ROI for Network Documentation and DCIM Software

In this blog series, we’ll look at the return on investment (ROI) for network documentation and network mapping tools. We’ll go over a numerical example in this article and the next one.

Network mapping and documentation NetTerrain software can help you increase the visibility and use of your IT assets while also improving network uptime by lowering the frequency of outages and the mean time to repair them (MTTR).

Other savings may exist, such as reduced fees and penalties due to fewer downtimes or increased revenue due to better service levels, but we won’t go through these in this series because they are more difficult to estimate.

Problem: Bad IT visibility

Poor IT visibility can take various forms, but it’s frequently tied to stranded or underutilized IT assets including routers, switches, servers, power equipment, and other components. As a result, businesses all over the world are bearing the costs of establishing virtual assets and Cloud instances, which somehow wind up doing little to nothing in the background.

While there are tools to track consumption, a network mapping tool that puts it all together is required to provide enough context for you to take appropriate corrective steps and capitalize on optimization opportunities. Unused network ports and cables, as well as superfluous licenses, software, and other items, are all part of the issue.

All of this points to the obvious: a lack of accurate network inventory leads to poor IT visibility, which leads to IT waste.

Clearly, zombie IT assets raise network operation costs…but by how much? According to several surveys conducted by consulting firms like Meta and Gartner, the average small-to-medium enterprise (that lacks comprehensive network documentation) has zombie assets that consume between 10% and 40% of the deployed IT asset base. Because determining the exact percentage of your assets that may be affected is tricky, a good starting step is to establish a conservative estimate.

You can compute your approximate percentage of stranded assets using the following method:

  • To begin, determine the point at which an asset becomes inefficient, as well as a factor for underutilization.
  • Next, estimate an average cost for classes of assets and use the corresponding weight under utilization factors to calculate the space, cooling, power, and opportunity costs associated with each of these assets.

Again, this can be intimidating, hazy, and subject to prejudice, so a safer option is to select a conservative value for your underutilization ratio in relation to the total cost of the installed IT base.

How network mapping software reduces IT utilization costs

How does network mapping software help you save money on IT? A well-implemented network mapping and documentation tool can boost efficiency by 10% or more. As data is loaded or supplied into the system utilizing a technology like netTerrain Logical, inefficiencies will be avoided.

Here are a couple of samples of how netTerrain does it:

  • Exception reports are used to indicate areas of concern.
  • End-to-end circuit layout records are used to optimize cable and port reallocation during and after circuit decommissioning
  • Work order tools from netTerrain help with asset planning and change management

You can quickly observe a 10%+ improvement in IT productivity after implementing some of these methods and features.


Logical to physical mapping


Problem: Downtime

The second major expense is downtime. Due to lost income, SLA fines, poor productivity, a negative reputation, and other factors, downtime costs you money. There have been various studies on the cost of downtime: one well-known study by Gartner found that each hour of downtime in the United States costs the average company over $40,000. That’s true, there’s no extra zero there – and the research is a couple years old. In fact, if your company is in the banking or entertainment industries, that amount may be wishful thinking.

You can also calculate a cost estimate for your downtime on your own

  • Calculate the revenue loss based on annual business hours
  • Multiply by the number of hours, and then multiply by the percentage of the impact that downtime causes. According to Gartner, the typical organization has 95 hours of unproductive time every year.

In summary, poor IT mapping combined with a lack of good visual documentation leads to higher downtime, which has a direct impact on the bottom line.


How network mapping software reduces downtime

We expect that 500 businesses will have acquired netTerrain, our IT documentation software, by 2023. This has supplied us with use cases and feedback that suggest a 10% improvement in operations connected to downtime, i.e., a reduced MTTR and fewer outages.

Several capabilities of netTerrain Logical provide network insights that aid in improving such operations, including but not limited to:

  • Single points of failure can be identified using simple visualization cues and filters.
  • End-to-end circuit layout data is used to quickly identify the whole path of a service or circuit.
  • Hand drawing the circuit allows for more efficient problem solving and less trust on re making the wheel
  • To limit the impact of an outage, dependency mapping between entities is used.
  • Physical to logical network mapping
  • Key detail lookup and quick contact information


Full Circuit Layout Record


Now that we’ve identified significant areas of savings for a network documentation tool that can give a pretty quick return on investment, we’ll investigate a use case in the next article, by entering basic parameters into a ROI calculator using a conservative approach.

Please contact Trinity IT Consulting for further information or Sign up for free 14 Day Trial.