IT asset management (ITAM) is a key capability needed for any organization to manage its IT assets effectively. Put simply, ITAM is a set of proven practices that combines financial, technical, and service management functions in order to balance spending versus usage, and to support lifecycle management for IT software and hardware.
Done well, ITAM will save you time, money, and effort. To help your organization consider how best to manage its IT assets, here are my top eight benefits of ITAM and, most importantly, how to get them.
ITAM is the set of practices that helps you to manage your IT environment from a service and component level. When mapping out your ITAM process, start with your most business-critical areas. For instance, work with your IT service desk to see what’s used day-in and day-out from a software perspective. Your biggest hitters are probably the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, and SAP. Look for your biggest software outlays and prioritize getting them under control – from both a compliance and cost-management perspective – first.
And don't forget your hardware! Again from a day-to-day perspective, this will probably be desktops and laptops – and with this not only ensuring that issued inventory is being well controlled (perhaps via network monitoring and periodical audits), it’s also making sure there are enough assets in stock to deal with demand.
Ensure that all corporate software is installed from a central, authorized source. ITIL calls this a Definitive Media Library or DML. By using a DML, you can make sure that the correct version of the software, with the appropriate license, is installed for the end-user and there’s an audit trail of the deployment process.
Whereas, if support teams are using their own media (CDs or USB drives) to install software on corporate hardware assets, mistakes could be made in terms of licensing or the correct software or updates may not be installed.
If a DML is the only method of installing software, then the potential for confusion and human error is greatly reduced.
I’ve already written about the need to take care of the biggest hardware sources of service requests, desktops and laptops, but there’s other hardware that you might wish to apply ITAM to. For instance:
As before, start with the most frequently requested hardware items and build up a stock so that critical devices can be replaced at short notice. ITIL calls this a Definitive Hardware Store or DHS.
Organizations commonly have a significant discrepancy between their reported assets and what they actually have in the real world. An effective ITAM practice will give your business a clearer picture of the volume and type of assets already owned, making it easier to plan for the future.An effective #ITAM practice will give your business a clearer picture of the volume and type of assets already owned, making it easier to plan for the future - @OdedMoshe Click To Tweet
If you carry out a baselining exercise on your live environment (or at least the top five most critical services) you’ll fully understand the building blocks that make up business services such that you then have a more accurate record of what’s running in your production environment.
By knowing exactly what’s out there, it means that you can forecast more accurately and be in a stronger position come negotiation time with hardware and software vendors. Additionally, by knowing the location and business use of your hardware and software assets, you’ll also be able to highlight unused or underused assets that can be reclaimed and redirected elsewhere rather than spending money on new assets.
Increased visibility also lends itself to more effective governance. By knowing what’s on your estate you’ll have a better handle on key assets, with them less likely to be lost or misplaced. Attributes to capture when adding items to your asset register include:
Having ITAM practices and tools means quicker incident resolution. Link hardware and software services to end users such that when a customer contacts the IT service desk, all the relevant assets are visible to the person logging the incident saving time and effort.Having #ITAM practices and tools means quicker incident resolution. Here @OdedMoshe looks at this and 7 other benefits of ITAM. Click To Tweet
Having linked assets also means that the ticket is routed more effectively – meaning faster resolution times and, more importantly, that the customer is up-and-running as quickly as possible and with as little adverse impact to business operations as possible. Linking service assets to their owners also lends itself to modeling – meaning that the most commonly occurring incidents can be templated driving further efficiency and time savings.
ITAM can be used as a springboard for a service catalog. By having an agreed list of hardware and software assets you can swiftly create a service catalog for your end users.
The agreed list of assets means that everyone knows what is and isn’t in scope for BAU support – increasing transparency for support teams and the business alike. Is it just me or is there nothing worse than being on an IT service desk trying to log a ticket for someone and not knowing if what they’re raising is even supported? It can get confusing especially with the uptake of bring your own device (BYOD) policies. So, anything that sets expectations is a good idea.
You could make it actionable, transforming it from a basic service catalog to a service request catalog such that your customers can search for a product or service and then raise an incident, request, or knowledge base search from it.
No matter how great your organization’s IT service management capabilities currently are, they will definitely be even better with ITAM. There are many ways in which the synergies between ITSM and ITAM but an obvious, and important, one is the service desk’s use of ITAM data to speed up resolution times. Because a service desk analyst who has easy access to information related to the IT asset(s) associated with a reported issue is much better positioned to understand the root cause(s) and then apply the needed fix )or fixes).
You can read more about the importance of the ITAM and ITSM relationship here.
So that’s my top eight ITAM benefits – what would you add to my list? Please let me know in the comments!