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Blog Series: ITAM in a perfect world. Post #3 The Manage Process

Blog Series: ITAM in a perfect world. Post #3 The Manage Process

Do You Believe in Magic

Do you remember that song, “Do you believe magic?” by the Lovin’ Spoonful? In this third installment, we’ll look at the Manage process, where keeping asset data up to date is far from an act of magic.

At this stage of the IT Asset’s lifecycle, your major concern should be realizing the true value of your IT Assets. To do this you will need to make sure the information you’ve gathered so far remains accurate and that you continue to consistently capture the necessary information to meet overall business and operational objectives. This may include keeping track of all the costs relating back to the IT Asset (Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)), the usage information (maximized hardware and software use), how the asset is being used and what service package it is part of (IT as a Service (ITaaS)).

In a perfect world…

During the Manage process, all IT Asset activities are reported and changes captured. Requests for IT services are fulfilled and changes to the IT Asset landscape are magically updated in the IT Asset repository. Systems and stakeholders work together to ensure that a clear picture of IT is maintained so operational and business decisions are made with positive impact on the business. After all, the reason that IT exists is ultimately for the betterment of the business (for profit or not)!

Do you believe in magic?
Take a feel good moment before we continue…

ahhhhhhhh, the 60’s!

Let’s get back to reality!

Some of the challenges I discussed in the previous posts in this series (Receive and Deploy processes), exist here too:

  • Collaboration amongst stakeholders
  • Clearly defined processes with supporting policies and step by step procedures leading to partial or complete automation
  • Getting data in
  • System integration

You will encounter other challenges that will be the focus of future blog posts, for example process improvement and getting data out (reporting).

RAPA - ITAM Best Practices - Manage Process
Once an asset is deployed, the difference between asset tracking and asset management becomes more evident.

Many rely merely on discovery tools to keep track of their assets and to tell them where the asset are and who’s using them. But, maybe they shouldn’t! Why?

Not all IT Assets can be discovered! Or can they?

  • Traditionally, IT Assets needed to be connected to the network to be discovered. So what happens to IT Assets before they’re deployed and after they’ve been reclaimed (or retired)? Limbo…
  • Forget about the many types of IT Asset that are connected to the network but not discoverable (printers) or not connected to the network at all (projectors).
  • There are other ways of discovering assets like using RFID tags, but this too also has its challenges. An RFID tag has to be stuck to each IT Asset (Receive process). And the RFID range is typically 25 feet under ideal conditions meaning it will have to come within reach of the RFID scanner (mobile or stationary)
  • If discovery tools can reliably discover a percentage of your managed IT assets, let’s say 80% on a good day. Then the information is only, at most, 80% accurate. That 80% is reduced further if you consider the frequency at which the IT Assets are discovered and the freshness of the information for those assets that are not in an active network connected state, etc.
  • Discovery doesn’t provide enough detail (yet) to fully manage your IT Assets. Track those that are discoverable, sure! But not manage them.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) information should work together with discovery data to effectively manage the asset to its true value. The same can be said for service management data and operations data. ITAM and SAM manage the business data and the technical tools manage the technical data.

In order to truly manage your IT Assets after deployment and before return or retirement, important information about the IT Asset needs to be captured during this phase and much of it is beyond what discovery provides.

Always stay focused on the business and operational objectives that your manage process is in place to support and ensure you have the information you need from all of the systems and people in IT to be effective.

Next post, the Retire Process.

Lovin’ Spoonful image courtesy Sony Music Entertainment