Technological advancements are transforming the healthcare industry. While this news is great for patients and investors, it puts enormous pressure on you to better manage your organization’s rapidly growing infrastructure. Every day you’re adding new users, new hardware, and new software. You’re also adding mountains of data to your storage devices. Put simply, it’s creating potential for chaos.
To deal with this, companies in the healthcare industry has been ramping up its investments in technology. These statistics from Communications for Research give you an idea what kind of money we’re talking about:
• Healthcare providers currently spend $40 billion annually on IT
• Clinical healthcare IT spending reached $15.6 billion in 2014
• Federal (US) healthcare IT spending is expected to reach $4.8 billion in 2019
• Western European healthcare spending will grow to $14.6 billion in 2018.
• Services will be made up of 52 percent of big data/analytics
Chances are good your organizations will be boosting its spending on information technology next year and the following years. There’s simply no other way to keep up with what’s happening.
More Pressure to Track and Manage
This boost in IT spending is only making things worse for you. It puts more pressure on you as a top healthcare executive to not only track and manage your infrastructure, but also maintain it. But if you’re like many other healthcare executives, you probably lack the tracking software and management tools you need to operate your IT department efficiently and effectively.
And that’s a problem—a big problem.
The inability to see into and manage your healthcare IT infrastructure puts your organization at risk. An IT failure can cost your facility financially. It might even create legal problems for violating compliance requirements. If the failure is bad enough, it could turn into a public relations nightmare that could cost you your job.
A recent study by CA Technologies surveyed 200 companies across America and Europe on the topic of IT downtime. It found that more than $26.5 billion in revenue is lost each year from IT downtime. That translates roughly to $150,000 is lost annually for each business. Can your company afford IT downtime at those rates?
One solution to tracking, managing, and maintaining all your IT assets is implementing IT asset management (ITAM). It helps provide the visibility, tools, and best practices needed to manage your IT infrastructure efficiently and cost-effectively. It also helps you meet all your compliance issues and prevent any embarrassing public relations nightmares from taking place on your watch.
Benefits of IT Asset Management
IT asset management software’s goal is simple—create a central asset repository that can help track and maintain all your hardware and software inventory. The benefits that derive from implementing ITAM are enormous. They include things like:
• Generate maximum value from asset use
• Gain control over IT inventory
• Optimize purchase decisions and strategies
• Achieve IT operational efficiency
• Automate asset discovery and tracking
• Boost financial accountability of asset purchases
• Improve long-term asset manageability and maintenance
• Assist and help mitigate cyber threats
Also, ITAM can help you address critical ITIL functions, like configuration, service level, and incident and problem management. It can also help you manage vendor contracts, track and manage leases, and make accurate budget forecasts. It can even help you decide when to replace your data center.
“The technical, financial, and service-related information available from an ITAM program can give IT the ability to optimize its investment in a company’s asset base,” says Kelly M. Lowe and L. Rene Abreu in this article on ITAK.com. “It provides a comprehensive view of the resources supporting IT service delivery and an assurance that the best use is made of assets. With ITAM, it is possible to establish and maintain best practices, improve asset service levels and manage service risk and IT resources.”
Preliminary Steps to Implementing ITAM
Implementing IT asset management in a healthcare organization is a challenge. Like facilities in other industries, healthcare facilities have internal barriers that make implementing ITAM difficult. Two of the biggest barriers to ITAM are getting buy-in from key C-level executives and silo mentality. You’ll need to overcome these stumbling blocks before implementing ITAM.
Obviously, getting support from C-level executives is critical. Without it, your project is dead before it even starts. One key to getting full support from this group is to make them aware of the risks associated with not implementing ITAM as well as the budgetary benefits of implementing ITAM. As for overcoming your company’s silo mentality, make sure everyone knows who will be responsible for what asset management activity before hand. That way there are no surprises after launching ITAM.
A third critical preliminary step to implementing ITAM is finding a sponsor for your project. Without a sponsor, you’ll find it difficult to get not only approval for your project, but also funding it. Start early on to determine the key ITAM stakeholders in your organization. Then decide which of these stakeholders has the most to gain from implementing ITAM as well as the cache with other senior executives to drive the approval process. That person is your sponsor.
Five Key Steps in Establishing ITAM
In addition to getting approval and finding a sponsor for your project, you’ll need to take several keys steps before launching ITAM at your organization. Five of these steps are below:
1. Define success in your organization — First, determine what project success will be in your organization. It will be different for every healthcare organization. Often, it comes down to things like minimizing compliance risk, reducing spending on unnecessary licenses, cutting costs in hardware purchases, and increasing efficiency through better IT asset management. Second, decide what percentage change you want in these categories. The percentage changes are your goals.
2. Identify/inventory all your assets — Take a full inventory of all your IT assets. They include both tangible and intangible digital assets. Tangible assets are things like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Intangible assets are things like digital content and software. Use the fair market value of each item for your calculations.
3. Determine your ITAM needs — Before you can choose an asset tracking tool, you first need to determine your asset management needs. They will depend on the goals you’ve defined in the previous step. You’ll also want to determine the budget for purchasing an asset tracking tool. The key question you need to answer here is this: Does the software cost more than the value you get from it.
4. Select the right asset tracking software — Before selecting tracking software, make sure its feature set supports the goals you’ve defined in your first step. Then determine what kind of impact implementing the tool will make on your infrastructure. Also, see if the developer offers a free trial of its software. You’ll also need to consider if you want to invest in a cloud-based tool.
5. Implement a pilot project — Building consensus for ITAM at your organization is paramount to its success. One good way to build consensus is to implement a successful pilot project. But you should only do a pilot project if you have a good sense of what the results will be like after implementing it. That way there won’t be any surprises.
Your IT infrastructure is growing rapidly. That means your organization will probably be spending thousands on IT assets. The pressure on you to manage these IT assets efficiently and effectively will continue to grow as time passes. Implementing
IT asset management in light of this development makes sense.
ITAM provides top-down visibility into your healthcare IT infrastructure, so you can get a better handle on managing and maintaining it. It also provides key benefits that you can’t ignore and help prevent an embarrassing public relations nightmare for your company that could cost you your job. Sounds like a win-win for everybody.