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Elevating ITAM with workflow

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is all about knowing what hardware and software is on your network and making sure that it’s, a) in license compliance, and b) not costing you extra money and efficiency.

ITAM is a wonderful tool, especially for tech service providers, but it’s important to understand how it integrates with your existing operations. Understanding how it operates in the real world and how to get the most out of it is where the real dividends lie.

Whether you’re already using some form of ITAM or are exploring it because your spreadsheet is too difficult to keep updated by hand, there should be some useful information for you here.

Ultimately, ITAM should work for you and not the other way around.

ITAM deliverables

ITAM brings all of an organisation’s IT assets – including software and services, hardware and infrastructure, spares and replacement parts, and so on – together under a single umbrella. In addition, ITAM records and monitors those assets to make them accessible, visible and subject to various other functions, controls, policies, processes and workflows across the organisation.

ITAM consists of a set of business practices built around record keeping and maintenance. ITAM helps to create a current and accurate database of IT assets within an organisation by assembling, combining, and correlating the following three bodies of related data:

  • Contractual. ITAM seeks to accommodate and represent all the various contracts for licenses, hardware maintenance, leases and services that an organisation might undertake, in a coherent and consistent way.
  • Discovery and inventory. ITAM sniffs out, discovers and compiles as complete a list as possible of what IT assets it sees in use on an organisation’s networks (as well as IT assets that are not on the network and are not assigned to a user - such as new and spare equipment), along with who’s using them, for what purpose, for how long and so on.
  • Financial. ITAM tracks all the financial activities associated with an organisation’s IT assets, including their costs of acquisition, licensing, upgrades, maintenance, disposal and more.

ITAM helps an organisation make the most of the IT assets under its purview. ITAM provides the tools to help the organisation optimise its spending and support lifecycle management - from requirements analysis and evaluation, through procurement and deployment, to ongoing upkeep and maintenance, to eventual retirement and disposal or destruction.

Rationalise assets and costs  

ITAM enables valuable insights to support the organisation’s strategic decision-making process. As options are evaluated, selections made and deployments undertaken, ITAM provides the best data to help an organisation make the right technology choices and maximise its return on investments over time.

Software Asset Management (SAM) is the software component of an ITAM platform. SAM starts with normalising and reconciling two key inputs:

  • Purchase and entitlement records.
  • Discovered software usage.

After matching usage to purchases and entitlements, you can determine where license shortages may exist, as well as if there are any entitlements that are not being used, which could be more appropriately reallocated. Once those situations are identified, SAM can define actionable workflows to correct any discrepancies that might exist.

The managed ITAM process

The ITAM process helps deliver value across the full IT asset lifecycle by enabling self-service requests, simplifying and streamlining purchasing, automating and orchestrating deployments, detecting current usage, reconciling usage against licenses and entitlements, proactively managing service issues, and efficiently retiring end-of-life assets. In addition to effective ITAM processes, you need an ITAM platform that addresses both the current and future needs of the organisation: you need a future-proof platform.

ITAM, done properly, is a rich source of valuable data for multiple purposes across any organisation. Sharing ITAM data across your organisation enables assets to be viewed through different lenses for different purposes, such as security, compliance, IT support and much more.

Managing security security threats and vulnerabilities 

Asset management is a category unto itself under the Identify function of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework for Critical Infrastructure. This focus on asset management stresses its importance in managing security threats and vulnerabilities in your organisation. The bottom line is this: You must know what you are protecting.

IT asset management helps an organisation not only know what it is protecting, but also where its assets are located, the business priority or criticality of its assets, who the business owner or custodian of specific assets is, and what specific vulnerabilities may exist within an asset (for example, a SQL vulnerability that affects a specific version of Microsoft SQL Server in the organisation’s data center).

Introducing the CMDB

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is an important source of information about an organisation’s systems, and it supports critical IT service management functions such as problem management and change management. The CMDB helps IT resolve issues more effectively by answering the proverbial first question in troubleshooting: “What was the last thing you changed?”

Sharing ITAM and CMDB data enables organisations to create a more complete “single version of the truth” for all its IT assets, from servers and networking equipment to software and end-user devices.

Humans use assets too

Not only do humans use assets, they tend to use them wherever they need them. This means that a laptop or mobile device, for example, may need to be tracked across different locations and users in much the same way that dynamic application workloads need to be tracked across different IP addresses, data centers, and cloud environments.

ITAM helps ensure the right assets are available and assigned to the right people at the right time. For example, your organisation may have certain assets, such as laptops or portable projectors, available for checkout in a pool.

ITAM helps ensure that when the big marketing convention is over, your marketing team returns all the portable projectors to the pool. This means the projectors will then be available for your sales team to take onsite to prospective customers and close deals with all those leads generated at the convention.

For more information on ITAM download the eGuide below.

Download the eGuide

Elevating ITAM with Workflow