“C’mon guys, you’re brothers!!!”: Unified ITAM and ITSM
IT, which serves different business silos of organizations, has a substantial problem, such as providing visibility. There are barriers to sharing information and data between teams, tools, and objectives responsible for ITSM and ITAM processes. This approach, which insulates ITSM and ITAM, which serves different business units, can be overcome mainly with automation
There is an old TV commercial dialogue that is very popular in Turkey. There are two elderly hard of hearing people talking to each other. One says, ‘Hello Mr. Turgut, are you going to Akbank?’. The other says, ‘No, my dear Hüsamettin, I’m going to Akbank’…
Although the target similarity between IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) may not be that one-to-one, their relationship is somewhat like this dialogue.
While ITSM, traditionally independent disciplines, ensures timely delivery of essential services and support for the organization, ITAM discovers, monitors, and evaluates hardware and software assets for these services throughout their lifecycle, optimizing their cost and compatibility. Both practices are implemented in organizations with different business goals and objectives, but their processes and data are interrelated.
Visibility in process management
IT, which serves different business units of organizations, has a critical problem, such as providing visibility. There are barriers to sharing information and data between teams, tools, and objectives responsible for ITSM and ITAM processes. This approach, which insulates ITSM and ITAM, which serves different business silos, can be overcome mainly with automation.
Working in harmony and integrated, ITSM and ITAM enable many activities and processes to be more automated, efficient, and responsive. IT teams are better positioned to implement proactive practices that increase service levels and efficiency at a lower cost. Expanding the common knowledge base gives IT teams deep insight.
The integrated use of ITSM and ITAM provides significant benefits in many ways.
IT Service Desks often do not know what software applications are in the organization and how they are used. This situation hinders the efforts of employees to meet their requests with self-service methods. In addition, organizations make more software purchases unaware of the current stock of applications. Thus, in addition to a new cost, a compatibility issue may also arise. Combined ITSM and ITAM processes optimize existing asset performance while reducing costs.
For example, when you urgently need Microsoft Access software for your business as an employee, you should be able to set up and use the software immediately. When you are denied access to the application, you naturally call the Service Desk and request assistance. The support desk analyst requests approval for the purchase from the purchasing department and defines a task that includes ordering a new software license when approval is received. This process takes several days. However, you need to use that application immediately.
If ITSM and ITAM were working together, the self-service system would work like this.
When you submit the Access request, the system checks Access licenses to identify unused ones and assign one of these licenses for your use. With ITAM endpoint management processes, it is only a matter of time before the software is installed on your system within your user authorization. After informing you, the service management solution (ITSM) monitors the process, documents it, and closes your request.
Ideal management of assets
A qualified IT Service Desk for the employee gains value by solving problems quickly and effectively. This advantage is beneficial not only for the employee but also for the company. Thus, employees remain satisfied, and companies remain productive.
For example, let’s say your laptop is not charging or shutting down properly. You called Service Desk. If Service Desk employees can see all asset record of this machine, they also have a good chance of understanding that it was bought only a few months ago and is still under warranty. So there is no need for a futile effort to repair the laptop inside. In a Service Desk integrated with IT Asset Management, experts can temporarily provide you with a notebook, as they can see the laptops in reserve.
Also, when the defective laptop is returned, any software licenses associated with the device may be reassessed for use by other employees.
ITAM connectivity provides other benefits to the technical specialists and engineers responsible for the Service Desk. Thanks to ITAM, support professionals can identify the causes of poor system performance and application failures due to various reasons such as insufficient system resources like RAM capacity, conflicting software versions, and more. All support-related steps and actions are automatically logged so that you can use this information later for analytics and auditing requirements.
Buy or change standards
Associating asset information with incident and problem management makes it easier to understand why specific devices are constantly failing. Instead of trying to repair devices as they fail, you can pre-manage the risks that may arise. The proactive approach reduces your costs and ensures business continuity.
IT managers frequently meet and negotiate with vendors. Managers who have previously reviewed problem data and checked relevant device information have a better chance of assessing the performance of the products they plan to purchase. Sometimes the failure history of existing products may necessitate upgrading to a new hardware line. Incident and problem data provide comprehensive information about the lifecycle of devices. The cost incurred for updating some devices can sometimes be more expensive than purchasing new hardware with a longer life cycle.
Sometimes, making a few significant changes to operating procedures or device standards can result in savings and optimize costs across the enterprise. Therefore, as an IT administrator, you can relate results and make more informed decisions through a single repository where information is collected, filtered, and analyzed. The combined use of ITSM and ITAM offers managers a broad vision in this context.
Expanding the horizon of change management
Making asset information available as a component of the Change Management process enables the changes to be more effective and successful by predetermining potential risks and making the process more efficient.
According to a 2019 study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), at least one-third of IT organizations have achieved operational efficiency through improved insights.
In organizations, there is usually an upper committee responsible for change management. Change Management Board could be formed to seek answers to some questions. For example, are the licenses in the enterprise used for the purposes for which they are requested and with the appropriate versions? Are any additional software packages, drivers, or hardware add-ons required? Are licenses available for these? Are the hardware configurations to a standard appropriate for the organization’s needs? Is more memory, connections, capacity, or storage needed to cover unplanned events or failures?
The solution times are critical. Having complete asset information makes it quicker to respond to emergency change requests. Suppose a server running a mission-critical application goes down and needs a quick replacement. In that case, the incident response team can immediately check the asset inventory to see if a standby server is available. The team that finds such a server can initiate an Emergency Change by jotting down the exact location of the backup server, where it should go, all the information available, along with all necessary software and plug-ins.
Visibility of the asset lifecycle
Many businesses today depend on spreadsheets to record their assets. However, there are many drawbacks to keeping these records in spreadsheets. Cumbersome files are difficult to update, and information is either duplicate or often insufficient. However, support teams can only serve well if they can see the most up-to-date version of where and what assets are.
However, many IT organizations typically only verify an asset’s location once a year. In fact, according to Ernst and Young research, it is known that some organizations carry out these inspections once every five years.
For example, suppose a company employs temporary workers or has a high turnover of employees. Devices will move from hand to hand all the time. Devices’ mobility means that their location and access rights are also constantly changing. Manually tracked inventories create severe problems after a while. Security vulnerabilities are only one of these problems. IT management can never have full knowledge of the health and performance of devices.
For this reason, organizations need unified ITSM and ITAM processes and, therefore, tools to realize this. These kinds of tools make it easy for organizations to scan for real-time assets and users, as well as compare assets and user location information. While the self-service culture is maturing within the company, the Service Desk solves the problems quickly. In addition to increasing employee satisfaction, knowing where corporate assets are is vital regarding security and service and support quality. As a result, the combined ITSM and ITAM approach provide organizations with complete asset lifecycle visibility.