The top drivers of wasted IT spend in a hybrid-first environment [Q&A]

From rising collaboration expenses to a need for more devices per employee, hybrid work models have driven a need for new investments in workplace technology.

However, a significant portion of IT spend is wasted in a hybrid-first environment, often due to a reliance on manual processes that don't provide much-needed visibility into organizational endpoints.

We spoke to Tejas Jathar, product owner at Digitate to discuss wasted IT spend and how automation can help reduce it.

BN: What are some of CIOs' top priorities this year?

TJ: The flexible nature of the hybrid work model has introduced a necessity for new investments in digital workplace tools such as cloud-based productivity apps and digital collaboration tools. Hybrid employees need the right tools and applications to feel connected with colleagues and help them feel more productive, in addition to devices that enable them to work both on-site and off-premises. As a result, CIOs today are faced with the dilemma of maximizing the employee experience (EX) without blowing their whole budget. With a recession looming, 99 percent of business leaders say that their organizations are ready to cut costs this year, and CIOs are no exception. Fortunately, CIOs can better optimize their budget to reduce much of their wasted IT spend.

BN: What are the main causes of wasted IT spend for enterprises?

TJ: While there are many countless reasons enterprises rapidly run through their IT budgets, there are four sources of wasted IT spend that appear to be most prominent:

  • Untimely hardware refreshes: Slow devices can be a burden to employees and stand in the way of their productivity. However, most organizations are uncertain about whether they should upgrade their existing devices or perform a company-wide hardware refresh, as they lack visibility into device performance. If devices are performing well, while budgets remain tight, undergoing a premature hardware refresh will result in wasted IT spend, particularly if the organization is facing more urgent employee experience challenges.
  • Unused and underused licenses: In the hybrid work model, companies are increasingly subscribing to more applications, resulting in considerable wasted spend due to inefficient license management. Research even shows that inefficient license management causes $34 billion in licensing waste yearly on a global scale. This often links back to a lack of visibility into subscriptions or maintaining active subscriptions to prevent data loss.
  • Minimal resolution of issues: By conducting all their tasks manually and without the use of AI or automation to help, IT teams aren’t able to effectively complete their high workloads and need additional support personnel to maintain current service levels. Additionally, the use of unproductive tooling wastes engineers’ time and increases IT support costs.
  • Cost of running shadow IT: Shadow IT refers to the applications, software, devices and other IT assets that haven’t been approved by the IT department. Since Shadow IT cannot be monitored and often goes undetected, its cost cannot be controlled.

While these all might seem like separate issues, they all boil down to one common theme -- a lack of visibility into organizational endpoints.

BN: Why are traditional endpoint management processes inefficient in the hybrid work model?

TJ: Uncovering shadow IT is critical to optimizing IT spend. When organizations first began working from home, IT administrators leveraged unified endpoint management (UEM) platforms to provision employee devices remotely. But UEM platforms weren’t designed to provide the span and depth of visibility needed to uncover hidden endpoints and IT assets. In the hybrid work model, tracking metrics and static details isn’t enough anymore, as IT teams need more insight into the endpoints they manage. Instead, they should look for tools that can establish a connection between metrics and the employee experience. IT teams should consider deploying solutions with automatic endpoint mapping capabilities that can deliver contextual details to IT teams.

BN: Can you describe automatic endpoint mapping?

TJ: End-user experience monitoring (EUEM) software reduces the burden and complexity of manual processes by using the power of AI to automatically map every endpoint within the enterprise. These tools leverage a lightweight agent that is deployed on all end-user devices and collect telemetry data that is then presented on an easy-to-read dashboard for analysis. With these insights, IT teams can monitor every IT software and hardware asset across the enterprise, while quickly identifying flaws and abnormalities to prioritize upgrade initiatives.

Auto-remediation at the endpoint, without help or service desk personnel involved in the process, can also streamline the user experience by preventing IT issues from disrupting their workday.

BN: How do IT teams save money with this added visibility into endpoints?

TJ: Insights obtained from the dashboard can help IT teams make well-informed investments and reduce wasted operational expenses. A core benefit of endpoint visibility is optimizing hardware lifecycles. For instance, if the IT administrator can’t find the root cause behind low device performance or repeated application crashes, they may decide to conduct a hardware upgrade prematurely or replace the device entirely in hopes that it will fix the problem. By obtaining visibility into endpoints, IT teams can determine whether a replacement or upgrade is truly needed.

In another scenario, endpoint visibility allows IT teams to keep track of all enterprise licenses and distinguish which haven’t been used for a prolonged period. From there, they can create alerts to deactivate those licenses, resulting in added cost savings that can instead go toward tools that enhance the hybrid work model. Self-healing at the endpoint without software development personnel involved in the process, can also streamline the user experience by preventing IT issues from disrupting their workday.

Utilizing intelligent EUEM software to bring IT assets out of the shadows and achieve end-to-end visibility into each endpoint is one key way that organizations can stay within budget. In addition to optimizing IT spend by leveraging EUEM tools, CIOs can ensure their enterprise’s IT provides employees with an ideal hybrid experience.

Photo credit:  Jag_cz / Shutterstock

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