IT asset management (ITAM) is the discipline of managing IT assets throughout their lifecycle. If IT service management (ITSM) is primarily concerned with the efficient delivery of quality IT services, then ITAM is primarily concerned with managing the costs and risks of using the IT assets that underpin services. Like ITSM, ITAM should be considered an on-going commitment and practice rather than a short-term project.
It’s important for the disciplines of ITAM and ITSM to be aligned within the IT department since most lifecycle stages of an asset are delivered by, or in some way interact with, the IT service desk. ITSM is the source of asset changes; and by working closely with ITAM personnel the organization can collectively help to ensure that the risks associated with changes are proactively managed.
A good ITAM practice enables IT departments to make smarter decisions, demonstrate value, and help reduce nasty surprises. In this article, I explain nine key ways in which ITAM can empower the IT department.
Better asset management data, information, and knowledge about what is being used, what is being spent, and what risks exist allows IT decision makers to make more-informed decisions based on facts. For example, if the CIO needs to manage the merger of two IT departments during an acquisition, good ITAM data allows them, and their team, to take stock and make decisions based on fact not fiction.
A key line of questioning for any IT department is related to “Are we using our IT spend efficiently?” This can include:
An effective ITAM practice provides the answers to these questions and much more.
Trustworthy ITAM data can underpin the preparation and delivery of new IT projects and upgrades. Operating system migrations, new application deployments, and hardware refreshes can all benefit by good real-time data about current configurations and asset statuses. For example, preparing an enterprise-wide move to Windows 10 will be a lot easier if you can see which assets are “capable” of using Windows 10 before you even begin the project.
A well-maintained repository of IT assets allows organizations to track installs, moves, and changes and to see if they agree with scheduled changes and IT policies. A good asset repository will also allow you to keep a history of changes for future reference. Security teams can harness ITAM data to support other security practices and identify unwanted behavior, unwanted applications, or unwanted users on the network.
This one is a no-brainer for me. In simple terms – the more you know about an end user and their IT assets, the quicker you can resolve their issue, period. IT support staff can resolve issues more quickly when they have up-to-date IT asset information (rather than old information held in ancient spreadsheets) and accurate data to support their diagnostic processes.The more you know about an end user and their IT assets, the quicker you can resolve their issue, period - @OdedMoshe Click To Tweet
Good ITAM data can be called upon to reduce risks and mistakes in the change management process (or the change control practice if you are already up on ITIL 4). For example, a request for change to servers might be approved from a delivery of service, security, and configuration management point of view – but will the change trigger an unwanted licensing cost that will adversely impact budgets?
If a self-service portal for end users is the shop window for IT, then ITAM data is the inventory and stock management for the shop. The ITAM repository should be unified with service requests to ensure costs are contained, stock is managed efficiently, and end users are supplied with the correct software and services.
If service desk analysts identify an issue being caused by a specific configuration, they can make use of ITAM data to identify users or devices that have a similar configuration and take proactive steps before the end user even knows they have an issue. This is especially useful for users and devices that fall out of the scope of high-end services and systems likely to be managed in a configuration management database (CMDB).
For example, if an end user experiences issues when using an application due to a service pack being applied – support staff can quickly identify who else has had that service pack applied and take proactive steps to reduce service issues.
Finally, ITAM helps you to contain your compliance risks.
Any hardware, software, or services you introduce into the business come loaded with regulations, use rights, and contractual terms. Even freeware and open source software has limitations to use and legal obligations to manage. All these items should be treated as assets and managed throughout their time in the business – from initial request through to retirement, destruction, or transfer of ownership.
Mismanagement of IT assets can lead to poor delivery of services, wasted budget, fines, and bad press. For example, even the simple act of buying a desktop PC for a business carries risk – the worst-case scenario is that the desktop PC ends up in a landfill site carrying company data. It’s a loaded gun of compliance risk, triggering data protection, information security, green waste regulation, and other issues.
ITAM practices allow you to understand what you have, where it is, who uses it, how it is configured, how it is used, and the value it is providing to the business. Start practicing ITAM principles today and gain control of costs, reduce risk, and enable smarter decision-making.A good #ITAM practice enables IT departments to make smarter decisions, demonstrate value, and help reduce nasty surprises. Here @OdedMoshe explains 9 key ways in which ITAM can empower the IT department. Click To Tweet