Blog Series: ITAM in a perfect world. Post #2 The Deploy Process
Last week’s blog talked about the pivotal Receive process, which just happens to be one of the most challenging. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on the subject.
In this week’s post, I’ll be talking about the Deploy process, one of the 5 fundamental ITAM processes. In the following weeks we’ll examine the Manage, Retire and Dispose processes.
The Deploy process is pretty straight forward. So…
In a perfect world
The Deploy process is initiated from a request for a new IT Asset (hardware or software) or to replace an existing IT Asset (break/fix or refresh). The necessary resources are engaged to physically install the asset as required, based on the type of IT asset that’s deployed. When done, the IT Asset inventory is updated with information provided on the request.
Sounds easy, however it does have its own set of challenges. The reality is that the deploy process is often overlooked and the integrations that are needed to gather the ITAM data required to manage the IT Asset throughout its lifecycle are assumed. To “assume” makes an a.. … … I’ll let you finish that one!
Let’s look at the real world
As with all other processes, the Deploy process will need to be clearly defined and have supporting ITAM policies. The associated step by step procedures (specific to each type of IT Asset you are managing) will inform participants what information needs to be gathered and why. A lack of structure in the deploy process will make it difficult to automate. Again, stakeholder collaboration comes into play during the deploy process as IT Service Management (ITSM), IT Configuration Management (ITCM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) are involved.
The Deploy process’ major challenge is making sure the ITAM information, which will be used throughout its lifecycle, is captured accurately. Failure to do so will mean added costs when it needs to be serviced or when it comes time to reclaim it (end-of-life, no longer used, no longer needed, etc.).
You will need to identify, from the IT Asset inventory, which IT Hardware Assets and Software Assets are being deployed and potentially which ones are being replaced. At this time, if the IT Assets are not in the inventory, you’ve definitely got a Receive process problem. You’ll also need to identify where the IT Assets are going and who they are being assigned to. You could rely on discovery to get this information later, but you shouldn’t! (see next week’s blog post). To make reporting easier later on down the road, you may also want to capture when the asset was deployed if it isn’t readily available.
If the deployment is not initiated from a request, the deployment information will need to be captured by other means so the IT Asset inventory can be updated (see “Getting Data In” in last week’s blog post).
For the IT Asset inventory to be updated with information coming from the request, both systems (request and ITAM) need to be able to communicate and speak the same language. Integration is pretty straight forward and can be made easy through sharing the same platform’s connectors, APIs or direct data exchanges (i.e. Microsoft SCSM, ServiceNow, BMC etc.).
If your request and ITAM solutions don’t come from the same vendor, or even if they do, be prepared to spend additional effort putting these integrations in place.
You will also need to make sure the integrated systems speak the same language and the shared information is compatible. Hardware and Software catalog items referenced on a request must correspond to equivalent IT Assets found in the IT Asset inventory (type, make, model, software title, software version) so that available IT Assets can automatically be used to fulfill the request. Additionally, user, cost center, organization, location information referenced by the request must also correspond to the same type of information referenced in the IT Asset inventory so it can be kept up to date. Not always easy especially when the source of this type of information resides outside of Service Management and IT Asset Management.
Funny how it always comes back to the Key Success factors: organizational commitment, people, process, good data and technology. Before you get go too far down the path trying to automate the deploy process, make sure you have the fundamentals in place so that you can produce realistic results based on your level of ITAM maturity.
Until next week’s post – the MANAGE process in a perfect world.
Happy first week of September,