For a lot of IT departments, getting out of lockdown can have a bitter taste. Management of the computer park has been transformed by the generalization of remote working, multiplication of laptops, explosion of the number of devices – leading to cost issues, including licensing – and sometimes unauthorised use of third-party tools used (and sometimes with more convenience)instead of official supported tools.
While some IT departments, including international groups or companies spread over several territories, had already put in place a technical base and good management practices that mitigated impacts, many of them are facing a very difficult situation.
How to regain control of IT asset for users after such a paradigm shift?
First questions that comes to mind, and that are unfortunately often the only ones addressed, are of a technological nature:
All these questions, while legitimate, are in fact secondary. There are always technical solutions – publishers and their sales spokesmen are very prolific about that.
First challenge: on the contrary to business specific applications, it is rare to have inside the company a business stakeholder in charge of managing business uses and choices for the end-user computer management. Best case scenario that we can encounter is having several key-users, with various usages but capable of defining a common ground, but more often than not no one on the business side handles this topic.
A good way of managing this challenge is to draw inspiration from “personae” method as described by Alan Cooper to design a set of “use case and user”. To each personae you can associate:
Those personas enable IT departments to establish capabilities aligned to actual needs and to design a shared strategy on IT assets for users.
To make the outcomes tangible, taking into account maturity and cultural habits of the company is mandatory. We recommend a phased deployment, with a governance of change inspired by SCRUM sprints. This offers the best value/effort ratio: thus, from sprint to sprint, each "Product Owner" for each persona sees a progression and a regular value gain: at such a sprint we have deployed an "application store", at another one a counter to exchange a laptop in case of an incident, etc.
Second challenge: IT asset management is a complex practice. Workstations, licenses, packaging, standardization, integration of applicative roadmaps, pick-up desk, equipment logistics, remote and on-site support...: whichever solution is chosen, all these points must be addressed. However, they often are addressed afterwards, when – at best –first problems and additional costs arise.
The best thing to do is to mobilize the teams working on the infrastructure on a daily basis to define with them 2 to 4 organizational models enabling to address:
These designs must absolutely include a global cost analysis (material, licenses, personnel involved, transportation, fixed assets, support, power consumption, etc.).
By doing so, IT departments achieve a good overview of their capabilities on service around their IT assets for end-users. Confronting their capabilities with the outcomes of personae design ensures a proper fit for all managed needs.
We had the opportunity to support a client in this process. Initiated before the lockdown, it has been speeded up by the events of this spring.
Initially, the infrastructure consisted of 120,000 workstations for 70,000 employees. After a global cost analysis, it was decided to simplify configurations (using the personae method) and to generalize the use of laptops (see distribution diagram):
Well managed, this process brings:
A big thank you to the authors of this article: Julien BONTEMPELLI, Jean MILLET and Nicolas ROYER.