Gartner Weighs In on Endpoint Power Management

Yesterday, Gartner released some studies about endpoint power management.  The first, “When to Consider Commercial PC Power Management Tools” is a good general guide to the subject, while the second, “PC Power Management Tools Market Update, 2009” does an in-depth look at the tools available on the market.  I invite you to download these reports via the Gartner web site.  Triumfant is pleased to be one of the tools assessed in the study and proud of what we believe to be a positive evaluation.

In both the wider study and the product update the Gartner Analyst, Terry Cosgrove, notes that power management is becoming an integrated element of broader offerings.  We at Triumfant believe that this is a logical evolution and will be the path to broader adoption of endpoint power management (see “What’s Next for IT Power Management for the Endpoint” ).  With all due respect to the other vendors that have point offerings, it just makes sense that Power Management would be a logical extension of existing tools for compliance and configuration on the desktop.  For Triumfant, Power Management literally uses 300 of the 200,000 attributes we track, the power policies are easily represented in our policy management processes, and our analytical capability allowed us to add some compelling capabilities to our Wake-on-LAN functionality.   The customer gets the capabilities they need without adding an additional agent or introducing a new management console.

Let me give you an analogy.  You own an office building and you know that turning off lights throughout the building when most offices are vacant will save you money.  You could hire someone to come in every day at 6pm and go office to office turning off every light.  But the cost of the extra person would greatly impact if not eliminate the savings.  Then it hits you – you already have someone who comes in at 6pm and goes office to office.  So you make it a new duty of the cleaning staff to turn off all lights on their way out of an office.  It is a very small fraction of their responsibilities and capabilities, and requires no additional costs or infrastructure.

Furthermore, broader offerings tend to have well developed reporting capabilities, which we have found to be a strong requirement with prospects.  As Terry Cosgrove points out in his studies, the people implementing and funding power management rarely see power bills, so they need actionable reports to show the return on investment.  In fact we find ourselves speaking with organizations that already have power management software but are looking for better reporting, specifically to show the ROI.

I think the path is clear, and power management just makes too much sense to ignore.  The disconnect is not technical but political, as the people that pay the bill are often completely disconnected from the IT staff that would procure, deploy, and manage the software.  It is up to companies to encourage and incent the IT staff to look for tools that have integrated power management and implement the policies to make it work.

What’s Next for IT Power Management for the Endpoint

IT Power Management, particularly for endpoint computers, faces a very interesting conundrum. Think back to the summer when the economy was teetering, but had not yet completely imploded, and gas was over $4 a gallon. It did not take a lot of effort to get people engaged in a discussion about saving money by turning off PC’s at night. Fast forward to today, with gas at dipping below $2, unemployment reaching 10%, and budgets and staff being slashed. Not surprisingly, power management is a much harder sell.

But the fact remains that it is an enormous waste of energy to leave a PC on at night. Not to mention that even with conservative cost savings of $20 per PC per year – beware of vendors using Honolulu kilowatt rates in their ROI calculators – the product easily pays for itself in the first year.

The obvious answer is that endpoint power management won’t likely survive as a standalone product set and will gain real adoption when it is integrated into broader solutions that perform compliance and configuration oriented tasks on endpoint machines.

For Triumfant, adding power management was a seamless and logical extension of our capabilities. Power management encompasses an extremely small set of attributes compared to what we normally monitor (300 out of 200,000) and by adding the appropriate policies and reports and integrating controls for standard functionality such as Wake-on-LAN to our configuration and remediation functionality, Triumfant has the features and functions of the point solutions. The bottom line is that you get the functionality and the cost savings without having to introduce a point product, a new console, and the costs of ramping up the support staff.

But wait, there’s more: the hard ROI from implementing power management can pay for the costs of a much broader set of functionality, giving organizations a huge advantage when vying for budget dollars. Think about it – an actual win/win scenario that even contributes to the greater good. Put in that perspective, endpoint power management may just have a chance after all.