Computer on Desk

Managing the Database: Hardware Asset Management In ServiceNow

If you’ve been charged with your business’s Hardware Asset Management there are probably a handful of reoccurring questions that keep you up at night.

  • What Assets do we have?
  • Where are they?
  • What Assets are In Stock vs Deployed?
  • What did they cost?
  • Who is responsible for them?
  • How are we using them? Who is using them?

Once you know these answers, you’ll be able to manage budget planning, support, and service for the Assets. With a solid Hardware Asset Management solution, Assets can be managed more effectively, distributed where needed, and extra costs avoided by redeploying unused Assets. In addition, a good Hardware Asset Management practice enables and integrates with future items such as Software Asset Management, which focuses on answering the same questions but is also focused on software licenses, usage, and compliance.

Hardware Asset Management in ServiceNow can provide a wealth of information and value to the business.

However, it does take a bit of effort to keep the Asset records up to date.

There are many out-of-box (OOB) fields on an Asset record but which ones are important?  Some of them?  All of them? Why maintain all these fields?  It is a lot of work, what does it do for me? What does it enable?  For example, “Asset Tag”, “Model”, and “Serial Number” are just a few of the fields available.

“Everything counts in large amounts…”  – Depeche Mode

Some fields are absolutely necessary, others are more “nice to have”, but in all cases, it is important to fill them out correctly and consistently. Moreover, if you expect to report on or use a field to make decisions across Assets, you must fill that field out on ALL Assets. Failure to do this can cost many hours of rework, bad business decisions, and loss of faith in the accuracy of the Asset database.

The must-have Hardware Asset fields:  Serial Number, Model, Model Category

A Hardware Asset record that has a corresponding configuration item (CI) record, such as a Computer, Server, or Network Router, must have an accurate Serial Number and Model. The Model holds many details, but the Model Category will determine the CI Class. Each of these fields represents attributes that do not change throughout the life of the Asset.

A Hardware Asset that is a Consumable item, such as a mouse or keyboard, will not have a corresponding CI and therefore will not need a Serial Number tracked.

Hardware Asset Management General Screenshot

What comes after the ‘Big 3’ in ServiceNow?

Now that we know we need the “Big 3” of Serial Number, Model, and Model Category, what other fields are important?

On the General tab, we see “Asset Tag”, which is another attribute that, once it is assigned, should not be changed throughout the life of the Asset. Most of the other items help reference users, groups, Location, etc.

The State and Substate are very important for tracking the lifecycle of the Asset, so much so that they could have their own article! Stockrooms and Stock Rules go along with the States and Substates to help manage Inventory and replenish levels to prevent delays or shortages in providing equipment.

(The intersection of the Asset and CI lifecycle will be shown in a few paragraphs, stay tuned!)

ServiceNow Hardware Asset Management Screenshot

Financial

The GL (general ledger) account, Cost Center, Acquisition Method, and Expenditure types help identify the accounting aspect. Reporting or filtering on these fields can provide notification to other groups or evidence for future analysis or conditions for business rules for Leases, Rentals, or other special cases.

For example:  If the Expenditure Type is “Lease” it is a simple matter to find all the items that are Leased and group by the Cost Center to see which areas are leasing equipment.  (Contract Management would provide details about exactly which Lease Contract contains which items)

If Requests for Hardware Assets are fulfilled in your ServiceNow instance, the Request Line, Purchase Order Line, and Receiving Line will all be populated.  This provides an excellent way to capture the Asset from the initial Request through Receiving activities

Once the Asset is Deployed, the Configuration Item (CI) lifecycle takes over until the Asset reaches Retirement.  Once Retired, now the final phase of “Disposal” occurs.

Intersection of Asset and CI lifecycle infographic

Disposal

Disposal is something usually seen where Asset Management processes have matured and companies are focused on ensuring proper disposal practices as well as the evidence of those activities.  Disposal vendors typically provide certificates of disposal which could be linked to or attached to the Asset record.

Scheduled Retirement date and the Retired date are very helpful to predict the useful life of the Asset and data to analyze how accurate those predictions are.

Hardware Disposal Screenshot

Depreciation

Depreciation may be calculated via various methods or a new method may be defined. The Depreciation effective date, any Salvage value, as well as Residual information, may be tracked. This information is very useful not only for financial tracking but may be used in determining whether an Asset should be repaired or simply disposed of.

Hardware Depreciation Screenshot

Contracts

Contract Management is a much more detailed discussion than would fit in this brief article, but the Contracts tab does allow entering a number to a Lease Contract, Warranty expiration, and references who to call for support.

Assets covered by a contract are shown for easy reference. This can be very useful for Incident purposes such as when a laptop needs repair and the cost to repair may exceed the remaining book value of the Asset (shown on the Depreciation tab)…but might be covered by a warranty or repair contract.

Contract Management Screenshot

Entitlements

Software that is entitled directly to the Hardware Asset can be shown. These are allocated via the Software Asset Management processes. In addition to knowing what software is entitled to a device, this list of software should be harvested when disposing of a device. Please, don’t throw software away with the computer or server!

Hardware Asset Entitlements

  • Serial Number, Model, Model Category. Provides uniquely identifiable information for the Hardware Asset (non-Consumable)
  • State, Substate. Tracks the Asset throughout the Lifecycle.
  • Request Line, Purchase Order Line, Receiving Order Line. Provides the Request and Financial history.
  • Scheduled Retirement, Retirement Date. Allows planning for Asset retirement and measuring it.
  • Depreciation, Effective Date. Provides Residual information for planning Asset refresh and cost-effective Servicing of the Asset.
  • Warranty Expiration, Contracts. Identifies warranty end and contact information for support, repair, etc.
  • Entitlements. Enabled by Software Asset Mgmt (SAM) processes and provides many benefits, including identifying items to “harvest” during the Disposal of a Hardware Asset.
  • Tracking Inventory. Keeping the right stock levels

Conclusion

Following good Asset Management processes takes time, but when done consistently they can provide a wealth of knowledge.  That knowledge allows making informed decisions either before or after an Asset is brought into the company or even years after it has been disposed of.  Informed decisions reduce risk, make efficient use of resources, and provide opportunities for cost avoidance.

For example:

  • Knowing that there are 10 new laptops and 2 slightly used desktops sitting in a stockroom allows quicker turnaround for sourcing a laptop request.
  • Knowing that 2 of those laptops are Reserved for new hires allows quicker preparation and deployment for the new employees’ onboarding next week.
  • Knowing that the remaining 8 laptops are still under a repair Warranty for another 3 yrs provides valuable data if they should break during their useful life.
  • Knowing that the 2 desktops have been re-imaged and are available for use in case of emergency can decrease the MTTR (Mean Time To Repair) for an Incident.

Asset Management in ServiceNow provides a streamlined method for tracking important data throughout the life of Assets, which translates into saving time and money, something we can all relate to!

In fact, it’s something that is too important to wait around. If you’re ready to get started with or reinvent your Hardware Asset Management solution then speak with one of our ServiceNow experts today.

Talk to an Expert