Realize Tremendous Cost Savings via Optimized Endpoint Management

Realize Tremendous Cost Savings via Optimized Endpoint Management

Tivoli Beat. A weekly IBM service management perspective.

Regular readers of Tivoli Beat are well aware that endpoint management took a major step forward with the advent of the IBM Endpoint Manager family. Its smart, unified design gives IT straightforward, policy-driven oversight over as many as a quarter million endpoints—all from a single console, using a single agent.

What may not be quite so clear—but should be—is how the Endpoint Manager design also delivers impressive cost savings.

In large part, this is because the Endpoint Manager feature set is so extensive—ranging from power management to automated software rollout to virtual server security—that many different forms of cost reductions become possible as a result, some of them obvious and some subtler.

When production servers are more secure, for instance, the services they provide are more continually available. Ergo, customers can more continually utilize them in all the ways the organization intends; they will be generating revenue the entire time, instead of draining IT resources that might otherwise be spent securing hacked systems.

Similarly, when endpoint utilization can be tracked and endpoints can be powered down when they aren't needed, the savings in energy costs can be tremendous. And given the fact that energy costs are the fastest-growing of all IT costs for many organizations today, this Endpoint Manager capability alone can yield particularly impressive savings—that will only get larger the more endpoints the organization deploys.

Forrester Research: Organization deploys IBM Endpoint Manager, receives 127% ROI

"Keeping production servers up and running through updates, system reconfiguration, new software installation, and other tasks is an ongoing headache for most IT groups—and a costly one besides. IBM Endpoint Manager directly addresses this problem by empowering IT to perform virtually all such tasks remotely, automatically, and rapidly—up to and including complete rollouts of new operating systems."

But the bottom-line question remains: What kind of total cost savings might organizations realize by migrating to IBM Endpoint Manager?

Some insight on that subject comes from a recent Forrester Research study (199KB) based on a particular organization's real-world experience. Forrester found that, as expected, IBM Endpoint Manager's diverse range of capabilities and unified, policy-driven design translated into many forms of cost reductions. Added together, they yielded an impressive final result: 127% ROI over a nine-month payback period.

In a turbulent and unpredictable economy like today's, when every dollar counts, that kind of performance is bound to be attractive not just to IT managers, but also CIOs—and CFOs.

How, specifically, did these savings emerge? First, understand that the organization from the study was typical in the sense that its prior endpoint management strategy wasn't either as unified or as automated as it could be.

Instead, different tools for different platforms served different tasks, and their results had to be aggregated and analyzed by hand. Certain tasks, in fact—server maintenance, server patching, and report-generation—weren't performed by automated technology at all, but instead carried out by specific IT team members.

This situation, very common among organizations today, represents a great opportunity for improvement. Via IBM Endpoint Manager, they can:

Diverse features translate into impressive cost reductions

This, in fact, is what the organization from the Forrester Study did. The cost savings they realized as a result were estimated by Forrester as follows:

Patch delivery is a particular challenge for IT because new patches are continually being released, and should be installed on appropriate endpoints as quickly as possible... but it's difficult to establish which endpoints are appropriate, and then install them. A manual approach is relatively slow and also risks overlooking certain endpoints; this means that at any given time, an unfortunately high percentage of endpoints are always out of compliance.

Fortunately, thanks to its accelerated, automated system of endpoint assessment and problem remediation, IBM Endpoint Manager can drive that percentage down—dramatically down in many cases. At the organization studied by Forrester, in fact, it fell from 50% to 1%—a stunning improvement.

Keeping production servers up and running through updates, system reconfiguration, new software installation, and other tasks is an ongoing headache for most IT groups—and a costly one besides. IBM Endpoint Manager directly addresses this problem by empowering IT to perform virtually all such tasks remotely, automatically, and rapidly—up to and including complete rollouts of new operating systems.

Creating optimized strategies of endpoint management means being able to assess, at a glance, your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for clear improvement. At the organization studied by Forrester, 10 reports of this type were generated per month on a manual basis. Because IBM Endpoint Manager has now assumed full responsibility for this task, reports are both more accurate and more comprehensive—and the labor cost of generating them has dropped to nearly zero.

Added up, then, these savings come to a total of over $4.7 million—more than double the estimated cost of acquiring and deploying IBM Endpoint Manager in the first place.

And it stands to reason that as the number of patches to be delivered, servers to be maintained, and reports to be generated increases over time, IBM Endpoint Manager ROI (compared to the previous endpoint management approach) will increase in proportion.

Optimize energy management and drive down the electric bill

Also notable is that the Forrester study did not address the potential cost savings available via optimized energy management—but these, too, are considerable.

How does IBM Endpoint Manager help in this department? Because its intelligent agent is installed on all endpoints, and that agent reports idle time data back to the central server, the server always has accurate insight concerning when endpoints are used—and when they're not.

That insight, in turn, makes it relatively easy to create policies that power endpoints down (or put them to sleep) whenever possible. Thus, the organization can minimize both the energy endpoints consume, and the heat they generate (helping to lower energy costs in a second way, by reducing the load on HVAC units).

The IBM Endpoint Manager family actually includes a member—Endpoint Manager for Power Management—dedicated solely to this goal. Using it, organizations can:

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