As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog seriesIT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) make a great combo to support IT’s overall plan to maximize operational efficiencies and improve service delivery experiences, while also optimizing compliance and cost.

Part 1 covered two use-case examples: 1) Empowering Users with Self-Service; and 2) Faster, Better Incident Resolution.

This post discusses the remaining three use-case examples: 3) Tackle Problem Assets with Proactive Management; 4) Effective Change Management; and 5) Complete Lifecycle Visibility.

3. Tackle Problem Assets with Proactive Management

Correlating asset information with incident and problem management helps you assess why certain devices consistently fail. By doing so, you can manage the overall risk proactively versus trying to fix each device as it fails, adding unnecessary costs and downtime in the process.

Let’s say Karen, an IT Manager, is preparing for the next vendor negotiation and standardization initiative. By looking at problem data and analyzing the associated device information, Karen finds certain types of devices are failing at a 30% higher rate than other models. Diving further into the asset information, including purchase history and warranty coverage, she determines it no longer makes sense to fix these device types going forward and instead makes a switch and standardizes on a different type of device to keep users productive.

Karen also looks at incident and problem data to assess which hardware still has value beyond its initial lifecycle. Her analysis shows that rather than adhere to the market standard of three-year hardware refresh cycles, she can initiate an extension to four years, enabling the organization to gain more life out of existing devices.

Simply making a few key changes to procedures and device standards can create savings and optimize costs across the enterprise. Had Karen taken a traditional approach, she would have only seen problems coming in through the service desk and looked at call resolution to determine how long it took analysts to solve a particular user’s problem.

By creating “one system of truth” — one repository where information is collected, filtered against and analyzed, you can correlate results and make more informed decisions. This way, you know if a problem impacts the wider organization and can trigger actions proactively to remedy the issue while checking into the hardware contracts, licensing information, etc. Having the insights to know the exposure and risks involved to draft a clear remediation plan can turn a problem into an opportunity.

4. Effective Change Management

According to research from EMA, 32% of surveyed organizations achieved IT operational efficiencies through improved insights. (“Reinventing ITSM,” EMA, 2019).

Making asset information available as part of the Change Management process helps ensure changes are more effective and successful, partly by identifying potential risks up front as well as making the process more efficient.

For instance, with more asset insight readily available as part of the review cycle, the Change Advisory Board (CAB) can review and answer key questions such as:

  • Are appropriate licenses available and properly allocated, including desired and needed versions?
  • Are any additional software packages, drivers, or hardware add-ons required, and are needed licenses also available?
  • Are the hardware configurations acceptable or do they need to be enhanced with more memory, connections, capacity, or storage to cover unplanned incidents or failures?

Where resolution times are critical, having more complete asset information can also speed emergency change requests. Let’s assume a server running a business-critical application crashes and must be replaced quickly. The incident response team can check the asset inventory immediately to see if there’s a replacement server readily available. Once one is found, the team can initiate an Emergency Change with complete information on the replacement server, including its exact location, where it needs to go and any necessary software and add-ons.

5. Complete Lifecycle Visibility

It’s no secret that many organizations still use spreadsheets to track their hardware and software, noting purchase information and linking the device to the initial user who requested it. Full visibility of what assets are in the environment, where they are and how they are used — all without cumbersome spreadsheets — is vital for service desk analysts to do their job efficiently, with quicker resolution times on incidents and problems.

However, many IT organizations often only verify an asset’s location once a year — and some organizations only every five years. (“Navigating through the Complexities of the Fixed Asset Management Function,” Ernst & Young).

Consider a temporary-staffing company that provides temp workers with devices at the start of an assignment. Across different job roles, devices will be switching hands, changing locations and demanding access rights at an exploding rate. If IT carries out a manual inventory audit, these user changes would either be poorly tracked, or not tracked at all — posing a significant security risk and not providing IT with much-needed visibility into a device’s health and performance.

Organizations benefit from ITSM and ITAM processes and tools that are unified:

  1. Organizations can perform real-time scans and reconcile user and location information.
  2. This enables the service desk to resolve incidents much faster, improve customer experiences, and enable more self-service.
  3. Not only is it vital from a service-and-support perspective to know at all times where all organizational assets are, but also from a security standpoint, where lost or stolen assets can jeopardize data integrity.

It’s also critical to manage assets throughout their entire lifecycle by tracking performance data, issues, fixes, patch information, contracts and licensing to ensure software and hardware investments are running at optimal performance and not impacting employee productivity. Complete lifecycle visibility through unified ITSM and ITAM is often the missing piece of the IT puzzle for many organizations.

Catch Our Webinar Replay

Check out our recorded webinar Why IT Service & Asset Management Are Better Together. Our presenters share more insights for solving business problems proactively with ITSM and ITAM. You’ll also hear some true stories, such as why mysteries make for good night-time reading but not so much when it comes to network routers.