How to Select your IT Asset Management (ITAM) Vendor
July 20, 2016
Patricia Adams | ITAM Evangelist | Ivanti
Todd Labrum | ITAM Product Manager | Ivanti
Deciding which IT asset management (ITAM) vendor is right for you can be complicated. And sorting through features and priorities most important to you and your organization can be a confusing process. Let us help.
Join Patricia Adams, ITAM Evangelist and Todd Labrum, Product Manager for this webinar to take a look at Info-Tech's recent vendor landscape report to better help you identify and select the perfect ITAM vendor.
- Identify your key stakeholders
- Explore your processes
- Pinpoint your integration
- Build your requirements
Sharon: Good morning-or good afternoon, depending on where you are. Thank you for joining our webinar today. We have just a few housekeeping items-we'll send a recording of this webinar to all registered attendees. We will answer questions at the end of the presentation, so please add your questions to the Q&A chat session.
Today we will be discussing how to select an ITAM vendor. We're excited to have with us Patricia Adams, our ITAM Evangelist; Todd Labrum, our ITAM Product Manager; and Jason Christensen, our Product Marketing Manager. We'll let Patricia start our conversation.
Patricia: Thank you very much, Sharon. Welcome to our webinar today on how to select an ITAM and SAM tool vendor. We're going to be looking at selection criteria you can use to build an RFP. As a reminder, we usually conduct polling during our presentations, because we like to get an idea of who our audience is and collect some fact-based data. On the screen here, you'll see we have a poll set up through Poll Everywhere. If you could set your cellphones or open a browser and go to pollev.com/lditam, that would be great. We would love to get your feedback, and we will have some questions coming up soon.
Building the business case for asset management
We're going to start today by talking about how you build the business case for investment in asset management. Before you even go out and select a tool, you need to make sure there's a need for a tool, you're solving specific problems the business is struggling with, and you have the key stakeholders to support that. We're also going to look at the specific problems most organizations are trying to solve. And finally, we're going to focus on the selection criteria, what you should look for in a tool. Then we'll go through some questions you have. We'll start off with a poll, which I will turn over to Todd.
Todd: The first question we have, looking at your ITAM program, quickly ask yourself, “Does your organization have an operating technology asset management program?” When we're talking about the IT SMS management, there are different areas or disciplines within it. Some companies are focused only on hardware. You'll see that as our first option. The second option is companies that are focused mainly on software. And then option C is that you are focused on both hardware and software.
If you don't have any program in place, we'd love to know. Or if you're planning to implement one within the next 12 months. There are vendors all around-and we'll go through that throughout this presentation-there are vendors focused only on software, the major ones really are focused only on software or hardware, but there are some that do both. So that's something to keep in mind as you're planning to put your IT asset management program in place, especially those of you who are planning on it in the next 12 months.
Patricia: And I wouldn't say that's surprising, because we don't see a lot of companies that actually have asset management solutions in place already. I'd say probably 35 to 40 percent of Global 2000 have standardized on one tool, at least in my experience. The key here, when you're looking at doing an asset management program, is to make sure the tool you select is not overly cumbersome, has flexibility, is easy to use, and can grow with you.
I just wanted to throw out a quote here from a 13-year old when I mentioned to him we were doing a webinar today. He told me that it shouldn't be as hard to find an asset management tool as it is to find this rare character in Pokemon. And it shouldn't be. It should be easy, but you want to make sure that the tool you go with is not something that's solving only one problem you have-the problem you're facing today-but is a tool you're not going to outgrow.
Prioritizing the problems and risks
So what are the problems, and how should you prioritize them when you're doing an asset management program? When it comes to the problems and the associated risks, you want to be able to itemize the risks. Are they security based? Are they cost or compliance based? As you build your business case, you want to put those risks into the business case. You want to identify what they are. Some organizations will say their greatest risk is that they have a lot of contractors or third-party employees who are coming in and out of their organization, so it's difficult to track what assets are associated with them.
Other organizations say the biggest threat they're looking at today is the introduction of IoT and having assets on their network they don't know about. They're not sure if they are their assets or if they are somebody else's assets that shouldn't be on the network. They don't have visibility into that. Then, of course, the cloud is another big area. So look at what risks your organization is facing today and what they could potentially be within the next 18 to 24 months. I understand it is hard to do that. Nobody has a crystal ball, but you want to identify those risks based on what your environment and culture is facing today and what type of business changes might be coming.
Then you also want to look at what your savings opportunities are. When it comes to having asset management, getting quick, fast return is critical to maintaining buy in. Yes, there are going to be long-term savings around risk and cost avoidance, but also identify the low-hanging fruits-things like avoiding an audit, redeploying software that's unused in the organization, or eliminating maintenance and unused applications in the organization. Identify what those short-term projects are that can get you a quick hit-and-win when it comes to savings. They have to be hard dollar savings. Those are the things that resonate with senior management. If it's not hard dollar savings, it will be difficult to maintain their buy in.
Then you want to look at what long-term projects you want to work on. I'm talking about projects that go beyond responding to a vendor audit. Do you want to supply data to make decisions around which applications should be strategic in your environment or which applications should be discontinued because not enough employees are using them? Maybe you want to reduce the bloat or overlap in your application portfolio. Maybe you've got on-premise and cloud apps with overlapping capability. Look at what some of those long-term projects are, and make sure they get included in the business case. Many times when organizations are starting an asset management program, they tend to focus on only the problems they're dealing with in asset management. You want to make sure that you're also looking at what the corporate IT strategic direction is and factor that into your business case, as well.
When I look at some organizations, the CIO's top priority might be the cloud, security, mobile, digital business, updating legacy infrastructure, or rolling out new ERP applications. In other words, they might have many goals. Make sure your business case is aligning with the priorities of your CIO, CFO, and chief security officer.
Top 10 problems driving asset management investment
Todd: Okay. I'll cover this next one, Patricia: The top 10 problems that help drive the asset management investment.
One factor that probably fuels it is a software audit. There are definitely a lot of publishers and vendors out there that are performing these audits, even multiple times per year for some companies. Being able to find the tool or vendor that can help you stay on top of your compliance position with each software title is important.
Second might be budget cuts or flat budgets. There are definite ways of saving money if you're able to track and maintain your IT assets and know where they are, who's using them, and what's really going on in that environment.
And that really goes into the third, which is visibility. Where is that centralized database? Where do you actually have a list of all your assets? I know a lot of clients do it through Excel. There's no problem with that, but realize that it is a lot of information to hold and maintain in an Excel document. There are undoubtedly multiple versions or variations of the document out there. Finding a tool that helps you centralize it in one database will be a great benefit, a way of saving money and driving investment.
Quickly jumping through a few of these: Shadow IT-I'm sure you're running into instances where employees are going to different SaaS applications and purchasing software themselves. You don't really have control over those applications and compliances. Are they using the right version of the SaaS application? Is it a personal subscription as opposed to a corporate one? Other things to be aware of are if you have a bring-your-own-device policy, or if you have internal audits. There are a lot of problems happening, but a lot of these problems are ways to help drive investment in ITAM and build the business case that you need.
Along with that, I'm going back to polling at this point. Look at the question “What is the number one reason for implementing ITAM in your organization?” We have a lot of options here, and hopefully we've been able to cover quite a few of them. We'd like everybody to go back to the browser and see what's really driving your reason for ITAM.
Patricia: Yes, and Todd, we saw in the previous poll that about 46 percent were looking at getting an asset management tool, and about half already have one. So do any of these problems resonate? Are you using these as part of the business case for asset management?
Todd: This is great. This is very similar to a question we asked in another webinar, and it does seem like a lot of the same factors are used. There are a lot who've answered “Other.” We'd love to hear what those are, so if you could add those in the Q&A section. We'd love to see the driving reasons for implementing an ITAM solution in your organization. For those who've answered “Other,” please go ahead and submit your “Why.” One that we hear a lot is option H or the visibility to support the CMDB. That's actually right in line with what we're doing here, and we'll actually cover that a little bit more in the presentation. But it is interesting to see that it's more than just the three options.
Patricia: Yes, I agree that we'd love to know what's in that “Other” category, what we might be missing or overlooking.
Todd: Okay, thank you.
Financial risk without asset management
Patricia: Okay, so terrific. Let's get back to the presentation. Other things you need to consider when you're building the business case for an asset management tool is what's the risk and the impact to the business? There's the risk of not doing asset management and what could potentially happen to the organization, and how that risk will impact the business and how it goes about conducting business.
The first one that we see here is “financial.” That's an obvious risk. There are risks of increased costs, meaning that you might end up buying software more than once. I have seen cases of organizations whose employees purchased software on their own, not through the centralized procurement process, and they would end up with applications that already existed in the organization, which they could have had reallocated to them. Or they didn't send the proof of purchase into IT procurement or the asset management team, and an audit was conducted. The total number that came up didn't match what the vendor said was purchased or what the PO said, so the organization essentially had to buy that software twice.
There are many areas where increased cost can affect your IT budget and your IT spend. If you're found out of compliance, there are, of course, fines and penalties associated with that. In my experience, I haven't seen a lot of organizations have to pay penalties, but it really depends on the relationship with the software supplier. The software supplier might be pushing you toward the cloud, and your organization might not want to go there. Legally the supplier can impose a penalty or a fine, and they might decide they want to do that just to make an example, to encourage other companies to move toward the cloud. There are other penalties that require you to purchase additional licenses or purchase back support and maintenance. You might have to pay retail for that. You might not have it in your agreement that you pay the discounted rate you initially purchased at, and the vendor will say, "You know what? Here's a great opportunity to charge a premium."
Security risks without asset management
Another area of risk is around security and data loss. Todd mentioned shadow IT and employees buying cloud-based applications where corporate data could be placed. If your security teams have not vetted those cloud applications and locations-maybe it's even Dropbox-that could be a huge security risk. I think it was last year we saw an instance where software in the Apple iTunes Store had a backdoor built into it, but fortunately they found out and shut it down. But you never know when those things are going to happen. If your security team hasn't done its due diligence, it could result in your customer lift being lost or in confidential customer information or patient data getting out there. The data loss could be huge not only from a PR perspective, but also from a regulatory perspective.
Another security risk is physical asset loss. Right now, everybody's going mobile. We all have tablets, we all have cellphones, and if those assets get lost, and somebody is able to access the data or access your corporate network, that's another critical area that organizations need to be concerned about from a security perspective.
From a public relations perspective, it's the negative publicity. A lot of newspapers-we always quote the Wall Street Journal-a lot of newspapers love to write stories about businesses. We've all seen the headlines about Home Depot, T.J.Maxx, and the US Office of Personnel Management. I mean, I can run off a list of organizations that have made it onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Negative publicity-you can't put a price on that. In fact, we were talking recently to an insurance company about the concept of cyber insurance and how do you put a price or a cap on what the loss is associated with customers leaving the organization or not buying from you anymore or trusting you with their data?
The other area here is the legal one. I briefly mentioned regulatory compliance. Healthcare and financial services firms are all very highly regulated. But there's also intellectual property. We saw over in the UK that they were evaluating changes to their intellectual property laws that would have meant that if somebody was out of compliance for using software or using music or video (any of that falls under intellectual property guidelines), they would have been subjected potentially to jail time. They are looking at changing those laws. We don't have anything that stringent in North America today, but it's something that as asset managers we certainly need to be aware of.
And then the last one here, the risk of being outsourced-having the asset management discipline outsourced to an organization that might not have skin in the game. It's difficult to outsource asset management successfully unless you're working with a supplier that's willing to agree in the contract that if you're found out of compliance, they will pay the penalty or true-up cost you might have associated with it. So there is a significant risk on the organizational side as well.
Gathering the stakeholders
So, moving on, who are the stakeholders that need to be involved? The obvious ones are going to be service and support, procurement, sourcing, and vendor management. If your asset management team is not located in the sourcing or vendor management area, you'll be working with IT operations. But you also want to make sure that your security, compliance, internal auditors-whatever terms you use for those departments-are involved as well. You also want to make sure you include the team handling your server and client configuration, because those are the people who are actually doing the deployment of the applications on to the endpoint.
If you have a CMDB in place, make sure that your CMDB manager is involved in discussions as well, because there's often confusion about what a CMDB is versus an asset management database. If you're going to be rolling this out to the data center, you want to work with your data center managers. If you're planning on doing any type of life-cycle management, your enterprise architects and strategic planners should be involved in conversations, as well.
Selecting an asset management tool
Now let's move to tool selection. When selecting an asset management tool, many organizations look for third-party, independent research that's available in the marketplace. Having been someone who actually created that independent, third-party research when I was working with Gartner, I would get lots of questions about it. But we didn't have a Magic Quadrant in the asset management marketplace at Gartner.
Canadian firm Info-Tech Research Group published this year, 2016, “A Vendor Landscape on IT Asset Management.” One of the quotes they had in their document is, "If table stakes are all you need for your asset solution, the only true differentiator is going to be price. Otherwise, you need to dig deeper." Many organizations, smaller organizations, are price sensitive. They want to do asset management, they want discovery, they want software usage, they want license management, license optimization, but the problem is they can't afford to go for one of those big, huge tools that are very comprehensive and very expensive.
Info-Tech created a graphic, which looks very similar to the graphic Gartner uses in their Magic Quadrant, except Info-Tech uses different axis. They have trailing vendor versus leading vendor and trailing product versus leading product. In the champion space, you'll notice there are a number of vendors located there. LANDESK is included there because, of the 14 features Info-tech used for their evaluation, LANDESK met all of the requirements. We're going to walk you through what those 14 features are, and why they're important. If you're building your RFP, this might be a group of 14 you might want to include in that RFP.
Discovery and inventory
Todd: Thank you so much for introducing the Info-Tech report Patricia, because the rest of this webinar will go through what those 14 features are. One that's very foundational and that they compare across all the vendors is discovery and inventory. As you might imagine, when you search for a discovery tool, there are so many out there. They are countless. As part of the process, one thing you're going to look for is one that works best for you in your environment. Not every organization is the same. Each tool provides different coverage, whether it's being able to get information from the endpoints in your environment, or the data center. Are users only able to get physical data from your assets-laptops, Macs, Windows, PCs, or Linux? Or are they able to get software? What type of software are they able to get? Where do they find that information?
Being able to look at each vendor separately in each of these discovery tools is important to the success of your ITAM program. It may end up being that you have to select multiple tools. If that's the case, make sure they play well together and that they are providing value in getting the information that you need.
The second part of that, when we're talking about inventory, is being able to normalize all the data. Make sure it can be standardized to where you can compare apple to apples. Normalization, for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, is really the process through which we transform data to make it consistent. All these different vendors or sources of information label things differently, especially on the software side. I'll get into that with one of the other features the Info-Tech report points out. But being able to normalize and standardize all that data is key, and being able to reconcile it and store it in one central database. Again, making sure that you have one source of truth for all the information you can use.
Say you have no clue what assets you have. You have no clue where they are. Having to go through everything to find information, it's probably painful to reach out to everybody in your organization to get what you need. That's where these tools are very beneficial, something that's automated to find that information for you, and you can trust it. Not every tool is created equal, so an important part of selecting an ITAM vendor is looking at their discovery capabilities and what they do to normalize it, where that is stored, and how easy it is to get that data. As I mentioned, as part of the process of being able to gather data by your software, having a pretty comprehensive software library is important.
There is some in-depth knowledge you need to have on software title, especially as you get into that data center. That restricted section is very valuable information to get. It is intellectual IP that a lot of these companies have built up over time. Being able to get access to those libraries is important and being able to have a pretty extensive library.
And size does not matter. It really is the quality of the content. Probably as you're looking at vendors, they'll say, "Oh, we have 200,000-plus titles in our library." Well, what does that mean? Are they talking about major versions of software, or are they also including the minor versions? (which don't really help out in terms of the software library, it's really adding duplicates to it). or are they collecting a lot of information about mobile apps and games? What is really in that library? Is it the information you need and that you can track to make sure you're in compliance with software vendors?
Patricia: Todd, I totally agree with you on that, but one thing I want to add is that we should all start to make sure that Pokemon GO is in that library, too.
Todd: That's exactly how it's going today. You want to make sure your employees are productive. Are they playing Pokemon GO in the office and trying to collect some rare Pokemon or...?
Patricia: You can track usage.
Todd: So that's another part of it-being able to have the information necessary to track that usage, upgrade, downgrade, there's a lot more to a software library than just being able to detect what software is out there in the environment. That's just one key thing to look at with a software vendor.
Patricia: Right. Absolutely. Not just the number of applications, but the applications that are being used in your organization, the ones that are in your business. You want to make sure, even if they're custom applications, that you get them in that library.
Jason: Thanks. Exactly. So Todd mentioned something really important. First, you have to discover what software, what hardware you're using. Then you have to figure out how your people are using it. You need to understand is Joe, who requested Photoshop, is he actually using it six months down the line? There are many reasons you want to track software usage and make sure the ITAM vendor you select has this capability. The first reason is software optimization. Eighty percent of the businesses we know are overpaying for software licenses, which is huge. A lot of people are overpurchasing because they have all these requests coming in. But are your users really using the software they have?
And 65 percent of organizations have no written policies around it. Your employees could be running rogue out there with software. I think it's really important that you take a look at the usage information, find unused software, and reclaim that software. You can save a lot of money, reallocate where necessary. You don't have to keep purchasing, you can just reallocate your software. It's also beneficial as far as negotiating your contracts. If you're reclaiming a lot of software or software's not being used, you can negotiate better contracts in the future.
Todd: Yes, as we go into that when talking about software, the information the vendors have found and how they gathered it is important. Are they actually looking into the registry or do they have an agent? There are different levels of being able to get software usage information, so asking those questions of your ITAM vendor is important. How do you get that data? Are you looking in the registry key? Are you looking at files? Are you looking at executables that are running? There are a lot of ways to detect that.
So going to the polling question we have: Does your organization reclaim or harvest unused software and clients and servers? We have pretty compelling responses here-love seeing that. This is definitely a key way of driving investment for your ITAM program, a way of being able to save, as Jason mentioned, to renegotiate better deals with your vendors, especially Microsoft or IBM. That's something that we have here at LANDESK-looking at how we're using Office 365 and do we have the right subscriptions? That's something you want to know. Next time we have our conversation with Microsoft we can say, "We actually don't need all these E3 subscriptions." We can probably do a mixture of E1, which is online only, and E3, which is online plus the install. How the engines are using software in your environment is a great way of saving money.
Patricia: Absolutely. Well, it looks like the poll has stopped there.
Todd: Awesome, thank you.
Patricia: So, terrific. Thank you everybody for your feedback.
Jason: Yes. I want to take you through the next step the Info-Tech report tells us we should be looking for in an ITAM vendor and that's desktop management. It hits on three points, and I want to expand on those three points. We're looking at deployment, migration, and patching. Looking at deployment, the goal really is to reduce the amount of time it takes for users to find and access the software they need to get their job done quickly and efficiently and be productive.
It's really about the onboarding process, making that software available from the get-go. That could be an important one like doing request management when having a request catalog, so your employees can go to that request catalog and request information. We also have the migration portion of it; we want to make it easy for people to migrate. For example, when moving to Windows 10, you need to back up the data, copy the image, etc., so users can migrate quickly and easily. It's also important to have transferable licenses so you don't have to purchase new licenses every time you migrate.
From the security perspective, patching is also important for desktop management. You have to understand what you have before you can manage it. As Patricia mentioned, as far as theft and loss and as far as downloading software licenses correctly, employees could be introducing malware that way. So from a security import perspective, desktop management is important as well. But it's also important that you find a solution, an ITAM vendor that has all of these capabilities with the subsolutions. With that, I'll turn it over to Patricia for a little more on MDM.
Mobile device management
Patricia: Thank you. Another of the 14 evaluation criteria Info-Tech looked at is mobile device support and mobile device management. In an era where everybody has phones and tablets, the ability to detect what software is running on that platform, whether it's a Mac, whether it's an Apple device, whether it's a Microsoft device, the ability to discover cross-platform and to understand what software licenses or software is installed and how it's going to affect your licensing is also critical. I'll turn it back over to you, Todd.
Todd: Well, thank you Patricia. So another criteria was talking about automated and manual data imports and integration with IT operations. It's really the ease of being able to import data. Is it manual? Is it automatic? What type of data are you importing? What is the integration like with other IT operations, such as your service desk side, if it's integrated with service now, or on our end, service desk.
I've put together a few things here. There are different types of information that you're going to want to pull in. We've already talked about a discovery tool that gets you the physical information about the hardware and software in your environment. Now, you're looking to get data about purchasing and contractuals. Do you have connectors to get all this extra information? Regarding hardware, where are you getting that warranty information? I know I'm on the product side at LANDESK, and we do have a product geared around this. We have 40-plus B2B connectors to pull in data from all the different types of sources-Lenovo, Dell, VMWare, Adobe.
Being able to get straight from the source and straight from these vendors the information you need to enhance and enrich your IT asset management data is important to help you make better decisions. This includes generic sources like CSV, Excel, or Access databases, which I'm sure you're using in your environment, and being able to integrate that with other tools, as I've already mentioned, so you have those streamlined and automated processes in place to really gain the efficiency that you need. As part of pulling in that information-now, I have a lot of this data, now how do I visualize it? Back to you, Patricia, on this one.
Patricia: Visualization of the data is important when you're building a CMDB or trying to understand how things are connected. And a thing in this case might be a user, it might be a contract, it might be an application, it might be the hardware that it's running on. It could also be a business service. So the evaluation criteria around visual asset mapping could be done using an automated discovery tool that has the ability to go to that depth to build those relationships and map them out.
And then take that data and build it into a technology view. That technology view might be what's in your data center. It's the whole OSI stack from networking, including middleware, storage, the server that it's running on, the network switch, bridge, router, and even port level. From there, taking that data up another level to a business service view. A business service for a hospital might be a patient billing system, or it might be, if you're in higher education say, a course registration system. The ability to visually map and disclose the relationships of all those assets and back to the business service was another of the key criteria Info-Tech used.
CMBD vs. CMS
We have another quick poll here. Because asset mapping is so closely tied to a CMDB, service management, and asset management, it's important to understand, as you build out your RFP, whether senior management, whether your organization recognizes the value of taking an integrated approach. Sometimes that integrated approach might be leading with an ITSM product. Because you have more users using the ITSM product, that selection criteria tends to outweigh the asset criteria when you really want to take a balanced approach.
I see some data coming in here from the poll. It looks like, today, 50 percent of organizations recognize there is value there. Okay, let's move back to the presentation. Thank you for your input on that. The next thing we look at-because asset intersects with CMDB and service management, it's important for an organization to understand what the distinction is between the CMDB, a configuration management database, a configuration management system, and an asset management database. In a CMDB, the data in there, the inventory data and the configuration items are typically focused on relationships. It goes back to that asset view, that visual asset mapping.
And then that data rolls up into a CMS. A CMS is more of a concept as opposed to a tool, where you're taking multiple CMDBs and tying them all together to make one integrated über CMDB. But an asset management database is typically focused on all of the assets within the organization. A CMDB is not going to care about a mobile phone or a printer, but an asset manager would be concerned about that. So make sure that you have this distinction between the different types of assets you need to manage and the data so you know what's going into a CMDB, what's going into your ITSM tool, and what's the correct architecture and data flow there. That's another requirement Info-Tech listed.
The next one was application controls-the ability to whitelist and blacklist applications. I started out talking about Pokemon GO at the beginning of this webinar because that's an application you might want to blacklist on your network. It might be a huge network hog. Or you might say, "We have a lot of millennials. We want to give them flexibility, so we're going to allow it to run." Having this whitelist/blacklist can give you control without locking down the environment and going through a huge political nightmare about what an organization or individuals are allowed or not allowed to do.
Another area that was listed there was an app portal. An app portal is an area where you have your preapproved list of applications that can run in the environment. This app portal could also be called an asset catalog or a service catalog, and it's also very tightly aligned with the whitelist and the blacklist of applications that are running in the environment.
Data center analytics
Another criteria that was used in the report was around the ability to do data-center analytics. Now, when it comes to the data center, there's lots of complexity there, especially if you've got a large data center. There's a lot of virtualization that's happening. There's a lot of mechanical-hot, cool aisles. And with some of these hyperscaled data centers, you've got 90-plus servers running in one rack. The ability to discover, to track, to manage, and run analysis on that data so you understand what's happening in your data center, (for example, is there one server where the blade fan tends to fail quite frequently?) the ability to collect that information so you can make meaningful decisions about it is important, as well.
Another area is around the complex licensing of applications in the data center. Not just managing the hardware, but also the software like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, VMWare, SAP, and all of the different license metrics associated with them. We have a lot of PVU, RVU. We have upgrade, downgrade, reassignment. You need the ability to track to the level of detail needed to optimize that software, to make sure you have it deployed properly, that it's not deployed on a 16-core box when you're only licensed for four cores, or it might be licensed in virtualization on a VM and you're not licensed for that.
Being able to understand what's happening from a data-center licensing requirement was another one of the functional evaluation areas. Todd, maybe you could talk about that from an integration perspective.
Todd: Thank you, Patricia. Some of the very familiar terms we have out there include infrastructure as an architecture, platform as architecture software, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and software as a service. Being able to track all that and being able to monitor and manage when those are stood up, when they're being used, how often they're being used is very key and important to an ITAM program. How are you able to track and see if you're using Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services? Which one should you use? Which one provides you the most value? How easy is it to switch from one to the other? Is it providing the securities that you need? It's almost like bring-your-own software license on some of these. Being aware of the complexity that brings, is what Patricia mentioned.
So there are lot of options out there, but being able to stay on top of it, and I know it's happening, it's happening even here at LANDESK, people go out there and stand up these services because of the ease of use. They need something up right now, right away. They can't wait for an IT department to do it. So find ways to make it easy and track that. I guess I'll say even along the lines with our Amazon Web Service environment that we have here, I've been working closely with our sales team on that, and they put together a way where they can stand these services up, a few environments for me to use, and they track my usage. That way they know how to charge my department and are able to stay on top of that. They know what I'm using it for. Services like that are very key and important.
Again, looking at software as a service, being able to get that information from those sources. If you're using Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, Box, as you mentioned, there are so many out there now. Are your people really using those subscriptions and licenses? Are they really using their SalesForce account if they have one? There are ways to get that information and track it, so you can find ways to optimize your environment. Another great key component that was part of the report, after you've gathered all that information, is looking at what type of financial modeling and decisions you can make with it. I'll pass it back to you, Patricia, for this one.
Patricia: Thanks, Todd. Financial modeling is the last of the 14 criteria. We combined a few and took them a little bit out of order just to put them in a flow from discovery and onto more advanced evaluation criteria. Financial modeling is the ability to create a scenario and model a decision and how that decision is going to impact decisions that you make in the organization. Many times I saw deals made on the golf course, not really based on functionality, not really based on TCO to the organization. When you have the ability to model these decisions, you take all that relationship stuff out, and you get right down to the nuts and bolts of it. What's the purchase price? What's the maintenance cost? What is it going to cost to train our support organization? What is it going to cost to train our end users? What's the total TCO, including life-cycle management, migration costs, and upgrade costs?
By being able to model a decision, you get more detailed information, and you get accurate information about what the impact of this decision will be to the business. It's going to be an impact to your IT infrastructure, It could also impact the business service, it could impact the budget that is driving this project, or it could be the specific business unit that is making this request, and they're saying, "Well, what's the best outcome that we could expect here?" Being able to model those decisions in detail is the last evaluation criteria that Info-Tech used. Now I'll turn it back to you.
Jason: I was just going to say real quick that this gives us a quick snapshot of the comparison chart the Info-Tech report gives us. And hopefully this gives us an unbiased view of the competitive landscape out there. We believe these features are key to any good ITAM vendor. The report goes through the different points that we covered today. Patricia and Todd did a great job of covering them. We feel like LANDESK has a strong presence in all of these, and you can line them up and see us against the other vendors. We'll be sending out the full report of the Info-Tech vendor landscape in an email to all attendees. Look for that, and you could check it out in more detail, find more competitive information, see where the competitors sit, where all the ITAM vendors sit.
Patricia: And it is a 62-page document, too, Jason.
Jason: Yeah. It's quite long.
Patricia: They go into a lot of details about how they narrowed down the vendors and the different scenarios, too.
Jason: Yeah, it's got great information. So with that, I'll turn over to Sharon. Do we have any questions today?
Sharon: We don't have any questions at this time. If anyone's had one, they could enter it in the Q&A chat.
Patricia: Okay. We will have the document sent out to attendees on the call, if you're interested in reading it. It will also be available on the LANDESK website. If you'd like to access it there, you will be able to do that, too. It will be under the IT asset management product section. We also have some more information about the LANDESK asset management teams, some projects, events that we're going to be attending. If anybody is going to be at the International Association of IT Asset Managers fall event in Dublin, LANDESK will be there. Definitely stop by the booth and say hello. We always like to meet people in person.If you are going to be at ITAM Review or near Tampa, Florida in September, LANDESK will be there at their first US conference. ITAM Review is also having an event in October in Twickenham, so if you're going to be in the UK or you're based in Europe, certainly come by and say hello there. We also will have a lot of upcoming webinars that you can access and participate in from a polling perspective or from a question perspective, and you can log into landesk.com/webinar to see what we have on the agenda for August and September. Thank you all very much for dialing in and thank you to the team in Utah. It was a great webinar to do jointly.
Todd: Well, thank you so much, Patricia.
Sharon: All right, everyone, thanks for joining. Have a wonderful day.
Patricia: Thanks. Bye now.