Axios Blog

KPIs in SAM

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Written by Rory Canavan, SAM Charter

I was lucky enough to be invited recently to speak at the SDI Conference in Birmingham, UK, alongside Kylie Fowler (Thank you to Stephen Mann and Sophie Danby of ITSM Tools and all the crew at the SDI).

One of the more popular presentations at the packed event was given by Stuart Rance concerning “The KPIs in Service Management”.

This got me to thinking about the KPIs we promote within the SAM Charter SAM Process Kit, and perhaps how it might be a good thing to re-visit which statistics a company might find valuable to have reports on, in light of our dash to the cloud.

Before a deeper analysis ensues, I would like to caveat the following list with this repeated observation: Perspective is Subjective. The SAM view of the world is potentially a blend of legal, financial, commercial and technical – so don’t be surprised if the business comes to your IT Asset Management System (quick plug for the new ISO 19770-1: 2017 Standard) and asks for very similar reports that are presented through slightly different lenses.

Another point worth observing: The reports requested, most likely will not be full-blown compliance reports. As useful as these can be for true-ups, vendor audits and contract negotiations, lighter-touch reports on mere installation data could be more than enough to keep the business happy.

Additionally: Any statistics presented could be viewed as a health-check on the ITAM Solution you have in place. Providing KPI data on values derived on the processes that comprise your ITAM solution could help elevate SAM/ITAM in the business.

Finally: Wherever possible, please try and ensure that the KPIs used and reported on have value and meaning to the business. Having the most hairless nostrils does not make you the world’s best dentist!

So here goes:

  1. The percentage of as-a-service applications that are not tagged. Software tagging has not yet created the bow-wave of improved SAM that it could clearly deliver; but with as-a-service now grabbing businesses by the scruff of the neck, being able to create, maintain and scale IT services as they support the business is perhaps where a modern-day CMDB needs all the help it can get. If you are able to identify which applications are aligned to which IT services, then summary decisions as to their existence can be made in real-time. We discuss this concept in greater depth in a former blog entitled “SAM and Understanding Your Technology Weave.” Most applications and containers stood up in the cloud through standard channels will have a reason to justify their existence (if not their permanence). However, those installations without a tag represent nothing more than modern-day Shadow IT, and from the compliance (and cost) point of view need appropriate management overhead applying.
  1. The percentage of as-a-service users no longer with the company. The old paradigm of “one license equals one installation” is fast being undermined with the as-a-service concept of IT delivery taking hold. In this brave new world, one license equals one service – however, we have to take our maths to a further level to extract out what that service then costs. With IT Service Management focused on customer satisfaction, many organizations are quite adept at standing up new services as close to day 1 of a new employee’s start-date as possible. Where IT operations could be slicker though, is the removal of that service when an employee moves on to a new company. Your Joiners, Movers and Leavers process would undoubtedly benefit from a refresh if all it has had to cope with is onsite licensing.

    Another point worth making here, would be not to solely trust in one source of information when it comes to as-a-service SAM. If your Active Directory implementation accounts for Azure access, then suspending user accounts here is a good start; however, your user could have additional as-a-service access from other providers. Again, this only serves to reinforce the value of a good CMDB, and which software/Cis are assigned to which users.
  1. The percentage of your as-a-service foot-print compared to your on-site footprint. Your company’s strategy for moving to the cloud should be looking to maximize the existing position IT and SAM finds itself in compared to where it wishes to be in 3/5/7 years’ time. A “do nothing” strategy could result in a lurch into the as-a-service realm that your company is ill-prepared for as old titles are retired by vendors, and only cloud-based variants will receive technical support. Accordingly, being able to plot your on-site software estate against your cloud estate and what a smooth transition curve looks like, will offer strategists in your company a roadmap to transition that can help to ensure you leverage true trade-up value from your on-site software. It will also help to identify which elements of on-site IT can be deemed as having reached end of life – not all software should be automatically assigned cloud status. A vendor-based view would be a good start, but you might wish to then break that down further to offer an application-based comparison. A final consideration worth accounting for would be any red-line you might wish to impose – you could have legislative or commercial reasons as to why you cannot put certain technologies into the cloud – and as such has to remain on-site. Be careful that some well-meaning individual doesn’t unwittingly transfer such software, resulting in financial penalties for doing so.
  1. The percentage of your as-a-service software not assigned a role. Do you remember the good old days when you could sand-box your development environment, and at least attempt to ring-fence the creatives in not polluting the live estate with their crazy creations?! Well the good news is that we can return to our tagging solution to highlight whether software is worthy of Test/Dev status – or any other status that exempts us from paying full license fees.

These are just four as-a-service metrics that have come to mind in various chats with my industry peers. Please note: the figures suggested are percentages; you could add further color to these percentages by converting them to fiscal values.


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