Why IT Asset Management is Like Building a Jigsaw Puzzle
Think about the process of building a jigsaw puzzle. After placing every piece on the table in front of you, different colors and types, you don’t really know how they’ll form a complete picture—and you certainly don’t know if any are missing. You have little choice but to sort through everything to understand what you have and how each piece relates to another. You can see where you need to go, but nothing looks like what’s displayed on the box.
Doesn’t that sound a little a bit like your IT asset management journey? You know what you’d like to accomplish, but there’s no clear understanding of how and where to start. This blog will provide clarity.
Discovery answers the first question: “What do I have?”
Within asset management, understanding what you have is the critical starting point. At Ivanti, we have found that many organizations are unaware of up to 30% of their asset landscape. So, like our jigsaw puzzle example, the first thing these organizations must do is tip everything out on a table so they can sort and classify the pieces, with the edge pieces being the most important.
In IT asset management, this means identifying your laptops, desktops, servers, network devices, phones, tablets and software, and then sorting to understand what is most important. What constitutes your “edge pieces” can vary depending on your organizational goals. For example, if you’re undergoing a software audit, you would prioritize the sorting of software. On the other hand, if you’re looking to update desktops, sorting through laptop and desktop hardware is most important.
In any organization, there is no one repository of data that will give you all your information, and it is normal to get asset information from multiple different data sources. In fact, we have found most organizations have 12 or more discovery sources. Typical data sources are Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (SCCM), CSV file, Microsoft Active Directory, Intune, Workspace One (AirWatch) or Ivanti Discovery.
With so many data sources, you don’t want to end up with multiple duplicate assets. This is where reconciliation comes into play. The right solution, such as Ivanti Neurons, enables you to have one trusted record for each asset, with data gathered from multiple, easily addable or removable data sources.
We are up to the third step of the process, having discovered and reconciled assets. Now, we need to normalize the data. This step is extremely important for software assets because there is no standard for names, applications, and versions of software. The name variations can be minor, like a version number, or maybe the company name. For example, I have a system that returns two records:
- Vendor Name = Mozilla Corporation, Software Name = Thunderbird and Version = 78.10
- Vendor Name = Mozilla, Software Name = Mozilla Thunderbird 78.10.2 and Version = 78.10
These titles come back looking slightly different from discovery but are in fact the exact same software. Using the Software Identification Database, the Ivanti Neurons solution will normalize this data so that we have one record of the software. You can now use this normalized data for a complete understanding of your software licensing costs.
Now that we have discovered, reconciled and normalized our assets, we can be confident in having accurate visibility into the information across hardware and software.
Without doing any more work and with integration into Ivanti Neurons for ITAM, you can instantly visualize the asset data and start to answer questions you were wanting to understand. For example, how many routers and types do I have? How many Dell laptops are out there? Where are these assets located? And which department owns them?
You can expand this out to include other types of specialized assets such as in the medical field and bring in X-ray machines, MRI, etc. This can be done by adding Ivanti Neurons for Healthcare as a data source to discovery.
Analyzing your assets for optimization
Asset managers love this visibility of their assets and can now look to optimize costs across hardware and software. Utilizing connectors into warranty vendor information, and Ivanti Neurons for Spend Intelligence, an asset manager can analyze the data, and understand more complex questions like:
- What devices are out of warranty, or about to be out of warranty?
- What devices do we have in stock that are supported and we can reallocate?
- What software is approaching or has already reached end-of-life?
- What software are we licensed for and not actually using?
- Is there software out there that we can upgrade to the latest release?
Streamlining the asset management lifecycle process
Once you have discovered, reconciled and normalized, you are in a better position to manage your asset management lifecycle processes. Streamlining and automating the asset management lifecycle enables an organization to gain efficiencies within IT and provide an employee with better experiences. You can identify software that is available and automatically deploy it to the end user or redeploy existing hardware assets to an employee without the long procurement process.
Using the data available and the workflows built into Ivanti Neurons for ITAM, the asset management workflow process is streamlined and optimized.
Gaining control over your IT investments
Gaining control of your IT Investments can only be achieved by having an asset management journey in place to discover, visualize, optimize and automate the process.
Want to learn more? View this video of the key capabilities of the solutions discussed in this blog.