Today, most enterprise IT teams utilize a broad range of technology to enable the business. Each solution chosen solves an important technology management problem. However, because there are many types of technologies and different phases of technology management, IT teams use a combination of management tools: one for software, one for endpoints and hardware, one for on-premises and cloud infrastructure, and so on. On and on this tool sprawl goes, adding another level of complexity to the technology management challenge, creating data and process fragmentation as the data and processes are driven from different siloed systems.
Historically, an explosion in complexity has given rise to new categories of software applications that help simplify processes and drive efficiencies:
- CRM provides lead to cash, enabling sales organizations to manage company relationships and interactions more efficiently, leveraging large amounts of customer data
- HCM provides hire to fire, enabling HR to manage their traditional administrative functions more efficiently.
- ERP provides procure to pay, enabling organizations to manage day-to-day business activities more efficiently.
The modern CIO needs a similar application to simplify the lifecycle management process while this technology is being utilized by the organization – from technology demand to end of life.
Enter Enterprise Technology Management (ETM).
Figure 1: The ETM Framework
The Enterprise Technology Framework
As seen in Figure 1, ETM is an application to simplify the overall process of managing an enterprise’s technology.
ETM organizes technology into five broad categories:
- Endpoints are physical devices connected to the network that run some form of system management software. Examples include mobile phones, laptops, and point-of-sale terminals.
- Networking includes physical devices that create the network that enables digital communication and interaction between endpoints, servers, and storage. Examples include routers, switches, and physical firewalls.
- Infrastructure includes both physical, on-premises servers and storage as well as cloud-based virtualized machines and storage.
- Applications are software programs installed on-premises or delivered as a service that organizations offer to customers and employees to achieve desired business outcomes.
- Accessories are physical devices that do not connect to the network. Examples include keyboards and monitors not running an operating system.
ETM then organizes the management of this technology into five broad phases that track the technology lifecycle:
- Purchase is the process required to manage the acquisition of technology to be used by the organization. It includes demand forecasting, financial planning and spend analysis, requests and approvals management, and renewals and vendor management, all with the objective of optimizing spend required to meet the needs of the business.
- Deploy is the process that puts purchased technology to use within the organization. It includes assigning the technology to a person or place, activating the technology so it is ready to be consumed, as well as configuring and calibrating the technology so that the organization attains maximum value at minimum operating costs.
- Monitor is the process that ensures the organization continues to attain maximum value at minimum cost from its deployed technology. It includes reconciling conflicting records held in different systems, maintaining continuous visibility into the health of the technology in use, identifying potential security risks, and sending alerts when exceptions to established policies have occurred.
- Secure is the process of acting on identified security exposures and enforcing policies that have been violated. It includes automating the remediation process once a threat has been detected, including enforcing security policies and removing access privileges.
- Maintain augments traditional ticketing systems with an automated process to resolve identified cases involving issues with the use of technology. It includes contextual visibility, which identifies issues involving technology, streamlines compliance and audit reviews, orchestrates employee onboarding and offboarding, and decommissions technology when it has reached end of life.
An ETM application enables a CIO and his or her organization to reduce silos and deploy more standardized approaches to managing all of a company’s technology throughout its lifecycle.
Managing a piece of technology throughout the lifecycle | use case
For instance, the CIO of a healthcare provider might have to manage the technology for hundreds of dental offices across the country. As part of this service, the CIO’s team might manage their customers networked x-ray machines (endpoints) throughout their lifecycle. Using an ETM application, the IT team could:
- Track which systems are approaching end of life, so they can be scheduled to be replaced before offices struggle with outdated equipment
- Forecast and budget for the replacement x-ray equipment, avoiding any budget request surprises
- Ensure newly purchased systems are configured correctly and proper security policies have been established
- See and respond to detected security threats and policy violations
- Track the historical reliability of each of its deployed system, which can be useful in working with their x-ray vendor
Without ETM, different IT staff members would have to log in and out of several point solutions to access this type of information. This would require several manual interventions, including manually aggregating and analyzing disparate data sets. The risk is that it may take a long time to remediate critical performance or operational issues on some x-ray machines, while new x-ray machines may not be ordered on time to meet the needs of their customers.
CIOs need their own ETM application to manage all technology for each phase in the technology lifecycle
Today, its commonplace for the VP of sales to use a CRM system, the VP of HR to use an HRM system, and finance to rely on their ERP system. It’s time CIOs start asking for their own Enterprise Technology Management (ETM) application to help them and their teams to more efficiently and securely manage the technology their organization relies on to deliver exceptional experiences and meet to exceed business outcome objectives.
As mentioned earlier, I’m in the process of writing a book on ETM, largely sharing insights from interviewed CIOs. If you’re interested hearing more, I invite you to connect with me on Linkedin or register for a free copy of the book once it publishes.