platform, cloud costs, finops, cloud spending, asset tracking, fines

More than half of IT teams face difficulties in gaining or maintaining complete visibility of their technology investments while nearly a quarter of global IT leaders reported paying more than $5 million in audit costs over the past three years, a significant increase from 15% in 2023. 

These were among the chief results of a Flexera global survey of 503 IT professionals, which revealed rising costs from software audits is also a major concern.

About two in 10 (22%) of respondents indicated they had paid more than $5 million due to audits in the past three years, up from 15% the previous year, and the number of those spending over $10 million almost doubled from 7% to 12%. 

Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Salesforce were the leading vendors for conducting audits across the past three years, with Adobe and ServiceNow close behind. 

Brian Adler, Flexera’s senior director of cloud market strategy said the report highlights a notable opportunity for improvement, noting IT teams face challenges in achieving or maintaining complete visibility of their technology investments.

“This highlights a persistent and significant visibility gap that can impact decision-making and resource allocation,” he said. 

Despite ongoing efforts to optimize IT budgets, wasted IT spending remains alarmingly high, estimated between 20% and 30%.

Even advanced IT asset management (ITAM) practitioners estimate 30% wasted spend on desktop software, 22% on data center software, 21% on infrastructure as a service/platform as a service (IaaS/PaaS), and 20% on SaaS software. 

The survey results indicated that although visibility into IT spend is improving, significant gaps remain, particularly in SaaS usage.

Adler explained one major factor contributing to this visibility gap is siloed teams and systems. 

“While ITAM and FinOps tools and processes have improved visibility, only about two-thirds of respondents feel they have an accurate view of their on-premises software, on-premises hardware and cloud instances,” Adler said. 

However, only 54% have a clear view of their SaaS usage, and a mere 19% feel confident in their Bring Your Own License (BYOL) posture.

“The rapid adoption and proliferation of SaaS applications also add to the list of complexities,” Adler added.

He noted SaaS applications often have complex and varied licensing models, so that contributes to difficulties in gaining any sort of clear visibility in SaaS subscriptions.

Esben Dochy, senior technical product evangelist at Lansweeper called a complete and accurate inventory of IT the “foundation” for any IT team.

“Most processes that an IT team works on rely on this information,” he said.

Examples include software asset management, license compliance, risk management, incident response, lifecycle management, regulatory compliance, proactive maintenance, CMDB maintenance and ITSM efficiency.

“All of these processes rely on accurate and complete data,” Dochy said. 

He explained the most crucial step IT teams can take to improve visibility into their technology investments is to get a dedicated discovery tool that has discovery as its core focus.

“Many solutions offer a discovery module; however, these are often afterthoughts and do not provide accurate and complete insights in all IT devices,” he said. “It’s critical to integrate your discovery with your existing tech stack.”

Deployment or endpoint management tools, ITSM tools, CMDB tools, SIEM and SOAR tools and more all benefit from having access to accurate and complete IT device information. He cautioned incomplete inventories can cause a multitude of issues when it comes to compliance.

“Firstly, it can make becoming compliant much harder or impossible if you’re not able to provide adequate proof for specific controls,” he said.

If an organization passes a compliance check with an incomplete inventory, it can create a false sense of security, as there may be devices in the environment that aren’t compliant, without the IT team’s knowledge.

“This can significantly increase the risk an organization is facing,” Dochy said. 

Adler said CIOs should be particularly concerned about the lack of comprehensive visibility into technology assets, as it leads to overspending on technology, increased cybersecurity and compliance risks, degraded ITSM data quality, and slower growth initiatives. 

“Implementing robust IT asset management tools is crucial for real-time tracking and monitoring of IT assets, providing detailed reporting and analytics to help identify gaps and optimize resource usage,” he said. 

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