State and local governments have been hit hard in the past 18 months. Since these jurisdictions often demand balanced budgets, emergency spending during the pandemic must be offset by either budget cuts or tax increases.
In fact, a Washington post analysis shows that in 2020, the majority of states saw their tax revenues decline, with five states posting double-digit percentage declines. Until the economies rebound and local agencies get back on their feet, every dollar will count. It will be more difficult than ever to stay modernized, let alone innovate, while respecting budget constraints.
Agencies don’t have to search under the couch for ways to fund critical IT projects. Often times, they are already leaving more money than they realize on the table due to improper IT asset management (ITAM). A lack of visibility combined with a dearth of actionable data is costing governments across the country money that could be spent on modernization and security.
The cost of the problem
Local jurisdictions must stay within their budgets and are often urged to do more with less, so IT spending comes under scrutiny. In commercial markets, it’s common to see a 30% overshoot in IT (both hardware and software) and state and local governments are likely to experience a similar rate. This means that almost a third of the money allocated to government IT projects could be used elsewhere. That’s a lot of extra budget for an agency of any size.
Beyond money, mismanagement of IT assets can have huge security implications for a state or local agency. A good ITAM program should include a platform that can find broken software and hardware that no longer supports vendor updates and security patches. This is an extremely important part of the process given that approximately 70% of successful cyber attacks use outdated products as entry points.
Not all platforms are created equal
Fortunately, state and local agencies do not have to deal with ITAM alone. By finding a trusted partner with a robust and effective platform, governments can recoup some of that 30% when they need it most and ensure their agencies meet and exceed citizens’ expectations.
But not all ITAM platforms meet the demanding needs of local governments, which generate massive amounts of data and often rely on existing systems. For example, an ITAM provider who simply helps an agency catalog their assets is not doing enough. Instead, a platform should be able to automatically discover assets and manage their lifecycles in real time.
By using an ITAM platform that delivers up-to-date and actionable data in an automated and repeatable manner, national and local agencies can effectively manage costs and cyber risks throughout the lifecycle of their IT assets.
What does an ITAM solution look like with a good software optimization platform? He should be able to do a lot of things, including:
- Provide complete visibility into the entire enterprise software landscape
- Map software purchases, licenses, vendor SKUs, license terms, deployment, and usage by organization and user
- Automate data collection and reporting, which will reduce manual resources and improve data needed for annual budgeting efforts, better preparing agencies for supplier auditing
- Visibility into usage that can help reduce annual software license maintenance
- Ability to use existing discovery tools and have own agents to capture data gaps
Local government standing the test of time
With budgets tighter than ever after unforeseen massive spending during the pandemic, it is crucial that state and local governments know what technology is being deployed and whether it should fill security gaps or replace solutions at the end of their lifespan. effective life.
It is not simple or easy, but it is important. And with the right technology and the right private sector partners, governments can be confident that they see every IT asset in use and understand how that asset is being used and how long before it is updated or replaced.
The actions outlined above will not only save states and other local jurisdictions money, but also position them for a better, smarter and more efficient future.
Tristen Yancey is the regional vice president of the public sector for Flexera. Yancey came to Flexera through the acquisition of BDNA, where she was Director of Civilian Agencies for nine years. Prior to joining BDNA, she spent eight years in the software industry and seven years at Unisys Corp. Yancey received his MBA from American University and a BA from Dickinson College.