But just because it’s theoretically the right idea, not all attempts to unify processes across organizations pay off. One respondent talked about a consultant-driven effort to unify asset planning across all domains for procurement purposes. The effort had CIO level support and involved some significant consulting and other overhead costs. Unfortunately, the consultants in this case overlooked one fundamental bit of common sense: while process efficiencies can be gained by unifying procurement across network, systems, and applications, skill sets for selecting the right network, systems, and software packages are quite domain-specific. In ignoring the obvious, this otherwise well-intentioned effort soon collapsed and failed. After years of planning gone awry, this IT organization is back to siloed asset planning.
When asked about technologies, discovery and inventory tools rated high, but configuration management topped the charts. Putting assets in context with maintenance and support as well as service implications was also high. According to one
Not surprisingly, CMDB (configuration management database) systems came up in a number of our interviews. According to one respondent: “I’m putting pretty much everything into the CMDB from an infrastructure and software perspective—systems, networking hardware, applications, telecommunications connectivity. What’s not getting included are desktops and mobile devices, telephony devices and other end station hardware.”
The overall message from the research is that, to use an old and possibly clichéd Bob Dylan lyric: “The times they are a changin’!” But in making the changes towards more unified asset and service financial planning programs, a little common sense along with some savvy technology and political awareness, can go a long way.
Dennis Drogseth is vice president of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates, an industry research firm focused on IT management. Dennis can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.