We all know how important it is to keep your data updated when it comes to tracking assets, but what about documenting the different relationships between your assets?
There are key interdependencies between your hardware and software that are connected to the services they provide – your data has to show this if you want to get the most out of your IT Asset Management System. If you’re looking to keep your business running in this digital age, it’s not enough to simply have baseline data on your assets – it’s like writing down the ingredients and measurements for your favorite recipe, but not including the instructions for how it all goes together.
When it comes to developing a successful Asset Management System, first it’s important to examine the roadblocks standing in our way. Today’s blog is an excerpt from EMA’s eBook, prepared for ServiceNow, that includes global research to analyze the changing role of ITAM (its policy, process, technology, and function). The following chapter starts from square one, outlining the problems associated with disparate data sources and explaining why it’s critical to have a solid foundation for your data before moving forward with your ITAM project.
ITAM Data Foundation: The Challenges of Fragmentation [SN eBook excerpt]
Complexity and IT information fragmentation go hand-in-hand. To begin with, IT assets span so many different types: endpoints to systems, network devices, touchable servers, and virtual machines of all sorts, service provider costs, and applications that command enterprises and cloud-hosted microservices.
EMA research and experience finds that almost no IT organization consistently maintains a comprehensive, detailed view of 100 percent of all assets from a holistic viewpoint. However, highly successful practitioners of next-generation ITAM do tackle the fragmentation issues head on to develop a single view of assets in action. Even accurate data that’s lost in isolation skews results, introduces risk, and diminishes the clarity of decision making.
Sources of fragmentation are also areas of opportunity for developing next-generation IT asset management capabilities that optimize IT financial performance and include:
- Asset complexity and volume—The first step is identifying what needs to be managed and to what level of detail. Jumping into an ITAM initiative with the goal of immediate 100 percent coverage of all asset types is not practical. There is a cost/benefit consideration to deciding which asset classes belong where on the spectrum of level of control. Elements to consider include asset cost, criticality to the business, risk exposure, and the enterprise-wide volume of assets.
- Software asset management (SAM) complexities and eccentricities—The dizzying array of financial approaches to licensing or procuring the right to software use seems designed to thwart any attempt to unify a financial or cost view of usage. Even moderately-sized enterprises can field products from more than 100 software vendors whose names, titles, product versions, license terms, and cost must be captured and kept current. Next-generation ITAM marries the intricacies of SAM with the realities of infrastructure aligned with business uses and values.
- Multiple inventory and discovery tools—Ongoing EMA research finds that the average IT organization uses 11 or more different inventory and discovery tools, with more than 40 being common. All but the most efficient elite groups admit to having some lingering degree of Excel spreadsheet reliance to bridge the discrepancies. In a recent survey,1 EMA found that each respondent spent an average of 15 hours every week resolving discovery discrepancies. It stands to reason that superior capabilities in discovery, rationalization, and reconciliation are essential ingredients in next-generation caliber automation.
- Data storage—EMA research finds that IT data is generally stored in at least four different information sources for asset, financial, and service planning. Pulling together inventory data with financial, legal, security, and business usage information into one unified system is a constant challenge that is error-prone and labor-intensive. Organizations that judge their data sources to be cohesively linked and managed also report spending an average of 30 hours assimilating inventory data for a major software license or compliance audit, with an additional 30 hours spent collecting asset entitlement data on those occasions. Interestingly, organizations that judge themselves “highly successful” in this area are likely to invest more time on these efforts than their less successful counterparts, underscoring the criticality of effective asset data.
- ITAM is often fragmented across IT—It is not unusual for different IT groups to use different tools, policies, and practices in support of the business functions they serve. Standardizing any aspect across organizational boundaries requires a top-down impetus that is comprehensive and sustained to support new, more effective ways of working. Having good data is one thing; the willingness to share it can be quite another matter.
Organizations, both global and modest-sized, have demonstrated that command of all these fragmented information sources is possible. It takes a concerted effort and a methodical approach that encompasses organizational effort, shared goals, and technology. Once successfully collated, these viewpoints begin to provide a persuasive foundation for cost savings and performance-based funding, as well as streamlined IT processes and automated workflows.
To keep reading about the shifting role of IT Asset Management, you can download the rest of EMA’s eBook here. The book goes on to cover the challenges and rewards of managing ITAM on the cloud, as well as the challenges, success metrics, and success factors for optimizing IT for financial performance. What are you waiting for? Download your free copy to learn about the next generation of ITAM.
Looking for more resources related to Asset Management? We’ve got you covered! Check out:
- this great overview of ServiceNow’s Hardware Asset Management
- this blog that covers the 7 criteria of a successful Asset Management program
- this blog gives the full scoop on embedding SAM across your IT Management strategy (it even comes with a webinar and slides!)
Or, even better, go straight to the source and speak with our Asset Management Lead, Wally Waltner, to get all of your questions answered!