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IAM as the foundation to IT Chargeback?

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Some minutes ago I read an article from Joe McKendrick on ZDNet, headlined “Why private cloud services need to be market-priced”. Joe is just bringing up the fact, that organizations need to have their private cloud solutions priced internally to bring the cost back to their end-users and their business to provide a some numbers like for public cloud services.

He’s coming up with the following result out of surveys:

But that also means six out of 10 private cloud organizations don’t really have a way of connecting private cloud usage with specific users or departments.

So how to bridge that gap? Why not by Identity and Access Management? Having an Identity and Access Management Solution brings you into the situation of having the connection between specific users, their departments and the usage of not only cloud services. IAM should know employees user accounts in all connected systems, without taking care if those are classic systems like Active Directory, Exchange, private or public cloud systems or in the best case various file systems.

So the next step would be to calculate reasonable prices for all those services based on their typical overall cost. This is an complex process, but I’ve seen organizations going this way years before, while deploying the IT Chargeback module of my favorite IAM solution (former ActiveEntry, now Quest One Identity Manager) into their infrastructure.

So what I’ve seen in those organizations, where the process of finding reasonable prices for

  • Active Directory User Accounts
  • Exchange Mailboxes
  • a dedicated amount of mailbox size or home drive size
  • SAP User Accounts
  • dedicated IT services requested by using an access request portal

as well as the process of integrating those prices into the IAM solution and the Access Request Portal being the shopping window of the IT department towards the business.

So this could be easily extended to cloud services, public as well private ones, if they are connected to the IAM solution by direct or indirect provisioning or just the knowledge of the existence of user accounts, entitlements or resources in there.

What could be the output of that?

The output could be monthly “bill” to departments or cost-centers displaying their IT cost in the last billing period to bring the cost of IT back into the mind of business. The effect that I’ve seen in organizations having their IAM solution also being their IT Chargeback baseline was amazing: Cost-Center managers where taking notice of those bills and checking if it’s really necessary to have 35 employees in their department having access to really expensive services without having the need to. This enabled them to unsubscribe those services for dedicated users to save money on their budget. But this might have saved money also on the IT budget, for a smaller license package or whatever. So it was a win-win-situation for both sides: the IT department delivering IT services as an internal service provider and the end-users and departments while being service subscribers. And it’s also a good way to justify IT budgets transparent through organizations.

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Categories: Cloud, IAM, IT Chargeback, Strategy