Looking for money in local budgets: IT asset management in a post-pandemic world
State and local governments have been hit hard over the last 18 months. Since those jurisdictions often require balanced budgets, emergency spending during the pandemic must be offset by either budget cuts or tax increases.
In fact, a Washington Post analysis shows that in 2020, the majority of states saw their tax revenues shrink with five states showing double-digit percentage declines. Until economies rebound and local agencies get back on their feet, every dollar will count. It will be more difficult than ever to stay modernized, let alone innovate, within budget constraints.
Agencies don’t have to look under the couch for ways to fund essential IT projects. Often, they’re already leaving more money than they think on the table because of inaccurate IT asset management (ITAM). A lack of visibility combined with a dearth of actionable data costs governments across the country money that could be spent on modernization and security.
The cost of the problem
Local jurisdictions have to live within their budgets and are often asked to do more with less, so IT spending is under a microscope. In commercial markets, it’s common to see a 30 percent overspend on IT—both hardware and software—and state and local governments likely experience a similar rate. That means nearly a third of the money going to government IT projects could be used elsewhere. That’s a lot of extra budget for any size agency.
Beyond money, poor IT asset management can have huge implications on the security of a state or local agency. A good ITAM program should include a platform that can find out-of-service software and hardware that no longer takes vendor updates and security patches. That’s an incredibly important part of the process considering about 70 percent of successful cyberattacks use out of date products as entry points.
Not all platforms are created equal
Thankfully, state and local agencies don’t have to take on ITAM alone. By finding a trusted partner with a robust and efficient platform, governments can get back a piece of that 30 percent when they need it the most and make sure their agencies are meeting and exceeding citizen expectations.
But not every ITAM platform fits the demanding needs of local governments, which generate massive amounts of data and often rely on legacy systems. For instance, an ITAM provider that simply helps an agency catalog their assets isn’t doing enough. Instead, a platform should be able to automatically discover assets and manage their lifecycles in real time.
By using an ITAM platform that delivers up-to-date, actionable data in an automated, repeatable way, state and local agencies can effectively address cost and cyber risk throughout their entire IT asset lifecycle.
What does an ITAM solution with good software optimization platform look like? It should be able to do many things, including:
- Provide complete visibility across the entire enterprise software landscape
- Map software procurement, license, vendor SKUs, license terms, deployment and usage per organization and user
- Automate data collection and reporting which will reduce manual resources and improve data needed for yearly budgeting efforts, better preparing agencies against vendor audit
- Visibility into usage that can help reduce yearly software license maintenance
- Ability to use existing discovery tools and have its own agents to capture any data gaps
Futureproofing local government
With budgets tighter than ever after massive amounts of unexpected spending during the pandemic, it’s crucial the state and local governments know what technology is deployed and whether it needs to fill security gaps or replace solutions at the end of their effective lifespans.
It’s not simple or easy, but it’s important. And with the right technology and the right private sector partners governments can be confident that they’re seeing every IT asset in use and understanding how that asset is being used and how long before its need to be updated or replaced.
The actions outlined above will not only save the states and other local jurisdictions money, but will also position them for a better, smarter and more efficient future.
Tristen Yancey is the regional vice president of public sector for Flexera. Yancey came to Flexera through the acquisition of BDNA where she was a director of Civilian Agencies for nine years. Prior to joining BDNA, she spent eight years in software industry and seven years at Unisys Corp. Yancey received her M.B.A. at American University and a B.A. at Dickinson College.