Controlling the System

How many systems does your company use? Who manages and owns each system? How much are the systems costing you each year and when was the last time you did a user audit review across your business?

Lack of answers to these questions is a common problem across most companies. When your just starting out and there are just a handful of you an no money, systems management seems like an overkill, but as you grow and new people join and bring in all the systems they used in their previous job (as we all do) the number of systems you have to managed becomes a spaghetti mess very quickly.

So how do you untangle the mess and get back to a manageable order?

Well firstly you need to collate a list of all systems in use within your company (master list / register) and nominate an owner for each of these systems - sometimes easier said than done…

Each System record should contain as much information as you can get, and most importantly should be linked to a vendor, as that is where the contract will live (if a paid system).

Once you have the System record complete, the next stage is to identity who use the system - this is where you can cull a few unused systems! By contacting the nominated System Owner (sometimes inherited through the Business Area that the System belongs to) you quickly find out if the system is in use an who is using it.

When you have names of users, simply add them as related records to the system. Those with no obvious users, get marked with a pending archive status and eventually removed after a set period of time.

Now you have a semi comprehensive list of systems and have matched up users against those systems, but don't stop there. Your next task is to check with your finance team, to see if they have any bills (invoices) for systems not on your list and if your lucky the cost of systems already on your list.

By adding actual or estimated costs to each system, you can then be more assured of accuracy in your next round of technology budget projections. Each paid system usually has a cost per head / per month or volumetric costing. By adding in this information for each paid System you can then easily roll-up the total system cost by business unit through reporting.

Going back to the associated system Vendor record, now that you have an account for vendors you can now store copies of the contracts that you have signed with these vendors. You can also capture any support information and lift out key features from the signed contract such as expiry date, renewals etc....

Now you will be warned before the vendor that a contract renewal is due and this should give you the time to decide if you want to continue using the system or to let it expire as no one is using it.