Category Archives: ROI

Focus on Personas

One area of particular strength in SysTrack’s suite of value added functions is its ability to provide automated EUC Persona insight, aka “End User Segmentation”.  In their research note, “Segment Users by Workspace to Allocate Physical Devices, Digital Tools, Support and Services,” Gartner analyst Federica Troni states:

IT leaders responsible for end-user computing are challenged with determining the right set of tools to maximize user productivity and engagement without duplicating costs and capabilities.

Such a framework helps IT leaders determine the right choices to accommodate diverse user requirements.

Lakeside’s approach to end user segmentation is consistent with and supportive of the process advocated by Gartner.  The granular End User Computing (EUC) data collected, aggregated, and visualized by SysTrack is exactly the kind of data needed to identify user groups within an enterprise who have common device, application, service, connectivity, and support needs.  No longer must IT rely on outdated questionnaires, anecdotal input, and/or educated guesses.  Using real EUC data, collected from actual systems, with real users; the results are accurate, fast, and non-controversial. Thus “data driven” vs “instinct and intuitive” based decisions can drive EUC provisioning, access, and support choices.

This data driven methodology for Persona discovery can pay big dividends.  Proper matches between end users, the devices, applications, and services they use, typically result in:

    • Productivity improvements – Having the “right tool for the job” is an age old adage and is as important in IT as in any other form of work.
      • An over/under provisioned workstation represents waste. Either too much was spent on an over provisioned system or an end user of an under provisioned system can’t effectively do their job.
      • Mismatched application suites to job requirements represent waste. Providing more applications than end users need results in unused licenses, increased support costs, increased workload demands, and an increased risk of application or system conflicts.  Failing to provide appropriate applications to do the job, results in lower end user output.
      • Mobile and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives require proper orchestration. Opening an enterprises’ infrastructure to any/all devices the EUC community chooses to use can be a security risk, support nightmare, and connectivity challenge.  A better approach is to understand the work behaviour of all end users and identify where mobile and BYOD adoption is appropriate.

 

  • Asset optimization – Rather than a “one size fits all’ approach, a proper understanding of the personas within an enterprise can lead to the distribution of end user devices which are appropriate for the job.

In a recent SysTrack assessment at a large auto manufacturer it was determined only 10% of the enterprises’ 25,000 laptops were observed to have been moved from their office location.   This while the average cost of a laptop was $150 more than a desktop and the average failure rate on the laptops were about 10% higher.

In another assessment it was observed that more than 80% of the enterprises’ users were not taking advantage of several of the applications within a suite of applications.  A lower license cost was negotiated with the application suite’s manufacturer based on the historical SysTrack data, this resulted in over $15M in savings for the company.

  • Service Desk Support Optimization – By reviewing “day in the life” data for various personas, an enterprises’ service desk resources can be staffed with appropriate skill sets for the times when needed. Frequently, a “one size fits all” service desk with 7 x 24 coverage is provided for the entire EUC community.  One recent study revealed a client had fewer than 5% of their EUC users accessing any resources after 8pm on Fridays and before 6am on Mondays.  The decision was made to curtail the service desk staffing on weekends and increasing the coverage during normal business hours, resulting in significant cost savings and improved EUC satisfaction, as the response time was improved during the time the service was actually needed.
  • EUC on-boarding optimization – Proper persona and job role identification, documentation, and definitions, provide a very efficient method for on-boarding new employees or changing employee job assignments. An enterprise with fully defined personas and job roles can quickly assign the proper resources (end user device, applications, services, connectivity, etc.) based on the job description of the end user at any point in time.

One customer reported the on-boarding time for new employees was reduced from 8 days to 1 day by properly identifying the various personas and job roles within the organization and automating the on-boarding process to take advantage of the persona insights.

  • Cloud Affinity – Significant savings are being realized by enterprises through adoption of “Cloud” services. SysTrack can identify which enterprise workloads are suited for “The Cloud” and who among the end users are ready to utilize cloud based services.

 

 

SDA Image Planning and Portfolio Optimization

After having completed assessments for thousands of workstations with the SysTrack Desktop Assessment service provided for VMware we’ve been inundated with requests for all kinds of features. One specific need kept coming up time and time again, and I’m happy to announce that we’re now able to provide a solution for it. With the start of VMworld not only are we going to start providing the SysTrack Cloud Edition for vCloud Air as a “SysTrack as a Service” offering with the capability to extend your data collection indefinitely into the implementation and steady state deployment phases, but we’re also offering expanded planning tools to help tackle the problem of portfolio planning.

Overwhelming feedback from users of the SDA has been that one simple addition would provide monumental benefits: access to our Image Planner. With an on premises deployment of SysTrack it’s possible to simply build an image plan directly in the IP web application and have that imported directly into SysTrack Transform for project management. The latest update to SDA unlocks that functionality for any customer to allow cloud based image planning and portfolio rationalization. This means that with our automation focused web app it’s possible to build out a plan for a base image and map out user application requirements with ease.

With IP you can start with a list of systems you want to work with; you can choose to begin with all systems or a subset if you want to have multiple plans. Once you’re ready to get started you’re immediately able to start whittling down your potential inventory of applications by making choices for what to keep and what to exclude. There’s also an interface for standardizing on specific versions of software if you’ve got multiples or if you want to remove apps that serve duplicate business purposes.

The real key feature, and the one that makes IP such a valuable way to map out user entitlements, is the automation area. This allows you to pick some basic settings for when to install applications separately from a base image, when to deliver an application via RDS, or when to virtualize applications. This then maps out the user entitlements for which users in the environment need access to those applications and assigns them to the appropriate choice.

Another key feature is the addition of AppVolumes app stack planning. This appears in the Layering section of IP and provides a mechanism to automate the analysis and assignment of applications into stacks that are then associated with users. Basically it’s a way to streamline picking what applications should go where and pinpointing who should be entitled to use them.

The net outcome is a comprehensive report that contains a list of images that are required, the supporting files necessary for those images, and a complete mapping of users to the applications they require. This makes it much easier to plan a migration, and it remove quite a bit of the manual effort that would otherwise be required to ensure every user has their critical applications.

These new features are all live over at the VMware SDA site, so if you haven’t already registered get started today!

Citrix Licensing – Deciding between concurrent and user/device licenses

Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop are available in two general licensing models:

  1.  Concurrent licensing. This model is intended for one connection to a virtual desktop or unlimited apps for any user and any device –  a license is only consumed for the duration of an active session. If the session disconnects or is terminated, the license will be checked back into the pool.
  2. User/Device licensing. Under this model, the license is either assigned to a unique user or shared device. If assigned to a user, it allows that single user unlimited connections from unlimited devices. If assigned to a device, it allows unlimited users, unlimited connections from that single device.

The User/Device license is typically half of the price of a concurrent license and can be an attractive model for organizations that follow a “traditional” work schedule (as opposed to shift workers in manufacturing or healthcare, where they may be a large number of individuals, but only a fraction of which are concurrently using the XenApp or XenDesktop environment.)

Internally, and this is the topic of this article, if Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop is configured for the user/device license model, the Citrix license server has to decide whether to assign the license to a user OR to a device. These are two different things, although customers purchase a user/device (as in user SLASH device)  license. So, how does this work?

Assume I, florianb, log into my organization’s environment and launch a session. At that time, a user license is consumed. I can run as many sessions from as many XenDesktop sites that share the license server as I like and use as many devices as I care to – it’s still one user license.

Assume that one of the devices I use is a shared thin client in the office. An hour after I leave, my co-worker Alex uses the same client to access his virtual desktop. Citrix internally then marks that particular thin client as a shared device and it consumes a device license. Theoretically, I could have 100 employees each use the same thin client and only consume a single  user/device license.

It becomes apparent that the recognition of shared devices is an automated way for organizations to minimize the number of licenses they need.

Most of us, however, have a mix of environments, so Citrix is calculating the total number of user/device licenses as follows:

# User/Device licenses = (# of total users) + (# of shared devices) – (# of users who only access from a shared device)

Makes sense?

Here’s a simple example:

User/Device Devices Used User License Consumed? Device License Consumed?
Paul Client01 No, because Paul is only using a shared device (Client01, which is also used by Florian, Alex, and Amanda) N/A
Florian Client01
Florian’s PC
Florian’s iPad
Florian’s Laptop
Yes, because he is using one or more non-shared devices N/A
Alex Client01 No, because Alex is only using a shared device N/A
Amanda Amanda’s iPad
Client01
Yes, because Amanda is using a non-shared device (her iPad) N/A
Client01 Used by: Paul, Florian, Alex, and Amanda N/A Yes – because Client01 is used by more than one user
Florian’s PC Used by Florian N/A No – because Florian is consuming a user license so he can use an unlimited number of licenses
Florian’s iPad Used by Florian N/A No – Florian is consuming a user license so he can use an unlimited number of devices
Florian’s Laptop Used by Florian N/A No – Florian is consuming a user license so he can use an unlimited number of devices
Amanda’s iPad Used by Amanda N/A No, Amanda is consuming a user license so she can use an unlimited number of devices

 

So, in this example, we would need a total of 3 user/device licenses, even though we have 4 individual users and 6 individual devices in the mix. Given that the price point for a concurrent license is 2x that of a user/device license, this small sample organization would absolutely benefit from user/device licensing as they may need as many as 4 concurrent users licenses.

The Citrix license optimization definitely works in the customer’s favor and the license allocation happens on a 90 day schedule for user/device licenses (i.e. the license of a user who is no longer in the organization or a device that is no longer in use get automatically released after 90 days or can be released immediately with a license management tool under terms of the Citrix EULA).

However, it can be a little difficult to predict what an organization might need. Lakeside SysTrack is a great tool to look at all sessions (say in an existing XenApp concurrent environment) to determine if a trade-up to user/device licensing would make sense. To illustrate the point, I’ve mocked up a quick and easy dashboard in SysTrack’s dashboard builder to look at one of the many environments we’re running internally.

license_dashboard2

 

In this particular example, our peak user concurrency was 11 and we would have needed 29 user/device licenses. We’re better off staying with concurrent licensing in this example.

Equally, if a traditional desktop environment is being assessed, SysTrack can make the choice between concurrent and user/device licensing very easy.

 

Florian

Twitter: @florianbecker and @lakesidesoft

Email: florian.becker@lakesidesoftware.com

On the web: www.lakesidesoftware.com

References/Notes:

  • While Citrix has reviewed this blog for accuracy at the time of this writing, Lakeside Software cannot make any representations on behalf of Citrix. Please always check with your authorized reseller, Citrix account manager and on citrix.com for the latest updates in product and licensing functionality.

Big Data for End User Computing: Driving Enhanced Visibility and Better Decisions

THE PROBLEM IS EUC VISIBILITY

Most organizations spend about half of their IT budget and effort on end user computing (EUC): on endpoint hardware, applications, support, and more.  It’s a huge cost, and literally all of their users are touched by the experience that they get from that investment. Unlike some more intangible expenses there’s a direct effect on productivity, but a recent survey of Fortune 500 enterprises found that nearly all companies are flying blind. They don’t know what their users do with their computers, how their users use the tools provided to them by IT, or what kind of experience their users receive every day. So, 50% of their budget is committed to delivering quality experience to 100% of their people, but they have 0% visibility into their user experience. That’s not a recipe for success.

How are you supposed to figure out from that what’s really going on?

One thing is certain: to get visibility into your end user computing  investment, you need a lot of information. You need to know what people have, what they actually use, how their applications and devices perform, how they’re configured, and more. That’s a monumental amount of data, and this is why it’s essential to have a Big Data Solution for End User Computing. When you have complete visibility from the endpoint to the datacenter you can deliver a better user experience more cost effectively, and this is especially true if you’re using VDI or hosted applications. All of this depends on having the information that you need to make great decisions instead of guessing.

THE SOLUTION IS EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION-MAKING

This opens the door to something we call “evidence-based decision making”. Most forward looking enterprises have started the shift to an evidence-based approach because they’re finding that there are many myths mixed into their current “best practices.” Sometimes they’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, and nobody knows why. They are shifting to the use of large, fact-based collections of knowledge as the basis for their decisions, and eliminating the guesswork and high cost of making the wrong calls.

This is exactly what Lakeside’s SysTrack software provides. In a nutshell, it builds a data repository that describes what’s happening in your EUC environment. It observes and records at an extraordinary level of detail to capture all of the granular data necessary to get real understanding. It’s architected from the ground up for low overhead and extreme scalability, meaning it’s a unique and patented solution suitable to run on every endpoint all the time. That means that your knowledge can finally be complete. It also means that when something happens, you’ll have a record of it and what caused it when you analyze the situation later.

But SysTrack is more than data: it is information. Turning raw data into useful information is not trivial. When that process fails the data isn’t very helpful by itself. SysTrack avoids this by organizing information as it is collected, storing it efficiently and preparing it for access as it is collected. That’s important, because it’s almost impossible to build the context for data after the fact. If you don’t do that organization up front, you’ll be looking for a needle in a stack of needles. This overwhelming amount of post-event analysis is one of the biggest problems with solutions that depend on mass centralization of raw data and leave you to put the pieces together. SysTrack isn’t a search engine; that kind of thing is best left to folks like Google. Instead SysTrack is designed to process and organize environmental data to make it immediately accessible. So, after collection, how do we start to get real value from this complete set of information?

The next step is applying analytics; that means doing something with the information. SysTrack supports both built-in and third party analytics. The analytics for a lot of business problems in the market today, like virtualization planning, software rationalization, hardware right-sizing, root cause analysis, and lots more are in the built-in variety: they come with the SysTrack product. But EUC is a hot market, and there are lots of creative companies who would like to do more. SysTrack supplies easy-to-use APIs that industry partners and our customers build on; they can concentrate on their value-add, which is the analytics, and can rely on SysTrack to provide well-organized data. So, while some great analytics come from Lakeside, we realize that there are smart people out there who have great ideas for analytics and specific business cases that we haven’t thought about yet. We want to provide the foundation to power those next generation solutions. Taking and working with the information in SysTrack helps deliver the answers to some of the most complex questions anyone may ask about an environment.

The third step is visualization. Having step one, the information collection, and step two, the analytics, in place you now need to be able to get the results into the hands of people that need it. This isn’t easy because different information consumers have different needs. Some need dashboards, some need reports, and some need detailed, granular data. To flexibly meet all of these needs, SysTrack includes a wide variety of visualization tools. That means excel-type “pure data” reports, full-scale documents that look like manuals, out-of-the-box and user-configurable dashboards, and programmatic access through APIs and PowerShell. The key point here is that you can drive visualization in whatever way is convenient to you. Most organizations use more than one.

Maybe it will be helpful to be a little more specific, and some examples may help to make this more concrete.  Let’s start with a look at the lifecycle for a virtualized desktop.

ASSESSMENT

The very first thing that everybody  needs to do in order to be successful is a proper assessment. In fact, it doesn’t matter what project you’re looking at: physical to virtual, Windows 7 and 8 migrations, virtualization adoption, whatever. You first need to understand what your people are using today and what resources they need.

IT typically supports a list of applications and a handful of PC and laptop models. But what applications do your users need or want? What apps are purchased and self-installed by certain departments or teams? How hungry are those apps? Answers to these questions are important, because just missing one or two critical items here can break your project before you rack the first server or install the first image.

So, assessments are important. You’d expect that a good assessment methodology has a high degree of automation, is transparent to the users, and is accurate. Lakeside SysTrack does all of that and a number of highly successful system integrators and consultants have long standardized on SysTrack for all of their assessments in IT projects.

TRANSFORMATION

Next is the actual Transformation. There’s always transformation, because if everything were static, you probably wouldn’t have much of a project. A serious complication to your project is that things continue to change while you are doing the planning. You can’t stop the user and app churn as that is part of the business. SysTrack can help deal with that.

One of the most crucial parts of the transformation is the image design. IT has to make sure to get all of the applications users depend on without bloating the images, by striking that fine balance between providing what’s really needed and not much more. You also want to see if your users are ready to make the switch once you finalize a new solution. You need to determine if all the applications are actually ready to go and identify the best order in which to migrate your users to the new platform. Lastly, you will want to have direct visibility into how things are going and adapt your project if your early adopters have a poor user experience.

OPERATION

With assessment and transformation completed, you still have to operate the constantly changing environment.  Having a user explain an issue to the help desk is time-consuming, subjective and problematic; frequently users only see the symptom (e.g. “my computer’s slow”) and have no understanding or visibility into the underlying problem.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a black box that records what has been going on so that you can have a look without having to try and replicate the problem? How about looking at system dependencies? Did you know your proxy server was 200 milliseconds away? What about raising some alarms when something goes wrong and pro-actively alerting your IT team about it? How do you know that the user isn’t just overly sensitive? Wouldn’t it make sense if you could see how their system performance is stacking up compared to everybody else in their peer group so you can determine if there is an isolated problem or a more widespread issue? That’s what IT operations is all about.

MEASUREMENT

Finally, how about measuring what’s going on?  Not only purely on the IT side, but measuring business metrics so that you can really have an impact on your people and your business.  The new SysTrack dashboard builder not only visualizes the SysTrack data, but actually pulls data from a lot of other sources and silos as well – that’s real data integration you can actually use. How about correlating help desk ticket volumes to system health? How about tracking application usage against owned application licenses? How about correlating user experience with productivity of your sales force or manufacturing flow?  SysTrack does all that.

SUMMARY

All right, so let’s recap – you need to have a way to make your IT decisions in an evidence-based way. To turn 0% visibility into 100% knowledge. The evidence comes from SysTrack as a Big Data for End User Computing solution that provides everything you need through the entire system lifecycle – Assess, Transform, Operate, and Measure.

Creating a Data-Driven Workforce Model

In most companies workforce costs average about 70%. These costs are the single biggest expense of any company and companies have struggled, particularly in the economic environment of the last few years, to gain workforce efficiencies. Many of them have used the sledge hammer approach – hiring freezes, layoffs, company reorganizations – because they’ve lacked the visibility and the tools to effectively manage and optimize their workforces.

Companies have financial models, and models of key supply side and demand side processes, but what they have struggled with is creating credible workforce models. By aggregating SysTrack data with data from other workforce applications including HR, Finance, Operations and Business Unit data, we see the opportunity to create a data driven workforce model.

By undertaking this effort, we believe companies can systematically assess and gain visibility to workforce patterns and insights. We see this as a game-changing opportunity to solve workforce problems that have remained allusive due to a lack of complete worker information, as well as an opportunity to better align company strategy with workforce plans. The immediate results would be better decisions, improved productivity, reduced cost, and a more competitive company. We further believe the costs of integrating the data and doing the analysis will pale in comparison to the benefits gained.

Here is just a sampling of the questions that could be addressed by this effort:

Demographics

  • What is my mix of full time, part time, temporary and contract workers?
  • Where are my workers located?
  • How mobile are my workers?

User Experience

  • What is the user experience of my employees, contractors, temporary workers?
  • Which employees are most impacted by user experience issues? How does their user experience compare to those of the most productive workers?
  • How are my workers using the web? Which web applications are most used?

Roles

  • What are my most critical job roles?
  • Who are my innovators, knowledge workers, mobile workers, process workers, and executives?
  • What distinguishes their work?
  • How do employee work styles compare to their formal roles?
  • Do we have role duplication?

Competencies

  • What are the competencies of each of my employees and where are those employees located?
  • Do we have the right competencies in the right place?

Productivity

  • Who are my “known” most productive workers, (i.e. workers whose work and output maps to their role)?
  • What are the work patterns of my most productive workers? How long do they work? Where do they work from? What applications do they use – from where and when?
  • Based on those patterns, who are my “unknown” most productive workers (i.e. workers whose work and output exceed their roles)?
  • How productive are my workers based on type of site?
  • From an IT perspective (h/w, s/w, network, apps) how are my most productive workers equipped versus my least productive workers?

Collaboration and Communication Flow

  • What collaboration devices and applications are productive teams using? How are my workers using email, messaging, Unified Communications, the portal(s), project management, document management, video conferencing, web conferencing, calendaring and other collaboration tools?
  • What collaboration devices and applications are my most productive teams equipped with versus my least productive teams?
  • How and when do they use they tools?

Compliance, Risk Management, Security

  • How does knowing who my employees are, how they work and where they work impact existing business continuity plans and what needs to be changed?
  • What security issues exist within my worker environment?
  • What external applications are my workers using?

Workplace

  • How do flexible hours and alternative work places affect hiring and retention of employees?
  • Based on work styles which workers could productively work from home and how would that impact my existing real estate costs?
  • How much power and energy does my workforce consume and what are my savings opportunities?

Furthermore, we believe there is a game-changing opportunity to use SysTrack, in combination with other databases, to build a data-driven workforce model resulting in significant competitive advantage for the enterprise.

Check out our new white paper and learn how a CIO can escape the “80/20 trap” by freeing up funding heretofore locked within the run budget and use the freed up funding to not only innovate within his/her own organization but also foster innovation across the enterprise.

Eliminating Waste in Your Run Budget

The number one issue for most CIOs today is how to move out of the keep-the-lights-on-trap in which as much as 80% of their IT budget is being spent on run-the-business capital and expense costs, and move that money into their Grow and Transform budgets. In many businesses the only budgeting being done for Innovation is in some Business Units. Moreover, CIOs will privately tell you that they know at least 10% of the money in their Run budgets is waste. They know the waste is there, but they are flying blind because they lack the data to clearly identify where that waste is and how to eliminate it. Following the Gartner “Run, Grow, Transform” model, CIOs need to free up money in their existing Run budgets and move that money first to their Grow budgets and then to their Transform budgets.

As Gartner has pointed out, along with a number of other authors and analysts in the IT space, there are three kinds of IT spenders out there. There are the Late Adopters who are primarily focused on running the business with minimal risk, the Mainstream Adopters who wait until a technology or innovation is proven and the Early Adopters who are continually innovating, want to be leading-edge and are looking for Transformations that will lead to significant competitive advantage. According to a March 2012 article in the Journal of Accountancy by Dorothy Shimamoto entitled, “A Strategic Approach to IT Budgeting, “ – http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2012/Mar/20114439.htm – spending for these three types of organizations typically breaks out like this:

IT Budget Run Grow Transform
Late Technology Adopters 80% 20% 0%
Mainstream Adopter 60% 30% 10%
Early Adopter 50% 30% 20%

As the Journal of Accountancy article points out, the key difference between the Mainstream Adopters and the Early Adopters is that the Early Adopters are spending twice as much on IT Transformation initiatives as the Mainstream Adopters.

Based on our experience, Lakeside Software estimates that at least 50% of an IT organization’s Run budget is spent in End User Computing. So let’s take a look at the End User Compute environment to understand how a CIO can shift her IT spending and free up money in the Run budget so it can first be allocated to the Grow budget and eventually to the Transform budget.

Using Lakeside Software’s SysTrack, the process of freeing up Run money budget and making it available for your Grow and Transform budgets is very straight-forward:

  • Assess the existing End User Environment to fully capture the health and inventory of the End User Environment – users, their locations, the devices they are running, the state of those devices (MIPs, Memory, IOPs, storage etc.), application inventory and usage, application license information, print and network environment.
  • Run the various out-of-the-box reports provided by SysTrack to determine waste, such as resource-consuming service desk issues, infrastructure sprawl, unused or redundant applications, anomalies in the environment, and opportunities to improve end user productivity and the quality of IT services delivered
  • Identify the areas of waste and potential savings
  • Prioritize the list based on the amount of waste based on savings and the ease by which the waste can be eliminated
  • Develop a plan to eliminate the waste
  • Execute the plan
  • Move the savings to your Grow and Transform budgets

The goal is to move IT from being a drag on the business (which is often the perception) to delivering business value, from flying blind and being analytically impaired to providing a competitive advantage. Lakeside’s goal is to empower you with insightful data so you can solve previously unsolvable problems. We think escaping the Run budget trap is a great way to get started.

Check out our new white paperand learn how a CIO can escape the “80/20 trap” by freeing up funding heretofore locked within the run budget and use the freed up funding to not only innovate within his/her own organization but also foster innovation across the enterprise.

Business Intelligence for Cost Savings in IT

One of the most expensive mistakes anyone can make in life is ignoring the details. Whether it’s that stack of parking tickets piling up on the dining room table or your crippling addiction to Steam sales, the possibility of being overwhelmed by the small costs in life is very real. Even worse is the fact that those expenses are difficult to keep track of by the very nature of how little attention they bring to themselves. When you get hit with massive, expected costs it’s easy to keep up because they hurt and there’s no ignoring it, but the slow bleed of a minor hit is easy to miss. Unfortunately, in real life and the IT world, these can be the items that topple everything when they build up (and lead to some serious finger pointing).

Luckily for IT (but not for your personal life, sorry), Lakeside Software has put some serious thought into how these individually small impacts can be automatically analyzed and used to predict areas of savings to take the manual effort away from managing costs to the business. Now Lakeside’s SysTrack software provides a quick, automated analysis of the current state of any environment to provide a summary of where savings can be realized. Through the use of the new SysTrack Business Intelligence Impact Report (part of the MarketPlace program), a detailed breakdown of utilization and potential savings target can be created with any assessment across numerous cost categories.

One of the principle cost drivers in any environment is underutilization of assets, both for physical hardware and licensed software. Identifying where software assets can be rationalized out of the environment or licenses can be reclaimed can make a huge impact on the operational budget available to an enterprise, and it can be extremely difficult to arrive at an accurate picture of what users actually depend on. SysTrack automatically captures the granular information necessary to observe utilization for software down to the individual usage of executables per user and dynamically determine what’s being used where and who’s using it. Similarly, identifying when and where a targeted hardware refresh can be used (or avoided) can prevent unnecessary expenditure and avoid extra costs associated with additional support needs. SysTrack collects the performance metrics and hardware details necessary to make clear recommendations about which systems are ready to retire and which can remain in place.

Decreasing the TCO of end-user devices is something that we’ve built numerous solutions around, and some knowledge on the subject of how to maximize the returns on your IT investments with SysTrack is available to cover the finer points of cost savings. Much of this is based around aggregating the end-user experience and assigning some real, quantitative value to the time that users lose due to shortcomings in the tools that are available to them. Categorized, actionable data on what areas of the infrastructure and the computing platforms in use in the environment are causing problems can drastically cut down on support costs while increasing end-user productivity and satisfaction.

Of course there are numerous other avenues for cost prevention or reduction as well, and SysTrack has an incredible amount of analytical power dedicated to automating the triage and presentation of potential problems that can help any environment save money and perform better. To explore the value of SysTrack visit our solutions page for some interesting use cases.