It’s day five of Christmas in July, which means we are nearly halfway done with our content giveaway.
Did you know that if you download any of our content during this celebration, you’re automatically entered to win a $100 Google Play gift card? That’s a whole lot of movies, eBooks, and apps for you to be enjoying this summer – seems like a no-brainer to us! Anyways, back to the blog…
Today we’re asking the big questions: What makes a successful IT Asset Management program? Or, if we want to go back a step further, what is Asset Management, and why does it matter?
IT Asset Management is the system through which an enterprise joins financial, contractual, and inventory functions to support lifecycle management and strategic decision-making for the IT environment. These include Hardware Assets (or Real Assets) such as computers, heavy equipment, machinery, and data centers. Then there are Software Assets, also known as Virtual Assets. Contrasting the physical nature of Hardware Assets, Virtual or Software Assets include email accounts, software licenses, and any virtual machines.
The management of these assets is essential to any enterprise, and mistakes can result in significant unplanned expenses.
A modern ITAM solution allows organizations to consolidate legacy systems into one system of record and automate the full asset lifecycle. Organizations looking to deploy Asset Management applications are often transitioning from stand-alone ITAM and Software Asset Management (SAM) point solutions to a fully integrated suite of applications, sharing a common interface and database.
A successful Asset program saves money and increases utilization by avoiding unplanned expenses and reducing overall asset management efforts. Not to mention, the program provides critical visibility to help you make more insightful business decisions.
So, how do you create both a modern and successful Asset Management program? One that is flexible enough to grow with your company, but structured and robust enough to withstand daily use? Well for one, you build your Asset program onto a platform that is already embedded across your IT landscape and enterprise processes so that you are continuously able to optimize.
To help you with this, check out our set of Asset Management Slides, walking you through what a complete ITAM program looks like.
Getting The Most Value Out Of ITAM
Even if, for a second, you forget about standard features and functions, this transformation alone, from legacy systems to a cohesive platform, opens the doors to incredible value – data and processes will be merged together onto one existing platform to achieve even greater business value. Still can’t picture it? Here are three potential IT Asset Management (ITAM) combinations;
- ITAM and Workflow. Having your ITAM on the ServiceNow platform offers the ability to use the graphical workflow editor to automate activities together with other processes. This can include something as simple as notifying a purchasing group to replenish low stock, or something more advanced like identifying when unauthorized software has been installed and providing instructions to correct the violation.
- ITAM and Service Catalog. Organizations offer all types of goods and services through service catalogs. Standard asset models and product bundles make it easy to create a smarter service catalog.
- ITAM and Analytics. The built-in metrics and reporting engine make it easy to access and analyze any piece of information throughout ServiceNow. Any authorized person can create reports and dashboards, removing the need for specialized report administrators.
So, what about this continuous optimization? Despite its buzzword connotation, optimization is critical to your ITAM success – but, it is not a finish line you can cross. It is a constantly ongoing process, consistent small tasks, and improvements that reduce your company spend and increase efficiency. Specific to ITAM, optimization means transitioning from collecting and inputting data and generating reports to automating the decision processes.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Saving money and increased company efficiency is actually only one reason why SAM should be a C-level imperative. The material risk of being audited by software publishers and the resource disruption it causes has never been greater. Software license management is no small task. Organizations struggle to distinguish what software is where and how much of it there is throughout its lifecycle. Identifying deployed software that is accurately mapped to entitlement rights purchased is complicated due to complex licensing models across thousands of software titles.
Compounding this problem is the mandate that IT departments must reduce year-over-year software spend, while still using the same outdated tools and processes. In this environment, it is almost impossible to identify savings opportunities because IT doesn’t have the resources or capacity to meet even the most basic requirements and expectations. By getting executive buy-in from the beginning, your Asset Management teams will receive the support they need to make a difference in your organizations.
Measuring Your ServiceNow Asset Management Readiness
To start your ServiceNow Asset Management program, you need to know your baseline – where your company stacks up in maturity based on the ability to complete four critical steps.
1. Find and track all hardware and software assets in your environment. If you don’t know what you own, or where your IT assets are actually located, then you have no idea what your technology is costing you.
These discoveries can be lucrative. You may find that you have outdated equipment in data centers that should be replaced, or your computers are running on out-of-support operating systems like Windows 7, leaving your company vulnerable to possible viruses and expensive downtime.
To streamline your tracking process, it’s especially useful to leverage either an automated tool, like Discovery or an integration with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), to load Assets into a macro-level enterprise system, such as ServiceNow.
As you get started on your Asset Management journey, you might want to start small and pick one category that looks like low-hanging fruit to begin your asset management categorization. For example, you could just look at all your hardware assets, or pick a single software category, perhaps starting with Microsoft or Adobe, or pick a more expensive software only used by a small user base.
2. Develop rules of the road to improve your asset forecasting. Establishing a clear policy here can help you control costs. As you can imagine, ordering laptops in a large volume order might be cheaper than purchasing just one from Amazon. In addition to Hardware rules, you also want to have software processes in place when people request software, change roles, or leave the company.
Other policies that impact asset forecasting include actions that determine how often you refresh assets in your environment. Most companies have a strategy in place to immediately replace assets due to theft or disrepair. More sophisticated programs develop a long-term Asset Refresh strategy that takes into account your firm’s hiring strategy and other business conditions. Remember, you want to remove old assets from your environment before they become too costly to maintain.
You will also want to determine what to do with legacy equipment. Many firms opt to repurpose older equipment in less critical roles, for example, as a lobby registration machine, a donation to charity, or they may sell older assets.
3. Look to improve efficiency and asset optimization. Once you can confidently look at a clear matrix of all your IT assets in-house, take the time to search for trends and opportunities for savings. One interesting report you can run looks for any hardware or software models that consistently report issues in your environment. Another helpful report tracks the number of devices per user per department. Maybe some non-power users don’t need both a desktop and laptop or, conversely, you could save time and efficiency (and turnover costs) by giving a developer a more powerful laptop.
The key here is to think logically about how you are allocating assets and look for places to improve that approach.
4. Get Secure and keep an eye out for compliance issues. Once you have an accurate Asset inventory, you can develop Software and Hardware policies designed to minimize security risk, audit risk, and maintenance costs.
These should include internal policies to determine what technology is approved for your environment, or what is not, and to track accountability of actual usage against those standards. Your Asset Security Policies can take the form of creating a standard image for employee workstations based on role, prohibiting the installation of software not marked as “Certified” in ServiceNow, and recycling equipment at the end of the Warranty period.
Based on these four steps, take a minute to honestly assess where your Asset Management stands today. Asset readiness is a combination of your current activities and implementations layered with capabilities, maturity, and sophistication. Once you have your baseline, you can work with your team or strategic partner to develop a phased roadmap implementation plan. As a bonus, we’re giving away this slide deck, based on our most recent Asset Management webinar.