SMART Machine and Application Technologies – Will ITAM be Early Adopters or Laggards?

By Chima Okparaeke

Introduction

Today, big data, cloud and mobile computing are emerging technologies that have stirred up new concepts, opportunities and challenges. In the near future, technology will again experience a massive tsunami- type disruption that will transform how businesses, people and processes operate. This disruption will be the introduction of more complex machines and applications. Industry analysts are predicting that by 2020, SMART apps and machines will replace certain things that people currently do and will deliver greater efficiency, improve lives, change existing culture and enhance processes as well as decision-making.

What Does SMART Mean?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology.

SMART refers to systems and applications that use learning machines to perform work traditionally done by humans in an effort to boost efficiency and productivity. These technologies will have the ability to communicate information wherever, whenever and to whomever wants it without the human component. This technology provides robust development and deployment. It also provides enormous savings in provisioning, upgrading and reusability.

To examine the potential impact of SMART machines and applications on ITAM, consider the existing challenges against the possible advantages from SMART technology.

ITAM Existing Challenges

Organizations often suffer from performance problems, lack of enterprise integration, poor asset utilization, and inflated costs. A few of the issues that IT Asset Management (ITAM) programs specifically experience are:

  • Inventory collection
  • Software recognition
  • Tracking software and system usage
  • Tracking various workstations, servers, laptops, and other components
  • Capturing and processing license entitlement
  • Software compliance reconciliation
  • Inaccurate monitoring and administration of purchases, software license contracts, maintenance and entitlements
  • Ineffective adherence to licensing terms and other agreements
  • Inability to measure total cost of ownership, related expenses, depreciation, and return on investment
  • Inability to identify current and emerging software or hardware asset life cycle trends
  • Properly coordinate, schedule property and maintain records of property disposal
Potential ITAM Benefits from SMART Tech

When applying the expectations of SMART machines and applications to ITAM, they should be able to provide organizations with the following ITAM benefits:

  • Improve asset and resource utilization
  • Improve equipment readiness
  • Increase safety and mitigate risk
  • Reduce asset lifecycle costs
  • Eliminate manual efforts
  • Optimize complex maintenance tasks
  • Improve strategic planning
  • Implement lean best practices and improvement strategies
  • Enhance compliance to regulations and standards
  • Ensure supply chain availability and visibility
  • Allocate skilled resources appropriately
  • Improve productivity and parts management
  • Enhance problem management
  • Provide built-in support for best practices
Strategic Opportunities for ITAM from SMART Tech
  • The above benefits would result in:
  • Enhanced planning of strategic technology
  • Improved procurement process
  • Improved infrastructure performance
  • Improved software and system usage tracking
  • Increased cost efficiency
  • Simplified inventory management and auditing
  • Improved risk management and compliance
Early Adopters vs. Laggards

Early adopters of SMART technologies will be organizations or people who recognize the potential return and the success possible even though visibility for SMART technologies is not yet widespread. Laggards will be organizations that only adopt technologies like SMART in order to stay relevant in the market. This risk of being in this category is that the cost of implementation may now be greater than the economic benefit.

Early adopters have a leadership role, establishing how the industry operates such as setting standards or creating demand. They win through speed, agility, and flexibility in recognizing and capturing opportunities in existing markets. Laggards invest sufficiently to stay in the game but avoid premature commitments.

To influence the adoption rate of SMART technology, organizations need to consider five characteristics:

  1. Relative advantage: This attribute considers the degree to which the technology is perceived to be better than the technology it is replacing
  2. Compatibility: A higher level of compatibility with the values and needs of the potential adopter (organization) increases the chances of adoption
  3. Complexity: Technology that is difficult to learn, use, or implement will have a slower rate of adoption
  4. Trial: Technology that can be tried and tested by the consumer (e.g. free samples, small sizes)
  5. Visibility: The degree to which an innovation can be “seen” by other users and adopters will affect the rate of adoption
Example of Early Adopters vs. Laggards

Imagine you are at work and get hungry. You go to a vending machine but find that you do not have cash on you. What do you do? The amount of effort it is going to take to go to an ATM or perhaps to borrow from a colleague will most likely discourage you and you will probably opt for an easier, alternative solution.

This scenario exposes a limitation in the existing business model for vending machine companies. The SMART self-service technology has the potential to respond to changes in consumer preferences that leads to capturing a larger market. So, the vending machine company may become an example of an early adopter, understanding their market and capitalizing on it by installing SMART machines that accepts credit/debit cards, mobile payments and other new features that not only attract customers but keep them coming back. Corporations/Businesses like the early adopter vending machine company remain relevant and become more profitable than their competition.

A laggard vending machine company enters the SMART machine revolution with a “if it is not broken, why change it” approach. Instead of seeking to lead the market and investing in new SMART machine technology, these organizations become spectators by settling for the traditional tools and keeping things at the status quo.

Conclusion

SMART technology is about putting intelligence and computing power directly on the machine or application. As these key technologies come into play, IT Asset Managers need to take a proactive approach and look at the impact SMART machines or applications will have on business objectives and processes. By strategically thinking ahead IT Asset Managers will be able to act as early adopters and shape the future of their respective organizations as opposed to just reserving the right to play (Laggards).

About the Author

Chima Okparaeke is the Associate of JP Morgan Chase.