A survey of 503 IT professionals published today finds 53% of IT teams report challenges gaining or maintaining complete visibility of technology investments.

Conducted by Flexera, the survey finds approximately two-thirds of respondents feel they have an accurate view of their on-premises software (67%), on-premises hardware (65%) and cloud instances (64%). SaaS usage has less visibility (54%), and only 19% have confidence in their usage of bringing your own licenses (BYOL).

On the plus side, more than three quarters of respondents (77%) work for organizations that now have a FinOps team made up of finance and IT professionals that collaboratively work toward reining in IT costs.

Nearly three quarters (72%) also work for organizations that now have a team that centrally manages cloud computing.

In addition, the report finds that IT asset management teams are working more closely with the rest of the IT organization, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents reporting these teams now have a significant IT infrastructure and operations team, or an IT services management (ITSM) team (63%).

Brian Adler, senior director for cloud market strategy for Flexera, said increased levels of collaboration indicate that IT organizations are managing platforms in a more cohesive fashion, but while organizations are bringing the right teams together, there is clearly much work to be done. That’s especially critical as organizations deploy more workloads in cloud computing environments that are more dynamic than a traditional on-premises IT environment, he added.

For example, 37% of respondents said wasted spending on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service PaaS) environments increased last year. That compares to 41% that said wasted spending on software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications also increased. More than half (57%) are now tracking SaaS application usage, with 38% reporting they expect to significantly increase their focus on SaaS application usage over the next three years.

Similarly, more than a third (35%) said wasted spending on data center software increased, while slightly more (38%) also identified wasted spending on desktop software.

Well more than a third (37%) said finding ways to optimize software usage remains a significant challenge, followed closely by dealing with new environments (36%) and the complexity of software vendor usage rights (35%).

Survey respondents also noted Microsoft (50%), IBM (42%), Oracle (31%) and ServiceNow (20%) are the vendors that have launched an audit of their IT environments in the last three years. Nearly a quarter (22%) said they have incurred more than $5 million in audit costs over the past three years.

Survey respondents at the same time remain focused on maximizing return on investments in hardware. Almost all (95%) organizations have some plan for aging hardware, with 63% planning on recycling. More than half (53%) also plan on longer retention periods, while 51% plan to refurbish/reuse hardware. In fact, managing hardware assets more efficiently is now a major part of the sustainability strategies organizations are adopting, noted Adler.

Optimizing IT spending is, of course, a task that even in the age of artificial intelligence (AI) will never be fully accomplished. However, as progress continues to be made, the simpler it becomes to justify not just existing investments but future ones as well.