Though budget cuts in 2009 largely forced companies to lower the cost of enterprise computing, in the next year, IT organizations need to take a proactive approach to managing IT infrastructure and applications that run on top of it.
One of the areas where IT organizations spend the most money for the least return is management software. That software has to be mastered by someone who becomes certified in that technology. With that certification, the cost of employing that person creeps higher until we reach a critical point where labor becomes the single most expensive element of enterprise IT.
For IT organizations to break this vicious cycle, they will need to accomplish two things: First, take an inventory of all management tools. Every product seems to come with its own management software, so that an inordinate amount of the IT budget goes toward software licenses for management tools. And many of them are redundant.
Once you establish how many management tools you have, develop a plan to replace them with offerings that can manage multiple functions. There are plenty of management frameworks out there that can adequately manage systems, applications and security. There's no need to pay for a separate management tool for each product.
As BigFix CTO Amrit Williams notes, there is a convergence coming to the world of IT management that has been accelerated by the downturn in the economy and the rise of virtualization. In fact, BigFix is so sure of this, the company is launching a contest next month that asks participants to identify "IT Security Dinosaurs" as just one example of how IT management dollars are being wasted.
Unfortunately, most IT organizations are still ill-prepared to take advantage of the advances of virtualization and more sophisticated management frameworks. So for 2010, the best thing that most IT organizations can do is take real control of their IT management environment by putting a singular focus on increasing productivity by reducing the complexity. That could pay for itself in six months or less and produce more results than just about anything else an IT organization could do.