When I call my bank for assistance, an automated recording helps direct me to the right person. Recently, I have noticed an increase in ‘intelligent’ automated telephone assistance where the system tries to resolve my issue without ever sending me to an actual person. In my opinion this is more annoying than it is helpful. I usually end up saying “operator” over and over until I can speak with a person.
What I believe to be most helpful is when I call for assistance and the automated system recognizes me by my phone number. When IT service management solutions are able to map IT devices to their owners, service analysts can quickly determine what devices the customer has within seconds. Furthermore, integration tools can be implemented giving the analyst the tools to resolve issues remotely.
To properly map IT assets, make IT asset management one of your ITSM projects. All organizations that are dependent on technology should have IT asset management. Be sure to use ITAM principles when defining your requirements.
Also, it is important to understand there are two components to managing IT assets, Configuration Management (CMDB) and IT Asset Management (ITAM). Gartner defines the difference in a report titled ‘Configuration and ITAM Intersect in the IT Service View CMDB’.
A CMDB is an important component of an ITSM solution; however, I am assuming that most organizations are using a CMDB. If not, then it might be a good time to start.
ITIL defines service management processes while ITAM defines asset management processes. Good ITIL practices suggest that you build a CMDB to track and manage configuration settings on IT assets that you support. Use ITAM processes to manage and track the lifecycle of IT assets.
Three Reasons to Build an ITAM Solution into ITSM
- IT Asset Mapping
- Request Fulfillment
IT Asset Mapping
ITSM solutions can benefit by saving time and money when asset information is easily available to the analysts supporting their customers.
An ITSM solution should be able to tell you what your customer is using when they call for support. A verbal discovery process wastes valuable time. By mapping the IT assets to the person using the asset, the analyst will immediately be able to see hardware IT assets, software assets, software version, accounts, and warranty expirations.
Many IT organizations are working towards automating tasks and processes that are redundant, such as ordering and assigning IT assets. For example, if somebody needs specific software to accomplish a task, an automated request and automated software delivery process can eliminate the need for an analyst to spend time fulfilling the software request. IT asset management would be required to properly track the software entitlement in order to protect the organization from allocating more licenses than it owns.
Support will be required for non-traditional IT technology in the near future; however, there is not an immediate IoT project needed for ITSM solutions because IoT is not a mature technology yet.
In a post by Forbes, they wrote that ‘Gartner indicates that the providers of Internet of Things platforms are fragmented today, and would benefit greatly from cobbling together a better ecosystem where data is shared more broadly. This issue will persist through 2018, and IT departments will likely procure more one-off solutions as opposed to integrated webs of solutions that would serve them better. As IT leaders clamor for a better way, the change will come, says Gartner.’
As IoT matures, there will be a natural progression towards using ITSM solutions to support IoT solutions.
In this example, smart technology in a lightbulb at face value might seem trivial for IT to support. However, what happens when there are 1,000 smart lightbulbs attached to a central circuit with software that is able to turn lights on and off depending on when people are in the room?
Who will support the IoT software when it fails? I believe initial responsibility will be given to the IT service organization.
A good way to prepare for IoT as it matures is to build an ITAM infrastructure that can document and track IT assets.
IT asset management is a project that many organizations have neglected to properly define and fund. With the influx of IT assets coming into the market, it is hard to imagine controlling inventory, software licenses, and ultimately security without a proper IT asset management system in place.
On November 18th 2015, I gave a presentation via webcast on this topic for BrightTalk.
In part 4, I will discuss ITSM integration and automation.
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