10 Steps to Implementing an Effective IT Asset Management Plan

1 - 10 Steps to Implementing an Effective IT Asset Management Plan
2 - Map Your Assets
3 - Choose the Right ITAM Tool
4 - Build Your Inventory
5 - Manage the Life Cycles of Your Assets
6 - Extend Asset Management to Other ITIL Processes
7 - Automate Alerts and Notifications
8 - Report and Share Asset Data
9 - Keep Yourself Audit-Ready
10 - Take ITAM Beyond IT
11 - Focus on Continual Improvement
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10 Steps to Implementing an Effective IT Asset Management Plan

by Chris Preimesberger

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Map Your Assets

Having an asset database inventory would be pointless unless you know details such as who uses the asset, what components the asset is connected to and what services the asset would affect in case of a failure. Now that you have built up your asset inventory database, the next step is to build your CMDB by creating dependencies across your assets. Build a relationship map using different relationship types to get a bird's-eye view of your IT infrastructure setup. For example, a business service can be mapped to other entities using relationships such as "connected to," "depends on," "runs on," "impacts other services" and "receives data from."

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Choose the Right ITAM Tool

Choose the right asset management tool prior to implementation. Ensure that you have all the functionality you require, because asset management is closely tied to other service management areas such as purchase management, vendor management, contract management and software license management. You should be able to manage the complete life cycle of an asset from procurement to retirement with the right kind of automation built in. The right tool would also provide the right dashboards and reports to help you make effective decisions.

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Build Your Inventory

Your major goal should be to establish a central asset repository that comprises all of your IT hardware and software components. Based on the operating systems used in your organization, choose from a wide list of available scan and discovery techniques such as script-based scan, domain-based scan, agent-based scan and distributed asset-based scan. For example, if you are a Windows user, then an agent-based scan would be ideal. It is best to capture as many asset-related attributes as possible—such as asset type, manufacturer name, status, location and cost—to shed more light on your scanned assets and understand them better.

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Manage the Life Cycles of Your Assets

All hardware and software assets are bound to be part of a cycle that traverses various states such as leased, purchased, in-repair and in-use. These states help you track the complete life cycle of the assets, resulting in better resource utilization. When these assets move from one state to another, the central asset repository should be updated with the reason, time stamp and the name of the person who modifies the state. This updated information lets you stay current, have control over your assets and make effective purchase decisions. For example, a purchase manager can opt to lease or purchase a new asset as a replacement for an existing asset that is in the disposed or in-repair state.

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Extend Asset Management to Other ITIL Processes

Asset management is not a stand-alone process. It has to be integrated with other ITIL processes to help IT personnel make informed decisions. It enhances the rate at which incidents, problems and changes are closed by providing detailed information about the assets involved.

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Automate Alerts and Notifications

Asset management usually involves a lot of stakeholders, including end users (who are affected if an asset fails) and asset managers (who are responsible to track and maintain the assets). It is important to notify these stakeholders about changes in your asset infrastructure via automatic alerts and notifications. By doing so, stakeholders can proactively take steps to avert or reduce the occurrence of incidents. For example, announcing a server failure before it occurs would prevent end users from logging server failure tickets with the help desk tool.

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Report and Share Asset Data

Creating and sharing detailed asset-related reports frequently give the decision makers a regularly updated snapshot of your IT infrastructure. These quantitative asset reports can help them prepare for audits and formulate financial budgets more precisely. Some of the most commonly generated reports include unauthorized usage of hardware and software; detection of unauthorized configuration items; and assets identified as the cause of service failures.

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Keep Yourself Audit-Ready

Ensure that you are always audit-ready rather than rushing things at the last minute. Periodically monitor all your maintenance agreements, license compliance and version entitlements by scheduling frequent asset-related reports and configuring relevant dashboards. Being ready for IT audits will ensure that your IT infrastructure is clean and will help track your IT expenditures for better decision making.

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Take ITAM Beyond IT

Often, IT asset managers ask themselves: "Should I also track all my non-IT assets?" After setting up a central repository for tracking and maintaining all your IT assets, extend the scope of ITAM to non-IT assets to prevent another department from reinventing the wheel. It is important to track all your non-IT assets such as generators, air conditioning units, refrigerators and furniture to understand your organization's financial spending and revise your budget. Non-IT assets can be added to your help desk by importing .csv files or scanning bar codes.

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Focus on Continual Improvement

Periodically review your asset management practices to ensure that you are on the right course to meet your quality objectives. As your organization scales up in size and services offered over time, your activities will range from procuring extra asset licenses to supporting newer technologies with hardware and software assets. Regular review of your ITAM process with preset benchmarks would also be a good opportunity to take stock and identify areas of improvement.

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