tied up in some of this data – yet not all data needs to be managed at the highest level of security. Being able to match different data types with an agreed corporate risk profile enables IT asset values to be optimised through managing how storage devices are dealt with during their decommissioning and disposal stages.
The ITAM Review: So you extoll the virtues of IT Lifecycle Management (ITLM) as the key strategic means of managing the value of an IT platform do you?
Clive Longbottom: To a large degree yes, actively managing an IT platform enables an organisation to be flexibly and effectively supported by continuous replacement of IT assets as the balance between their business value and intrinsic residual value is managed to ensure that an optimum platform is in place at all times. Organisations that try to sweat IT assets through extending their useful life will find that the business support provided by ageing equipment falls away rapidly to the point where IT becomes a constraint to the business, whereas those that attempt to always be at the leading edge by replacing equipment too often will find that IT costs will be too high for the business value provided. Finding the sweet spot is what ITLM is all about.
The ITAM Review: You say that understanding where your organisation is within a maturity model helps define an ITLM strategy, can you explain this further please?
Clive Longbottom: Few organisations will be at the same point in their ITLM journey. To help organisations understand where they are on this journey, Quocirca has created an eight-step ITLM process that matches with a six-level maturity model. Readers of this report will be able to understand where their organisation stands within the maturity model, and plot a way to gain the best business gains through carrying out a gap analysis as to where they believe they should be.
The ITAM Review: So to gain the most business value, ITLM requires outside assistance does it?
Clive Longbottom: Although ITLM can be carried out by an organisation itself, Quocirca recommends using external experts as trusted partners. Good ITLM partners can source better deals on hardware and software licensing as they negotiate on behalf of multiple clients; fully understand all the legal aspects around asset disposal (such as the UK’s WEEE and COSHH legislation); and will have the wherewithal to ensure that data assets are dealt with in line with the organisation’s corporate risk profile. Such 3rd parties will also have the existing agreements for extracting the utmost value from old assets, through recycling, stripping for spares or by selling on the residue of secure disposal (asset destruction) for the recovery of precious and rare metals.