IT Asset Management: Unlock Modern Asset Management: How to Link Configuration Items and Purchase Records in Provance ITAM
Fundamental to effective and modern Hardware Asset Management program is the creation of an asset registry. An asset registry is a list of the assets that an organization or department owns as well as a list of asset-related attributes within that same organization or department. An asset registry should be a living and breathing thing, constantly updated with real-time information, so you can make the best decisions with the most accurate information.
An asset registry can be used to:
- Track the location of an asset and its usage
- Track agreements associated with assets
- Manage software locations, licenses and usage
- Associate assets to tickets, thereby developing a history and understanding problem assets (if using Provance ITSM)
- Understand when to replace assets to reduce issues and provide up-to-date platforms for employees
A typical asset registry will contain the procurement records (purchases, leases, loners), as well as location, user and cost events over the assets’ entire life cycle from request (before procurement) to its disposal or return.
One of the first steps then to creating an asset registry is to reconcile what you have purchased to what is installed and discovered within your environment. This can be done through a manual inventory or by using a discovery tool, such as System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) or Azure Intune. Today, I’m going to walk you through the process using SCCM.
Before I begin though, I’d like to emphasize the importance of accuracy when it comes to your asset registry as you’ll make better decisions with accurate information. Even though in this scenario I’ll be showing you this process as if it’s the very first time, you should conduct periodic reconciliations and consider this an ongoing process to ensure accuracy.
How to Link Configuration Items to Purchase Records in Provance ITAM
In this scenario, we work at XYZ company and we’re going to start with a packing list of computers purchased from our supplier, which we have in a simple Excel file.
Step 1: Use the Dynamics Import function to load Assets into Provance ITAM. But before we take that first step, we must first prepare the file. Let’s remove the header section leaving just the column headers. The name field is mandatory on an Asset. The Dynamics Import tool does not allow a column to be mapped to more than one destination field, so let’s duplicate the Serial Number column and label it Name. This way we can use Serial Numbers for both Name and Serial Number. We’re also going to add two more columns, label them Hardware Asset Type and Asset Class and fill them with Computer and Laptop. Notice the Supplier column contains the value “CDW”, this will be mapped to an Account that already exists in our demo environment.
Since the Dynamics Import will only create records from a CSV, save the file as a CSV, if you open the newly saved file in a text editor it will look like this:
Now we need to ensure the Dynamics Import tool will not create duplicate assets by creating a duplicate detection rule on the Asset Serial Number. The reason to make a rule, as opposed to just making sure the spreadsheet contains no duplicates, is to avoid issues over multiple imports.
Step 2: From Settings select Data Management.
Then click on Duplicate Detection Rules.
Enter the name of “Assets with the same Serial Number”, set the Base Record Type to “Asset”, the Field to “Serial Number” and Criteria to “Exact Match”. Save the rule, and then select Publish.
Now we are ready to import our data.
Step 3: From Settings / Data Management select Imports.
Then select Import Data.
The Import wizard will be shown, browse to the PackingList.csv that we created above.
Select Next to review the file settings.
Select Next, with “Default (Automatic Mapping)” selected.
Change the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Record Types to “Asset” and select Next.
The Import Wizard will map most of the fields, except Date, Price and Process State.
Map the Price source field to “Cost”, the Date source field to “Received Date” and Process State source field to “Life Cycle Stage”. Click Next.
Click Next on the Review Mapping Summary page.
Enter CDW Packing List in the Data Map Name so we can use this import for the next set of computers received from CDW. Click Submit.
As you can see under My Imports, the import is now completed.
Step 4: Now that we are finished the import, we should review it and make sure there were no errors. Return to Asset Management and select Assets to review the imported data.
Step 5: The Computers discovered by SCCM represent the “what is installed” part of our Asset Management Strategy. We will import them as Device CI’s using Provance Service Platform. Run the Create Gateway Instance program to configure the Config Man Gateway.
Select Config Man Gateway Instance.
Enter an Instance Name and Description, then select the Master-Post2012-SCCMDevice.xml
From the Template File drop down.
Enter the name of the Account you want the devices associated with.
Enter the connection information for the SCCM database.
Select the collection.
Enter the connection information for Provance ITAM.
Based on your requirements schedule the Gateway to run at an appropriate time. If running other Gateways consider scheduling them at different times (I.e. the AD Gateway should be run first if you want to link Contacts and Devices), if you have other nightly jobs that impact SCCM or Provance ITAM, schedule the Config Man Gateway at another time.
In our example we will schedule it to run every day at 2am.
Click on Create and wait until the next scheduled run time to review the data.
This completes the process of linking your purchased assets to the devices discovered in your environment for Provance ITAM, using the information discovered via SCCM.
To view the results of our work, view the Device CIs created. As you can see the Asset has been linked by serial number (the serial number was used as the asset name in the initial import).
An additional benefit of this approach to starting with procurement data and adding discovery data is that it allows asset managers to determine assets purchased but no longer discovered or assets discovered that we don’t know about.
On the completion of the process, discovery data will now be linked to assets and users (contacts). As employees contact the service desk, the assets assigned to each user can be kept up-to-date, likewise the organization and location can be maintained. As assets are stored or returned, sent out for repair, re-assigned and so on, the asset registry data continues to be maintained, making it easier for asset managers to know how an asset is being used. If you are using Provance ITSM, it also helps the service desk staff by having accurate asset data linked to users when issues arise.
And finally, as assets are disposed, a historical record with all the details across its entire life cycle is available, which will let asset managers make more cost-effective decisions regarding the procurement of assets moving forward.