IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) are two different disciplines that can exist completely separately from each other or in a symbiotic relationship. When these processes happen in silos, you can miss significant benefits. For example, the ability to track the different actions that occur to an asset during its entire lifecycle and the opportunity to automate more stages of service delivery are missed. This creates chaos when you try to track what you own, who is using it and if it is properly warrantied or licensed, among other examples.
However, when ITSM and ITAM are tightly integrated, you will gain much better insight into what happens to an asset between the two disciplines, you tend to have much better control of your assets and you can streamline common processes.
In this blog, we will outline the most important concepts to consider when taking siloed ITSM and ITAM processes and integrating them for optimal benefit to the organization. We will talk about these concepts in the context of how they are applied using SCSM and the Cireson Portal.
1. Implementing a Hardware Catalog
An Asset Manager is typically the person who manages the different types and models of Hardware that are available to the company. As newer versions come out, they manage the process of working with a vendor to onboard these new items. Once hardware is available for consumption within the company, they must be seamlessly integrated into your catalog for the end user. End users do not need to know that a new model is available. They just need to request a new laptop.
This type of request should go through your ITSM service catalog and should be available in the form of a catalog item. Once a request is made, any type of approval or checks that need to happen can be captured here. It is then up to the Service Desk to determine and capture the exact asset that will be deployed. When ITAM and ITSM are tightly integrated, you gain this information around when a Request was made, what was requested, who approved it, and which asset was deployed. When these are not integrated, that information is spread out across emails, spreadsheets, and various other sources.
Here is an example of a “Laptop Request” through the service catalog. The end user does not need to know the specifics of what they are requesting.
If you open a ticket for a Laptop Request, you can see the activities that occur across the teams once the user submits a request.
You can also see what catalog item was requested and which asset was deployed.
2. Tracking Software End-to-End
This is probably the biggest area that can get out of hand in any organization. Tracking who has what software installed, if they are using it and if we are properly licensed for it are all major areas for concern. With integration between ITAM and ITSM, you can start to track this information and get a better understanding of where you sit from a software / licensing perspective.
Just like with hardware, a request for software should be initiated through your ITSM service catalog. Once a request is made, the proper approvals should occur, the identification of software availability is made, and the actual installation and configuration will happen. Each of these steps may affect a Manager (for approval), Asset Manager (for software availability), and the Service Desk (for installation). Once again if you do not have integration between ITAM and ITSM you lose that complete picture.
A user can make a request for software through your ITSM service catalog.
If we ever need to look back through requests for software, we can pull them up from a software asset.
We can open a Request to see the activities that occurred.
When it comes to Software Tracking, this information becomes incredibly valuable.
3. Streamlining an Asset’s Service History
At this point we have touched on the planning, procurement and deployment of assets. These are the foundational steps to start integrating ITAM and ITSM. The last part of the ITAM lifecycle is maintenance and retirement. After an asset is deployed, it will be touched by the ITAM and ITSM processes throughout its lifecycle. Issues will arise and ownership will change. Assets will move, be redeployed, and eventually be retired.
All these actions that occur should be tracked through a ticket in your ITSM solution. Identifying each of these actions and defining the process behind them is another key step towards integration of ITAM and ITSM. You will find that most processes touch both disciplines. Defining these through activities and workflow will help streamline your process and capture information in the maintenance and retirement of an asset.
If you’ve followed the steps from the previous sections, you should now have a complete picture of an asset throughout its entire lifecycle. By defining your processes through service requests and incident management, you should be able to open an asset at any point in time and see some valuable information as it relates to ITAM and ITSM. Specifically, you should be able to see the service history of a given asset, showing you all the things that have happened during its lifecycle.
ITAM and ITSM absolutely belong together. You can spend an entire week getting all your asset management data organized and cleaned up. If these disciplines are not integrated, your asset information is out-of-date by the time you are done reading this article. You must identify your ITAM processes and align them with ITSM processes so that you do not lose track of where your assets are and most importantly where your money is going. Gain valuable insights, save money, streamline your processes, and provide a better end user experience by integrating these two areas within your organization.