Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM): Critical Connections

UEM and ITAM are separate specialties within many enterprises and IT teams. However, there are critical, interdependent links that connect these two important disciplines. Herewith, some thoughts on those links and how best to manage them.  

When Assets Fail…

In 2015, respected business analysts and advisors IHS surveyed some 400 of its corporate clients. As reported in 2016 by Network Computing, responding companies ranged in size from approximately $100 million in revenues and 100 employees to nearly $2 billion in revenues and 13,000 employees. Survey respondents reported “an average of five downtime events each month, with each downtime event being expensive indeed: from $1 million a year for a typical midsize company to more than $60 million for a large enterprise.”  

That means a total cost for IT outages at North American companies of approximately $700 billion per year, Network Computing said. Your costs may vary, but are unlikely to be any less bracingly expensive. 

And what are the causes of those downtime-generating outages? In the Network Computing report, a research director at IHS broke them down like this. 

  • Attacks from hackers: 10 percent. 
  • Problems with service providers: 25 percent. 
  • Errors committed by internal users: 25 percent. 
  • Equipment failures and problems: 40 percent. 

Clearly, IT outages are costly. Even more clearly, effective ITAM is essential to minimizing the costs and downtime outages can generate. 

People: Your Enterprise’s Most Expensive and Valuable Assets

The IHS survey also found that lost employee productivity accounted for 78 percent of those downtime costs. This compares with 17 percent for lost revenues, and only five percent for the costs of fixing resolving the causes of the outages. Small wonder, then, that at many companies, the two largest recurring operating expenses are people and outages. 

Outages are a major cause of interruptions as well, for users and for the IT teams that support them. In 2015, the Washington Post reported on a study of the costs of interruptions at work. That study found the following. 

  • Average time lost to interruptions from outages and other causes: 238 minutes/day. 
  • Average time spent “restarting” after interruptions: 84 minutes/day. 
  • Average time lost to stress and fatigue: 50 minutes/day. 
  • Total average time lost to interruptions: 6.2 hours/day, or 31 hours/week. 

Every IT outage is disruptive to business, and expensive. And the biggest component of that disruption and expense is the human element. 

Each User is an Endpoint (Or Two…)

Another primary link between UEM and ITAM is highlighted in the recent Enterprise Management Associates® (EMA™) study, “Unified Endpoint Management: Simplifying the Security and Support of PC and Mobile Devices.” EMA surveyed more than 100 IT directors for the study. Based on the results of that survey, EMA found that “the average business professional regularly employs at least two computing devices—including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones—to perform job tasks. Moreover, roughly half of all workers utilize both a PC and a mobile device in the course of a typical day at the office.” 

This situation creates flexibility and freedom of choice for users, and significant challenges for IT leaders and their teams. “A typical IT support organization must today support a minimum of four different operating environments, each with unique configurations, applications, services, and security protocols,” according to the EMA study. (See Figure 1 below.)

This disparate, multi-device, multi-platform state of affairs makes truly unified endpoint management both challenging and essential to the efficient operation of IT and the business. And since individual users seem likely to use multiple devices indefinitely, both the challenges and their criticality are likely to continue and grow. 

Effective ITAM Must Embrace Users, Too

Given all of the above, it is clear that users and their devices represent critical elements of any effective, comprehensive ITAM strategy. This means that ITAM is inextricably intertwined with UEM, and vice versa. In fact, if the endpoints in users’ hands are not effectively, consistently managed, the success of any ITAM efforts is at great risk. Which means that truly effective ITAM strategies must incorporate accurate, detailed, timely knowledge about which devices and platforms are employed by all users, and the other IT assets and resources those users need to do their jobs. 

Succeed at UEM and ITAM with Ivanti

Ivanti has solutions that can help you and your team to tame your most vexing ITAM and UEM challenges, from asset discovery and inventory to effective, integrated management of users’ mobile devices. To learn more about the challenges to UEM presented by today’s multi-device, multi-platform world, download and read the EMA report. Then, contact Ivanti, and let us help you to achieve and sustain success with both UEM and ITAM.