Asset Management Tool Roots Out Unneeded Apps

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Welcome to Part 3 of a 5-part series on IT cost cutting. Each day this week, we'll look at money-saving IT projects that you can replicate.

In Part 1, Lafarge North America learns how to negotiate from a position of strength with vendors AT&T and Hewlett-Packard, saving "seven figures" in the process.

Read Part 2 to see how Gap saves up to $1 million from a $400,000 systems administration project that also helped comply with PCI and SOX regulations.

Today learn about an asset management effort at the U.S. Department of Defense to take old, unused or unsanctioned software and hardware off its networks.

The U.S. Department of Defense budgets $20 billion for information technology in a given year and no one person or spreadsheet or database keeps a running and accurate count of all the pieces of hardware and software in action.

That's not unusual for any large organization, which is why the asset management discipline emerged. The first step is figuring out what useful and not so useful computer gear is hanging off your network, then lay to rest those wasting time and money. A project to do that at the U.S. Army has so far produced multimillion-dollar savings and now the DoD itself wants to replicate it, says Joe Paiva, a leader in the DoD responsible for IT portfolio management strategy and policy development.

Paiva worked with asset management software from BDNA Corp., a private company in Mountain View, Calif. In one day, he and his team installed the BDNAInsight "agentless discovery" product on servers in one Army office, to search various servers and PCs at major Army bases and facilities.

"Agentless discovery" means the software automatically crawls an IP network to record every device and piece of software attached to it. Initial scans take about a day, Paiva estimates. BDNAInsight then spits out a report that can be sorted by type of device, server crawled and other variables.

The process turned up some surprises and has helped the Army close money leaks.

For example, across Army facilities, individual Oracle database and applications licenses were in use, sold to local military purchasing agents by value-added resellers. By moving those to an enterprise license and maintenance contract with Oracle directly, the Army saved "tens of millions" of dollars, he estimates.

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