Seven Core Features to an Effective IT Asset Management Program

  • Posted by: Bruce Aboudara

The MoSCoW (‘must, should, could, won’t have’) analysis is a common approach to building RFPs to solicit proposals from IT Vendors. To use IT data and support efficient processes, an effective IT asset management program will be most effective if it provides most, if not all the following seven capabilities. In ascending order of importance, I would suggest the following for consideration.

These first two are foundational because if you cannot trust your data then everything that follows will be suspect.

  • Integrated Discovery Tool – Accurate baselines and ongoing status of devices is critical. This process must run in a “lights out manner,” requiring little intervention. Not only should the tool include multiple device capture methods, but it should include automatic reconciliation and normalization. Your data needs to be as fresh as possible, be on a regular cadence and directly feed asset portfolio.
  • Inventory Repository – You must have some place to store and manipulate your asset information obviously. An enterprise should be able to maintain an ongoing, automatically updated repository of assets and their use to enable historical analysis. This repository must have status management capabilities to track assets from acquisition to disposal. Further the repository must have external integration capabilities for data required but not captured by the integrated discovery processes. Equally important is that the repository must be connected to the normalization and reconciliation services in the discovery tool to process any externally collected asset data.

Operational control is of course important from a couple of dimensions. This means it should adapt to your business structure and control systems while providing significant and useful cost and usage data.

  • Decentralized Management with consolidated or centralized views – A “single pane of glass” is an essential quality but command and control must be met with operational agility. Departments, regions, districts, countries, you name it. An enterprise should be able to gather and manage their IT assets across functional and geographically dispersed environments, but with the ability to consolidate information into a centralized view.
  • Financial Analysis – The tool should be able to generate basic financial and asset usage reports to identify overall hardware and licensing costs as well as potential savings from the information collected. It does not take the place of your general ledger system or accounting system, but it must collect relevant IT asset data and make it routinely available to all the interested parties.

IT Asset Management is more than just desktops and laptops. Significant expenses are incurred for licenses and hardware to support business services and installations such as datacenters.

  • Dependency Mapping – An enterprise should be able to map service dependencies throughout its datacenter landscape from the data collected from the inventory tool.
  • Virtual Server Management – An enterprise should be able to identify and manage virtual server installations and their movement. VM migration is a key element of cost management as is understanding VM “ghost towns” that have long since stop being used.

Finally, a qualitative requirement; ease of use, adapts to your organization and is “future proofed.”

  • Intuitive to Use and Stays Up-to-Date – An enterprise should have a program that is intuitive to use, can be role-based and easy to train others in. The harder it is to understand and work with a particular program, the longer it will take to see its benefits. Equally important is not to be held hostage to expensive and time-consuming upgrades to obtain the latest functionality.

Building an effective IT asset management program is always about people, process and tools. Getting all three to work effectively together is not easy. But having a set of capabilities like those described above can improve your chances of success. Scalable’s Asset Vision® has been properly vetted by independent research groups like Info-Tech, Gartner, and EMA and possesses these 7 core capabilities. If you are interested in learning more, please visit us at www.scalable.com or request a free introductory DEMO.

Author: Bruce Aboudara

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