Find the data to eliminate your IT visibility gap

Find the data to eliminate your IT visibility gap

As SaaS subscriptions grow exponentially and GenAI becomes more prevalent, the risks of shadow IT and shadow AI will also expand.

Published on 28th May 2024

Something important happened in the music industry over the past decade or so. However, it isn’t inherently about beats, tempos, genres, producers, instrumentation, vocals or artists.

It’s about data. And it’s an important example of what those of us in IT need to focus on.

Spotify changed the way we manage, listen to and share music. Often thought of as a music streaming service, much of Spotify’s significance comes from its use of data. Spotify incorporated metadata from Gracenote, a company whose database informs many big music streaming services. The process involved collecting, normalizing, cleaning, curating, optimizing and contextualizing music data.

Ultimately, Spotify added intelligence to that data, facilitating new ways of using and sharing data about each user’s music preferences. The results: music selections that make morning commutes, workouts, study sessions and parties more enjoyable and tailored to each listener’s account.

This approach removed many data integrity problems that some of us encountered previously when we attempted to manage our digital music libraries. You’d import a CD, then manually type in the artist and track names if they weren’t automatically recognized, often incorporating typos that undermined data integrity and file organization. By entering some tracks by Sinéad O’Connor with the accent over the “e” and some tracks by Sinead O’Connor, the spelling difference could cause these to be filed as different artists. The result: a visibility gap, making it difficult to see the songs in the library.

Similarly, when organizational structure is siloed, with disparate purchases and objectives across the enterprise, important data isn’t shared effectively within the business.

Because of how Spotify revolutionized how data is used, it made music more accessible. Enterprises can take a lesson from Spotify to close the gaps that exist in how they find and use data about their IT assets, share data across the enterprise, identify and close security risks and manage costs.

Use clean and accurate data as a foundational layer for all strategic business functions.

If you can’t accurately report on data about what IT resources you have and pay for—across the entire enterprise—you have a technology visibility gap.

The visibility gap will become particularly difficult to manage as software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions grow exponentially and as generative AI (GenAI) is added to offerings. The risks of shadow IT and shadow AI will also expand—along with associated security risks and expenses.

To remedy the problem, identify your technology visibility gaps. Here are a few key ways business functions can work to close the visibility gap:

Accurate visibility into your IT estate requires data about:

Bringing siloed information together, understanding data in your systems of record and sharing that data across departments and business areas can provide comprehensive insights that improve overall IT management.

Strengthen security with data about what’s running where.

Your security team needs to know what software is deployed—on-premises, as SaaS or in the cloud—to monitor and protect the entire IT environment. Data about licenses and end-of-life/end-of-service status is necessary; if that information isn’t shared by the teams gathering it (ITAM and FinOps), the visibility gap poses a concern.

ITAM and FinOps can help find data behind closed doors. Sharing that information becomes essential for security team teams to manage it. Clarity about this data helps determine the total cost of services—not just software expenses but costs related to monitoring and management.

Expect cost increases—and have the data to mitigate unnecessary expenses.

Where you run software matters, including for your bottom line. The implications of running an Oracle database on an 8-core server versus a 16-core server, at scale, on multiple machines can have consequences running up to millions of dollars, depending on organization size.

Accurate data about your IT estate can help avoid negative financial ramifications. These include vulnerability to price increases upon renewals, license sprawl (particularly common with SaaS and in IT environments without centralized or effectively shared license data) and the sticker shock that comes with inflation.

Combining ITAM and FinOps can help eliminate waste caused by the visibility gap while optimizing IT usage, security and spend. This approach can use actual consumption data and data about access to help align licensing objectives with reality. It can also help ensure that the licensing models you’re using are well aligned with your organizational needs, making resource utilization as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

Use data insights to spend efficiently and invest strategically.

Effective data management can yield great benefits as IT priorities evolve and as funding priorities change, despite tight budgetary realities. Data about your IT estate can help optimize cloud software usage, democratize the business, deliver insights across teams and allow your organization to update business processes to strengthen the company and its goals.

Where can effective management of data about your IT environment help improve your organizational efficiency, the products and/or services you offer and the overall satisfaction of your customers?


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