Managing the IT estate has never been so important

Opinion Jan 09, 2013

By Simon Ellis, director estate management solutions and services EMEA at Avnet

Today’s CIO is under attack.

In today’s economy, businesses are required to make less money go further and the customer spend is definitely getting tighter. The mantra ‘to do more with less’ applies to CIOs, IT managers and also to channel partners who are managing their customer estates.

When new investment is called for, a clear understanding of the entire IT landscape and return on investment (ROI) is a top priority. In addition, there’s the question of compliance and regulation, adding increasing pressure to organisations, and CIO and IT managers in particular.

In a mixed hardware and software estate, the challenge of understanding how to ‘sweat the assets’ is much greater. Various commercial agreements and deployment measures, different replacement lifecycles and a variety of deployment and commercial opportunities add to the complexity.

Estate Management services offer new incremental opportunities and revenue streams to the channel by building closer and deeper relationships with their existing customer base while also offering new services to the market to gain new clients.

These services allow IT and business managers to manage each individual aspect of their IT estate; this includes contracts, renewals, compliance and deployment. Therefore, organisations have immediate, easy access to critical data, allowing IT managers to leverage potential opportunities for savings, consolidation and optimisation. What’s more, end of life products, which are no longer supported by the vendor, can be easily identified and actioned to avoid any potential risk to the business.

Complete lifecycle estate management supports channel partners and customers from start to finish, as they learn to take advantage of the IT estate and what it has to offer. Such solutions allow IT managers to handle today’s pain points and challenges, whether from a commercial or a deployment focal point.

What does this have to do with the channel?

Customer spend is getting tighter, and the mantra ‘to do more with less’ applies to CIOs, IT managers and also to channel partners who manage their customer estates today.

Overall, effective estate management solutions puts information directly into the hands of the IT managers to allow them to make smarter, more informed decisions to meet tight budgets.

There are copious benefits to employing estate management solutions. From specific project needs through to complete management of an IT estate, Estate Management solutions available today can cover a range of areas which can be used in isolation or together to form a comprehensive overview of a company’s IT infrastructure.

These benefits include:

Contracts and renewals

· Contracts and renewals are assets to an organisation. They define the ‘rights to use and consume’ products and services from vendors and resellers. By enabling proactive management of contracts and renewals applicable to an estate it is possible to improve commercial management and therefore identify new opportunities.

Discovery and estate baseline

· An organisation must identify what hardware and software is deployed in its estate in order to define its ‘as-is’ position and to obtain detailed knowledge which can optimise the estate for the future. Managing an estate correctly requires a solid baseline from which the user can understand, govern and assess changes, new deployments and opportunities as they arise.

Common language and visualisation

· A common language within an IT estate enables you to ask questions such as: ‘show me all databases,’ ‘show me all servers,’ ‘show me all virtualization’ in your estate. Visualising where assets are located, and the way in which they relate to each other, will allow a much deeper insight into the IT estate.

Modelling

· Managing an estate also means planning for the future, looking at how existing estates can be transformed, scaled up, removed from and augmented. The implementation of an effective estate management solution can help the user to model changes in the estate and to look at the commercial impact.

Opportunity identification

· The analysis of contract and discovered estate uncovers areas of opportunity and pin-points issues. This can help to highlight product and service cross sell and upsell where applicable.

Estate Management solutions provide the channel with new opportunities for incremental revenue from their existing customers by providing tools to gain deeper insight into existing customer estates, helping to identify new service opportunities, thus enabling the channel to offer improved services and value to their customer base.

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