Provance ITSM: IT Asset Management - Process and Best Practice
Lifecycle is what you do. Asset tracking records are about what you’ve done. Process is, of course, about how you do it. Process is the essence of IT asset management (ITAM).
It’s all about process.
Gartner Research Director Patricia Adams underscores the importance of process and tool support in managing assets through the entire lifecycle:
“ITAM depends on robust processes, with tools to automate manual processes. This data then enables organizations to effectively manage IT assets, vendors and a software and hardware asset portfolio from requisition through retirement, thus monitoring the asset's performance throughout its life cycle.”
A process is a sequence of activities and tasks for the management of assets through a particular step in the lifecycle. Effective processes are designed to achieve specific goals and objectives, take into account corporate polices, standards and procedures, and are modeled on established and proven industry best practices. Proper processes provide control, consistency and accuracy. Well defined processes that are structured, enforced and automated in a supporting tool are the foundation for IT Asset Management success.
The backbone of an ITAM program is the ability to manage assets using a consistent and well define business process that identifies the current life cycle stage of the assets. As noted by Ms. Adams, this should span the entire useful life of the asset from the first trackable moment to its ultimate disposal when the organization no longer possesses the asset. Provance ITAM delivers an industry standard ITAM life cycle process flow out of the box. This process flow may be tailored to meet your specific needs.
The quality of processes implemented in support of an IT asset management program is critical, especially for automated processes that are not under direct human supervision.
Jump ahead with best practices
Aside from the specialized ISO 19770 standards and Microsoft® SAM Optimization Model for software management, no generally recognized framework is available for IT asset management comparable to IT service management frameworks such as ITIL® (IT Infrastructure Library). There are, however, three good sources for best practices:
Effective current practices. Whether or not there is an existing IT asset management program, practices are already in place to perform the IT asset management function. In many cases, these practices have been refined over time to become more effective and better matched to organizational needs. There is no substitute for firsthand learning. Taking the time to identify, formally record and institutionalize successful methods already in place as part of the IT asset management program is the most fundamental and important source of best practices.
Industry. Research firms like Gartner, practitioner organizations like the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), publications like the ITAM Review, and ITAM events and webinars are excellent sources of best practice information. Experienced IT asset management and software asset management consultants can also provide valuable knowledge and insight.
Tools. Superior IT asset management tools integrate best practices directly to ensure tasks and activities are performed in the correct sequence, that appropriate relationships and interdependencies are taken into account, and that data is properly maintained and updated. For example, a good tool will move child assets when the parent asset location is changed or remove software assignments automatically when a hardware asset is retired.
A typical task for automation in an ITAM tool is an asset swap. This is a routine function performed frequently by support personnel replacing a defective device on a temporary or permanent basis.
Provance ITAM provides a Swap task to aid in the process of updating both affected assets with the required information. You simply find that asset that you want to swap out, invoke the swap task, and select the asset to swap in. The automation will update both assets with the appropriate information such as location, organization, and cost center assignments. This swap task process may be tailored easily to meet specific requirements.
As always, the key is to completely define the procedures required for your processes and to understand what data must be updated and when during the defined life cycle processes. With this completely documented and defined, tools like Provance ITSM can help automate the needed tasks to effectively and easily manage your assets to the level of detail needed to be successful.