Adapting Asset Management to a Cloud-Centric Reality

Leo Barella, VP & Chief Enterprise Architect, AstraZeneca [NYSE: AZN]
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What are the key challenges while adapting to cloud-centric asset management system?

With the evolution of IT—from conventional, on-premise version of the same client-server applications to the cloud—the growth of cloud asset management has become difficult to track. The key challenge is tracking budget, decisions, usage, and price over any information. The procurement department operating in a centralized IT dynamic environment consists of experts in informational rights and informational management to preserve the security and integrity of the information that is shared between two organizations. But with the cloud in the picture, the reality is that software is now a commodity. Anyone today can Google and find 200 companies that can provide an online tool—repealing the prolonged process of IT engagement.

Currently, the average service delivery time taken by IT deems the technology obsolete. IT needs to understand the definition of the different value proposition for customers and adapt asset management to this new reality. To address this need, we have readapted security tools to monitor internet traffic and understand website usage from an asset management perspective. We have classified the websites into different types of business and technology capabilities that are reflected in our architecture.

We focus on bringing in the centralization of asset management  

This information enables us to monitor three unique behaviors. Firstly, the behavior of adaption where IT recommends a technology to business, and if the utilization of the technology is growing, the job is done right. If not, we hold discussions to improve the utilization. Secondly, IT is used as a support for the decisions made by the business. In the third case, IT is not involved at all. In this case, we connect with the client and attempt to understand exactly why our standard decision was compared to the choices they have made.

We also have the viral adoption report, which analyses the viral spreading of a technology. We examine the technology’s standard and accordingly modify our service; this stands as a proof for the evolution of IT strategy. The most important asset is no longer applications as anyone with a credit card across any organization can now make IT purchasing decisions. Organizations are focusing on data integration to address asset management issues. IT needs to be flexible in the adoption of technology that is not necessarily in the standard software catalog. We focus on bringing in the centralization of asset management.

What are the factors required for an enterprise to have the right cloud-based asset management?

In order to have an accurate picture of enterprise asset management, it’s no longer enough to rely on discovery tools to see what kind of program is running on our servers and laptops. While the entry of BYOD has increased the risk of privacy, the occurrence of asset management in the cloud has become the fundamental problem. One cannot track the licensees but should be able to monitor utilization of SaaS products and then verify with the provider on how licenses are dispensed. For example, when a company reaches 100 users, the procurement department should consider creating an enterprise license for software act. When you have 100 employees paying for software with their company credit cards, it’s much cheaper for the company to purchase the enterprise license or add a contract compared to licensing one. To be efficient in cloud-centric asset management, one needs to take measures to prevent people from using a corporate credit card to acquire licenses. In our case, we work with a credit card company to decline payments to organizations, in which we own enterprise licenses.

What are the impacts or benefits for an organization by implementing EAM?

In our case, we have discovered 20 to 30 percent savings by renegotiating licenses compared to single user licenses bought through credit cards. The idea, for instance, is to have 70 people to pay with their credit card for a single user license, which is very cost efficient compared to one corporate agreement for 70 users. Let’s say, I use my corporate credit card to pay for a software license. Therefore, the corporate credit card, which was used only for other expenses, now becomes an asset management system and tracks the usage of software licenses. Depending upon the size of the corporation, one must leverage their IT department to understand the utilization of SaaS licenses that they don’t recognize from an asset management perspective.

What is the next big thing in the cloud?

We develop homegrown solutions and run analytics by deploying three or four different tools, which is labor-intensive as we still have people constantly monitoring the websites. In the near future, web-based applications can translate internet traffic into license consumption effortlessly. Companies will also be able to create a dashboard for monitoring licenses paid through contract and licenses purchased for single use. At present, we anticipate progress of technology in this realm, wherein with the use of Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, all these alerts can be automated, and growth chart of a technology can be determined without the need for reviewing reports and various technologies.

Why did you choose the career you are in?

I love to analyze data and enjoy learning about how to improve my performance by leveraging data and wearable devices. When it comes to software and asset management, I bring in the same interest. My passion lies in driving decisions from data. The more data we can get, regarding how and why people use software, the more we can uniquely engage with the business. It leads to meaningful conversations about the value of IT, where having a durable technology should be of paramount importance. I am focusing on motivating my team to create a view of asset management and asset utilization through data consolidated from disparate sources.

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