If anyone doubted how closely technology use and business success are now entwined, navigating a path through a global pandemic should have dispelled any uncertainty.
1. What is my current situation?
2. How can I optimise my investment?
3. How can I reduce risk through well-managed security and governance?
While the answers may have, in the past, been elusive for most organisations, in my recent JuiceIT session, I talked participants through a set of Technology Intelligence tools that make things much clearer.
Without a clear picture of technology assets, decisions may be based on a combination of instinct and guesswork. Since IT professionals tend to prefer hard facts, any analysis typically begins with listing what the organisation currently owns. While that sounds simple, it can be anything but; often, this is assessed by using purchasing records, static data that is quickly outdated. As staff move around, change roles, or leave the organisation, record-keeping fails to keep up, putting the analysis back into guesswork territory.
All this was less of a challenge when dealing with mainly office-based workers who were content to use whatever standard apps the IT team deemed necessary. Now that anyone with a credit card can acquire technology, and entire workforces have embraced work from home practices, recording IT assets is a lot harder than walking round the building with a pen and clipboard.
A far better option is the Technology Intelligence platform delivered by Data#3. It employs an inventory agent to create records featuring information about every device, such as its primary user, serial number, processor type, disk space, and any connected peripherals. Records are created automatically, and updated every 24 hours, complete with dynamic data about all installed apps.
A common mistake is to use System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM), but this is not an appropriate tool for Technology Intelligence or Software Asset Management. The limitations in situations involving hybrid deployment, such as Microsoft 365, are especially notable – and since this must-have productivity and collaboration suite is one of the most important technology investments for almost every business, it is an especially important area for optimisation and cost management.
The tool performs equally well in the data centre, gathering information and presenting it in a choice of formats, right down to software running on individual or clusters of VMs. The Technology Intelligence dashboard gives immediate, accurate, and easily understood information that supports better decisions about technology spend.
While visibility is the first step, optimisation requires effective assessment and analysis of the data gathered. In the optimisation stage, the Technology Intelligence platform looks at how technology investments are used, and identifies those unused or underutilised. You can access information right down to which apps within the Adobe suite or Microsoft 365 any given individual uses, and this has implications in terms of license choice. We frequently find opportunities for substantial savings in this area alone. The Technology Intelligence platform collates the information gathered, and builds it into a single report that makes recommendations on the best licence fit based on actual use.
This optimisation goes far beyond small gains. The Software as a Service (SaaS) market is predicted to grow 241% between 2017 and 2022 (Gartner), with 80% of IT spend business led by 2024 (Snow Software). In a fast-paced business environment, it is typical for a SaaS portfolio to change fast, making it especially worthwhile to continually review and optimise your SaaS spend.
As workplaces progress in the digital world, they must face a number of new challenges. The global COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend of remote work, and in most workplaces, some element of work from home flexibility is set to survive long after the lockdowns end. For workforces, the choice and work-life balance potential are undeniably attractive, but the arising lack of governance and emerging security implications have put many organisations on the back foot. Unsurprisingly, the state of flux has been quickly exploited by opportunistic cybercriminals, and the FBI reports a 300% increase in cyberattacks since March 2020.
For IT teams, already in many cases dealing with 5,000 alerts per day (Cisco), and also juggling the demands of facilitating remote work, reducing both risk and effort is possible. Powered by Snow Software, the Technology Intelligence platform delivers dynamic security and data protection information. As well as increasing understanding of the organisation’s information security posture into the furthest reaches of the digital estate, there is a layer of proactive monitoring and assessment that makes it far easier to manage the cybercrime onslaught.
The Technology Intelligence platform’s dashboard gives an immediate overview of vulnerabilities on the home screen. It is simple to tell at a glance the number of devices affected. Digging deeper, filters can be applied to focus on particular threats or users. Normally, identifying this information is a manual task that takes significant time, and in the face of emerging risks, speed of response is critical. The Technology Intelligence platform is about more than being responsive. It gives the opportunity to get ahead of potential issues before they happen. It also looks at how you manage, store, and protect personal identifiable information (PII). It can pinpoint which apps store PII, and whether anti-virus software is installed. If an organisation is targeted and breached, it can show which apps the impacted device or employee accesses or uses. This sort of intelligence is a huge advantage in a crisis situation, helping organisations to act swiftly and decisively to prevent catastrophic outcomes.
As part of the day-to-day management of technology resources, the security and governance capabilities can also be a blessing. The dashboard includes an information lifecycle view that identifies which apps are coming to the end of their lifecycle, and potential upgrade paths. It is simple to drill into this information to find out which users and devices are affected, so that making an upgrade plan is easier, and risk will be better managed. In this way, you can make an informed decision, based on facts.
1. How can I get a clear view of a fragmented landscape?
2. Can I rely on accurate data to be available at a moment’s notice?
3. What technology choices offer best value, and how can I budget for them?
4. How do I support a secure digital environment?
If you can confidently answer these questions, you are in a great position to capitalise on the digital opportunity ahead. Want to learn more about Technology Intelligence?
Watch my JuiceIT video here, request a copy of Data#3’s Technology Intelligence Solutions eBook, or contact our friendly team for a free online assessment.