The WORST App Ever that’s Not Been Created, -Another Reason to Be Thankful

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., many people use this time to reflect on all the reasons they should give thanks. People often tell their family and friends they are thankful to have them in their lives.

If you have secrets or have ever told a lie, exaggerated on your resume, cheated on a test, or cheated on a partner, you have one more reason to be thankful this year.  Rapid advances in technology assure us that soon we will see the most terrifying, life changing, heart-breaking app that will ever be created and released; the mobile lie detector app.

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We may not see the app in the next year or for the next 10 years, but we all know it is coming. If you go to your App store today, you will see there are apps available claiming to have the technology for detecting a lie.

Lie detector apps available today are really for fun and do not possess the technology needed for credible lie detection. However, with the rapid advancements made every year in health, science and technology, we can probably expect a credible lie detector app to be released in our lifetime. For now, be grateful by taking a moment to consider what life could be like if such an app existed today.

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Have you every cheated on your partner?

Imagine a wife suspects that her husband is up to something inappropriate. When he arrives home one evening, she confronts him. He denies everything. He swears on the bible, his family, and everything he loves that he is truthful. She pulls out a mobility wearable that looks like a wristband and asks him to put it on so he can answer some questions.

Refusing her is futile because this is when she will use an ancient old phrase we are all familiar with, “if you haven’t got anything to hide then…..,”. Now you are cornered. There is no respectable response that doesn’t make you look guilty when this ancient phrase is used. You’re stuck!

The test begins:

Sample Questions to husband

  1. Do you have a phone number I am not aware of?
  2. Do you have an email account I am not aware of?
  3. Do you ever text or email other women socially?
  4. Do you ever look at other women because you think they look better than me?
  5. Have you ever kissed another woman besides me and your mother since we have been together?

I think I make my point. If we don’t have any secrets, then we don’t have anything to worry about. But the statistics tell us that a good majority of men and women are in trouble when the lie detector app is one day released.

Have you ever cheated on a test?

Imagine after every major exam, students are asked to take a required survey which turns out to be a lie detector test. Some people might argue the lie detector test invades privacy, others will say if you don’t cheat, you have no worries.

Some people may claim that taking the lie detector test after an academic test is no different than putting a camera in a store to catch shoplifters. One day, cheating on a test might be a thing of the past.

Is your resume accurate?

“In a 2001 survey of more than 7,000 applicants for executive positions, it was found that 23 percent misrepresented personal information. Of those who misrepresented information, 71 percent lied about length of service, 64 percent lied about accomplishments, 60 percent exaggerated managerial experience, 52 percent identified mere attendance at college as a degree, 48 percent overstated job responsibilities, and 41 percent omitted negative employment experiences”

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Imagine your phone rings and the company that interviewed you last week wants you to come back for a second interview.

Imagine you arrive to your interview, an HR person asks you to put on the wrist band for some additional questions and says to you,

“don’t worry, this is just a formality. You understand right? Occasionally, people exaggerate on their resumes so we like to perform this test with ALL applicants. You can refuse if you like.”

Really? Let’s be “honest,” will we really have a choice? Would it be possible to refuse and not look guilty?

Summary

The lie detector app will demand honesty in all things. Based on the statistics, relationships will be destroyed, teenagers will be punished, and people will be looking for new work in a field that actually lines up with their qualifications. This Thanksgiving holiday, as you give thanks for all that you have, remember to be thankful that all your secrets are safe for a little while longer.

Follow me on twitter @marcelshaw

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 4 of 4)

IT Asset Lifecycle Management Process Automation

IT Asset Lifecycle Management is Tier Three of IT Asset  Management.

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Tier three is about managing IT Lifecycle Processes. This includes automating your processes to eliminate human error which can occur while doing manual input. It is important to choose automation tools that meet your asset management requirements and that allow you to apply ITAM principles.

Asset Lifecycle Process

The lifecycle of an asset is usually determined by the type of asset being managed. For example, the lifecycle of a laptop would be much different than the lifecycle of a software asset. To create an asset lifecycle process, you need to understand how you purchase, receive, procure, and dispose of an asset. A laptop lifecycle process may look something like this:

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State Map

Each part of an asset’s lifecycle is a “State.” To determine the States of the lifecycle process, create a diagram such as the one above. Use your diagram to determine each State that will be used in the asset lifecycle process. For example, based on the diagram above, the different States assigned to laptops may look something like this:

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The State of the asset tells you where the asset is in the lifecycle. The lifecycle process should NOT allow you to bypass States. In the diagram below, A can be changed to B, B can be changed to C, and C can be changed to D, E, or F.

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In this example, A should not be allowed to jump to C, D, E, or F and B should not be allowed to jump to D, E or F. The method you use to change the State field should be enforced through an automated process.

If you rely on manual input to change the State of the asset, there is a greater possibility of human error and as a result, you will very likely lose track of some of your assets. Choose asset management tools that allow you to enforce your lifecycle processes by using process automation.

Process Automation for IT Asset Lifecycle Management enforces lifecycle processes by automatically enforcing the pre-determined lifecycle path.

For example, when a laptop arrives at the loading dock, a barcode scanner may be used to account for every box unloaded. If the asset is tracked from the time it was purchased, based on the laptop lifecycle process above, the moment the asset is scanned by the barcode scanner, an automated process should change the State from “Ordered” to “Received.”

When you evaluate tools for asset lifecycle process automation, it is helpful to understand the two types of process automation tools available: In-App Processes and Out-of-App Processes.

In-App Processes

In-App processes are processes that run within a software tool. The processes are designed as part of a software application or a software suite. They are usually built to support the features offered by the software.

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A good example of In-App processes can be found in many ITSM tools. For example, an incident opened by the help desk will have a process associated with it to define how the incident is assigned, escalated, and closed.

However, if you attempt to do IT Asset Lifecycle Management using In-App processes from your ITSM tool, it might be a challenge since the processes were built to support the ITSM software solution.

Out-of-App Processes

Out-of-App processes are independent of a software tool. The goal for this type of process tool is automation. Out-of-App process tools are much more flexible which means you could build help desk processes with this type of process automation tool; however, it would require a lot more. For example, additional tools would be required to build forms, to build and manage a database, and to build reports.

The advantage of an Out-of-App process automation tool is the ability to build automation using multiple databases and software tools within your organization.

For example, your organization may build a form on the internal web site to order new printer toner. When the toner is ordered, a process may take the data and automatically update the purchasing department’s database, create a purchase order, and send it to the printer vendor without any intervention.

Hybrid-App Process Automation For IT asset lifecycle management, the best solution for process automation would be to have a hybrid of In-App process automation tools and Out-of-App process automation tools. Having both types of process automation tools would allow you to fully automate all your IT asset requests.

 

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Many organizations use an ITSM tool for IT Asset Request Management. You could automate IT asset request processes from your ITSM tool using your IT asset management lifecycle processes.

If your asset lifecycle processes are Out-of-App processes, they will not only update the asset management database, they will also update the finance database, contracts database, and create the purchase order.

An Out-of-App process can also take a software request made from your ITSM solution and pass it to your software distribution tools, update the Asset Management database, and then notify the ITSM tool that the application has been delivered and installed. I will address asset management and help desk integration in greater detail later this year.

Summary

IT Asset Lifecycle Management is tracking an IT asset from when it is requested to when it is disposed. Lifecycle processes will track the State of the asset that is managed by the organization. Asset Lifecycle process automation enforces lifecycle processes by eliminating human error.

Process Automation can integrate and automate your IT Asset Management tools with other tools on your network. Using a three-tiered approach to implement asset management will help you collect, organize, and manage your assets when applying ITAM principles.

Follow me on Twitter @marcelshaw

See Also:

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 1 of 4)

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 2 of 4)

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 3 of 4)

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 3 of 4) -Three Keys to IT Asset Management Intelligence

Three Keys to IT Asset Management Intelligence

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IT Asset Intelligence is Tier Two of IT Asset Management. It is accomplished by associating assets with relevant information contained within the asset database and with relevant information contained in external databases, both inside and outside the organization. Three key features are needed to build IT Asset Intelligence: IT Asset Normalization, IT Asset Mapping, and IT Asset Linking.

IT Asset Normalization

Your Asset Management solution contains asset information provided by manual input, scanning tools and software, and from remote sources such as spreadsheets. To report accurate information, your solution needs to be able to correct the database tables of inconsistencies. Inconsistencies can be caused from errors made during manual input or from inconsistent naming conventions used by the hardware and software vendors.

For example, a software vendor like Adobe may use the name “Adobe”, “Adobe Inc.”, or “Adobe Systems.” The company’s name may vary from one version to another, creating an inconsistency. Be sure to account for these inconsistencies for accurate reports.

To ensure accuracy in the database, develop a process that will detect inconsistencies as well as correct them prior to reporting.

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Choose an asset management solution that can provide you with normalization capability otherwise, your expert SQL administrators will have to fix the problems for you, which can be a costly alternative.

IT Asset Mapping

Asset Mapping is critical for Asset Lifecycle Management, which just so happens to be Tier Three of IT Asset Management. Asset management tools need to be able to map asset information from one table to another. For example, you may have a table that lists the IP address assigned to each laptop.

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Because you know that IP addresses are determined by the building location, you may want to create a custom table with your building names. Dynamically map the IP addresses of the laptops to the building name associated with the IP address.

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This will then allow you to view laptops located in a given building without having to know the IP address assignment schemes for the buildings.

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Mapping can also be used to generalize asset information where detailed information is not required.

For example, an organization may want to see how many software application licenses they own from a specific vendor instead of viewing the name of every software package.

Remember, mapping to custom fields is critical since not everything can be scanned and asset management vendors cannot anticipate everything you may want in your asset management solution. For example, there may be executives in your organization that have a flat screen TV in their office. The TVs are not scanned by network scanning tools and most asset management systems do not have a field for TVs.

To manage the TVs in your asset management solution, you need to be able to add a custom field, name the field accordingly, and then map it to the executive or to the executive’s department (another custom field) in the asset management solution.

Mapping allows you to see your IT assets, and anything that relates to the IT asset.

An even greater benefit of mapping is the ability to map assets back to the user who is accountable for that asset. A goal your organization should have is to be able to see the user and all the assets they use.

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If you are unable to see what IT assets a user has, then you are at greater risk of losing track of the asset when the user moves within the organization or when the user leaves the organization.

IT Asset Linking

The properties of an asset can include information that might be stored in an external database within your organization or even outside your organization. For example, the contract information used to purchase software licenses might be stored in a database used by the legal department.

In this scenario, it would not make sense to duplicate the contract inside of the asset management database. Duplicating the contract would raise concerns for a document management system, often used by legal departments. Much like IT assets, legal documents and versions have to be tightly managed. Therefore, a link should be provided within the asset management database that points to the associated contract. That link could be a document number, document name, or some other identifier that a system uses to identify individual documents.

Asset linking can also be used to connect to your End-User License Agreements (EULA). For example, your asset management systems should be able to communicate with Microsoft over the internet to obtain the total amount of software entitlement licenses your organization owns for a given software package. In turn, it should then be able to compare the amount of licenses owned to what is installed within the organization.

The results of these findings would then be available in a report created by the asset management system. Hopefully, if your asset management database allows for custom fields, you will be able to create a field for “cost.” Then you can map that cost to a license enabling you to get true-up costs or over-licensing expenses.

Summary

If your asset database is accurate, and your asset mapping and asset linking designs are developed in advance, you will have an intelligent view of all your IT assets, asset users, asset licensees, asset purchasing information, and the asset costs throughout their lifecycle.

Most important, when Tier Two of asset management is designed properly, Asset Lifecycle Management at Tier Three will be much easier to implement and follow.

Follow me on Twitter @marcelshaw

See Also:

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 1 of 4)

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 2 of 4)

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 4 of 4)

Questions to consider regarding Shadow IT

 

 

IT Asset Management, a three tiered approach (Part 2 of 4)

4 Steps to IT Asset Discovery, tier 1 of IT Asset Management 

Collecting IT Asset information is the first tier of an IT Asset Management strategy. This is where you build your database with IT assets that will be tracked. It is important to have a strategy for collecting, storing, and monitoring IT Assets. To begin your IT asset management project, start with these 4 steps to successfully collect your IT asset information.

First, you must define IT assets that need to be collected. Second, you need to identify IT assets that need to be monitored. Third, choose scanning tools that meet the requirements defined in step 1 and 2. Fourth, choose an IT Asset Database that allows you to add and map custom fields

1.  Define IT Assets that Need to be Collected

Define IT Assets that will be managed and added to the IT asset management database. Start by identifying assets controlled by the end-user. PCs, laptops, mobile devices, and associated software applications are often lost or misplaced overtime when not accounted for in an IT asset management solution. Next, consider tracking printers, network devices such as routers, switches, servers, and storage with their associated applications.

  1. Identify IT Assets that need to be monitored

The level IT of tracking applied to an IT Asset will vary. A good way to differentiate the level of tacking is to have “monitored” devices and “un-monitored” devices.

Monitored devices will generally be the devices controlled by the end user like a laptop or PC. These assets are usually at most risk for security attacks. Monitored devices generally need a service or client that runs on the device. The monitored device needs to be able to report changes quickly since it has to react to change. Servers and their associated applications should also be considered for monitoring.

Unmonitored devices would be devices that are generally controlled by IT such as network printers, routers, and switches. These devices are usually changed pro-actively. Network devices under the control of the IT Management system should still follow ITIL principles relating to Configuration Change Management. Remember, “Un-monitored” refers to the level of tracking, not to be confused with monitoring/managing software that may be used to configure and alert on the health of the IT Asset.

Mobile Devices will usually fall somewhere between “monitored” and “un-monitored” but whatever is decided, they need to be tracked. At a minimum, IT needs to know what mobile devices are connecting to and accessing the organization’s data.

Integration between your ITSM solution and your asset management solution should be part of your strategy. If an IT asset is serviced, the incident management tool should be able to view details about the asset from the asset management system. For example warranty, contract information, and installed software may be helpful to an analyst working the incident.

  1. Choose the right Asset Discovery Tools

Agent-based Asset Discovery tools have the ability to discover everything that is connecting to your network. They also have the ability to collect detailed hardware information including manufacturer and part numbers from various components of an asset.

For example, in addition to being aware of a laptop, information about the memory, hard drive, and monitor can be available to you if and when you need it. Furthermore, asset tools can provide you with the Operating System (OS) information running on the laptop and any software application installed.

Choose a tool that can do network discovery by accessing network directories such as Active Directory, that can do ping sweeps and even listen to network management protocols such as SNMP. You want to know an asset exists and the type of asset discovered

The tool you choose should also allow you to manually input IT assets into the management system, often using forms. For example, a smaller company may want to track the lifecycle of assets but are not concerned with detailed information beyond the fact that it exists. A form can be created for end-users or an admin to enter the required information into the database.

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Be sure to choose a tool that can import the IT Asset data from an external data source. Make sure the software can talk to external databases. Because spreadsheets are the most common tool used for IT asset management in organizations today, it is important to have the ability to access data from XML files, Excel files, or delimited-ascii files.

Many organizations use scanning tools such as barcode scanners and RFID scanners. When building IT Asset Management, integration with mobile scanning tools should also be a requirement

  1. Identify the Best IT Asset Management Database

When you consider gathering the IT Assets with all associated components and software, the amount of data collected can be extensive. As you prepare for tier 2 of IT Asset Management, you will want to carefully choose your asset management database and database tools.

Make sure the tools you choose allow you to extend the database with custom fields. For example, you may want to know the name of the person who scanned in a device with a barcode scanner.

If you cannot customize your asset management database to accommodate your requirements, then you are restricted by the limitations of the database. IT Asset Management Database tools must have the ability to add custom fields, to map IT assets to custom fields or link IT asset information to external sources. For example, you may want to link a mobile device to its associated account and service provider.

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Processes defined at tier 1 are designed to get your IT Assets into your IT asset management solution. Processes defined at tier 2 normalize the database tables for consistency and accuracy. Tier 2 processes also map IT assets to other IT assets or to custom data that you define. Processes defined at tier 3 are aligned with ITAM principles for tracking the lifecycle of the asset.

The more information you collect and properly manage at tier 1, the better prepared you will be when implementing tier 2 and tier 3 of your IT Asset Management solution.

see also:

IT Asset Management, a three tiered approach (Part 1 of 4)

IT Asset Management, a Three Tiered Approach (Part 3 of 4) -Three Keys to IT Asset Management Intelligence

Follow me on Twitter @marcelshaw