How can IT asset managers best participate in new business technology initiatives? Industry research firm Gartner
Inc. has developed a three-stage engagement plan specifically for digital
businesses that calls for CIOs to encourage IT asset managers to help identify high-potential opportunities.
The three stages are enumerated in a Gartner report titled "CIOs Should Let IT Asset Managers Win Them More Budget Until Digital-Business Governance Improves."
Stage One: Advise To Help Reduce Risks
At the first stage, Gartner says CIOs should act in an advisory role on "every technology procurement and risk management assessment." This will help them become "digital risk mitigators," making IT asset management skills and life-cycle planning more valuable.
Gartner explains that as the so-called Internet of Things becomes more pervasive, carefully managing IT assets will become a necessity. "A successful digital technology initiative [could] prove even more dangerous [in terms of expense] than a failed one, as software licensing costs to process and store data from the Internet of Things could grow exponentially," Gartner said.
Similarly, if IT asset management is not controlled, a successful initiative could lead to a huge demand before the resources are ready. That, in turn, could increase expenses, for example by requiring additional supplies to be delivered with rush charges or other added fees for short turnaround.
In the case of a success, in fact, the allotted budget may not be sufficient to handle demand. This relates to the second stage, which involves managing life cycles so that digital business costs are funded past the initial investment.
Stage Two: Identify Internally Fundable Projects
IT asset managers can help CIOs by selecting business initiatives that can attract the necessary internal funding for their life-cycle costs, the research firm said. Especially in large businesses, the financial means to support a project is not dependent on return on investment right away, but on the organization's willingness to allocate a budget.
The asset manager should also be willing to help CIOs obtain shorter and more flexible contracts, which will suit initiatives that may prove to be short-lived because they don't pan out or because they need more time to gather more internal support, Gartner said.
Stage Three: Find Additional Funding
For the third stage, Gartner recommends sharing financial risks with business sponsors and external providers.
The research firm points out that business users are better negotiators than IT service managers, and direct engagement with suppliers identifies exactly what the costs might be.
"A frequent problem arises when business users want a monthly consumption price without a long-term commitment to pay for specialist assets, which would take the IT organization or an external service provider many years to amortize," Gartner said.
It's important for the CIO to determine how best to share the costs of a business by determining who "owns" the asset, according to Gartner. A common way to do this: let lines of business run their own digital innovation projects, while the CIO helps to scale them for long-term use when they've proven successful.