I just read an article called “Convincing Executives that IT Asset Management Is a Good Investment.” It focused on software assets in particular, and discussed how implementing a software asset management system can thwart employees who unwittingly expose their employers to liabilities associated with improperly licensed free apps or security risks posed by BYOD policies.
The same reduction in risk exposure can be realized for physical infrastructure management systems, but on a much larger scale. Not too long ago, I had a call with a network engineer who was looking for an outside plant infrastructure solution as a response to a recent unanticipated shutdown. His team had to scramble for days when someone inadvertently dropped a lit cigarette down a campus steam pipe and caused a fire that melted several major fiber runs. Critical services were dropped and they spent countless hours sifting through spreadsheets and old drawings to determine alternative connectivity routes for the affected equipment.
You might think that documenting your entire IT infrastructure is overkill, especially with all the other priorities in your organization. After all, what are the odds that something like cigarette guy will happen? Probably higher than you think. But it’s not only disaster recovery scenarios where an infrastructure management system plays a key role. There are many major setbacks that can be caused due to lack of having physical IT infrastructure data in a cohesive and current form. I have a few other common scenarios in Five Reasons You Need to Consolidate Your IT Network Information.
There are the day-to-day operational activities as well that can benefit greatly from having an infrastructure management system in place. Moves can be accomplished more quickly, equipment surveys minimized, and design/buildouts can be modeled and then committed to actual at the click of a button when physically complete.
“Nice to have?” Maybe, but so much more when used to its full potential.