At the Enterprise level, Asset Management can be a tall order. Tracking and maintaining a cohesive overview of all your company’s assets from beginning to end becomes exponentially more challenging the more assets your firm owns. Even a simple computer lifecycle requires tagging a new requisition order, procurement, provisioning the computer and preparing it for use, installing the proper software (and ensuring that software works on the proper machines), scheduling regular maintenance and upgrades, and even retrieving the computer or scrapping it when it no longer works – you can see there are a lot of steps involved.
For large companies, executing all of these steps for thousands of assets is no small feat. With so much work involved, it’s important to demystify the Asset Management process. By breaking it into chunks, you will discover that Asset Management is actually a reasonable, manageable endeavor – it just takes the right know-how, and the right technology to support your branching acquisition process.
Asset Management’s Immediate Bottom-Line Impact
If the simple computer provisioning process above takes so much effort, why would any intelligent firm launch a complex Asset Management procedure? For both the short-term and long-term, the answer comes down to money, money, money!
Short-Term Dollars and Sense
Money: Keep the assets you need. Knowing a full list of what you own, and where it is, is the first step in preventing
disappearing assets – and saving money in the process. Effectively tracking and cataloging your assets can save firms a lot – an estimated $450,000¹ in just one year! Even steps as simple as determining your assets’ whereabouts and recording their ownership allows you to enforce better asset collection policies. Fewer assets will be lost or forgotten during off-boarding or the abandoning of a project, and you can keep and maintain the tools you need. Even if an employee no longer works for you, their computer still can.
PRO TIP: “The best Asset Management programs include a consistent, automated off-boarding process to ensure timely collection.”
Money: Share the assets you already have. Accurately tracking your existing possessions and leveraging the items you already own allows your firm to make fewer costly purchases down the road. While there may be more phones than people across the globe, that doesn’t mean you need to buy three computers for each of your employees.
PRO TIP:“To improve your tracking process, schedule periodic reports to show employees who have more than one asset in their possession, or to check on a specific type of active or inactive assets. Run down any outliers.”
Money: Eliminate paying for what you don’t need. Effective asset maintenance also means relegating old and broken items to the scrap heap. While it might seem counterintuitive to save money by throwing things away, newer assets require fewer maintenance fees, increase productivity, and reduce downtime. Your employees don’t need the headache of dinosaur laptops, held together by tape, needing to be repaired for the fifth time in the middle of a critical project. It’s cheaper (and better for morale) to find and maintain the brand-new laptops you do have sitting around in a cart in some closet, and use them before they fall into a state of disrepair.
PRO TIP: “Create a corporate policy to detail the appropriate lifespan of an asset, set up best practices, and schedule periodic reports to show assets that are nearing or beyond those best practices.”
The Long-term Strategic Impact of Asset Management
Knowing where your assets are means you can share those assets, identify how much money is tied up in said assets, and determine how much you will get back – all of which adds up to more informed business decisions and happier shareholders. Further, an effective Asset Management strategy also details your internal resources in an audit-ready format, eliminating headaches and even appealing to insurance companies.
Like short-term bottom line benefits, Asset Management strategies also deliver serious long-term cost savings. An effective resource management strategy can reduce huge unnecessary expenditures, eliminating waste in enterprise-wide hardware purchases, and reducing the overhead for unneeded software contracts and maximizing the output of your licenses. You will also stop paying to maintain assets with an active service contract and (hopefully) eliminate the risk of audit feeds.
“Have a plan. Know what elements of information you need to support your business, negotiate contracts, and track assets through their lifecycle.”
“Make sure your other processes are using the CMDB – the more it’s used, the more accurate it is, the more useful it is.”
Now You Need a Tool: Asset Management with ServiceNow
With the value of asset management on full display, now it’s time to find the right technology to enable your new Asset Management strategy. Here are four ways that we have seen ServiceNow deliver the right mix of efficiency and agility to support our clients.
1. A familiar interface
Asset management in ServiceNow uses the same, familiar ServiceNow interface you see on the more traditional ITSM platform. This interface offers easy-to-configure list views, fast sort options, and client and server-side rules, to simplify corporate record management.
2. A single data source
If you are still tracking assets in excel, it’s time to catch up. A shared underlying data set keeps your asset management details and the CMDB information in the same place means creates more value to your organization. With fewer systems, fewer specialized admins, more reuse!
3. Millions of records stored
When it comes to data storage, uptime, and security, ServiceNow enables your company to provide asset data to those who need it, when they need it, while at the same time keeping extraneous noise away those you don’t want to provide access to. The right technology also facilitates data retrieval – allowing you to access your asset map anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Finally, regular data backups, let you focus on the important task at hand: managing your assets.
4. Simplified integrations
ServiceNow has spent a lot of time focused on getting technology integrations right, a fact Acorio can attest to after working with many applications and countless APIs. If you already have all your assets in SCCM or SolarWinds, ServiceNow has a straightforward process to pull and configure your data. In the absence of a ready-made solution, ServiceNow Asset Management also allows you to fully script custom REST or SOAP solutions.
With its Discovery plugin, ServiceNow allows you to locate and create the hardware and software assets you need by probing network ranges. Offering a full view of your entire asset suite in ServiceNow makes for a seamless integration of assets into the rest of the platform.
PRO TIP: “Automation is your friend. Strive to automatically track the majority of your data elements – but be sure to schedule a few manual inventory checks to ensure accuracy.”
The Fine Print: ServiceNow Asset Management’s Common Pitfalls
While we have just spent a section singing the praises of ServiceNow’s Asset Management capabilities, it’s important to look at any technology purchase from every angle. By reviewing a few common pitfalls, you’ll ensure you’re armed to deal with any hurdles that come up during your Asset Management implementation.
Keeping Your Project On Track
Asset Management strategies often involve multi-phase projects. To keep your momentum and focus, solicit input and support from the appropriate resources up front to facilitate the process of identifying which assets you will want to manage and discover. Assign someone owns the network and can answer all the asset tracking/discovering questions.
To set up Asset Management Discovery, you will also need to know some technical details, including your network ranges and credentials.
PRO TIP: “Ownership is key, make sure someone is responsible for the CMDB, or delegate by class.”
Managing Records Appropriately
Some companies can get aggressive on discovery – to the point that they become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of records after their first discovery run or initial inventory. We understand how much data you are looking at by creating a unique record for each laptop, desktop, monitor, server, plus an additional record for each hard disk and memory module, and all software installed on each as well. Do not abandon hope. Dashboards and list views can help, and trust us, it will all be worth it in the end.
PRO TIP: “Focus on tracking the assets that will provide the largest return first, and continue to the next highest value return from there. The assets being tracked that have the highest return associated should always be where the most attention is given.”
Do you think your Asset Management strategy is ready? Download our ServiceNow Roadmap and see how your project stacks up.