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Putting IT on a diet! At what point is IT too skinny?

Micro Focus Expert
Micro Focus Expert
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Last week Denise Dubie, a senior editor with Network World, wrote an interesting article titled, Savvy management: Putting IT on a diet. In the article, she interviews Evelyn Hubbert, a Forrester analyst who is well versed in NetIQ technology - you should ask her about us if you have a subscription with them. Evelyn cites a statistic that up to 70% of IT costs go to managing existing systems (presumably meaning that the other 30% goes towards new projects). She goes on to say that IT is "starting to understand the importance of better management in their efforts to get leaner,”  and that another area IT managers needs to investigate is software license usage to get leaner.

I certainly don't doubt Evelyn's or Denise's statistics, but I have a lot of friends in IT management who are probably asking themselves, where does all that budget go? The organizations I've met with recently have told me they're past the point of doing more with less. The reductions have been made. Budgets aren’t growing soon enough. Yet they have to deliver on projects now to keep the business competitive. With fewer resources, it's natural to look toward automation, and some smart companies are using IT Process Automation (ITPA) as the solution to deliver. I spoke with a company recently that is doing the workload of what used to take 40 people with 35. This year's savings is $500,000. They have two full time employees now working on automating additional processes because of the success and the list for more automation keeps growing.

Few would argue that automation is great, but it has to be relevant to challenges today and in the future. Many IT organizations will gravitate towards point automation tools (e.g. VMware provisioning), and then have to invest in other automation tools as new needs arise. ITPA is a general automation solution, that may take a bit more customization up front, but eliminates the need for licensing and maintaining yet another automation platform over and over again.

This brings up the second point that Evelyn made about watching software licensing costs. Reducing the software license footprint to match your current asset footprint is a good thing, but even better is to use more of the functionality in the tools you already have so you don’t have to buy new tools. Of course, that takes an investment in training and time (call it exercise), but ITPA is a way to get around that, because ITPA tools are built to understand the functionality available in your current tools like ticketing systems, monitoring tools, provisioning tools, etc. With ITPA, you may use capabilities that you didn't even realize you had, as part of enabling processes. And that is a great way to diet without all the fuss of exercising.
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