Optimal Ways of Integrating Barcode Scanners into ITAM.

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1 Optimal Ways of Integrating Barcode Scanners into ITAM. Brett Husselbaugh CEO etelligent Solutions Inc. Webinar 29 th March 2012 This presentation contains protected trade secrets of etelligent Solutions, Incorporated. The information contained herein may only be used for the purpose

2 Classes of ITAM Data Relevant to IT Relevant to the Business Hardest, most process What cost center is it in? Who has it? What s in it? Easiest, most automated (Auto-discovery tools) What is it? Where is it? See ESI Lite Paper : "ITAM Data Elements Divide into Three Classes 2 This presentation contains protected trade secrets of etelligent Solutions, Inc. The information contained herein may only be used for the purpose

3 When and Where Should I use Scanners? Judicious use of hand held bar code scanners can significantly improve an ITAM solution. Both in terms of efficiency and accuracy. We tend to recommend scanners for Receiving. Mass updating asset status. Floor walks. Getting ready for disposal. Data center inventories. We tend NOT to recommend scanners for End user computing inventories. Anywhere there are simply too many fields to collect. 3

4 Which Bar code Formats Should I Use? Most common Code39 (also called 3 of 9) Encodes both numbers and letters Tends to take more space due to encoded character set 2 of 5 interleave Encodes only numbers More compact than Code39 (fewer characters in set) Most bar code scanners can automatically read many different types of bar codes. 4

5 What Type of Scanner Should I Use? We recommend linear laser. Do NOT choose 2D (Charge-Coupled-Device, basically a camera). This is especially true in data center equipment. Very narrow linear bar codes cannot be reliably read with a 2D scanner. For mobility, a hand-held device scanner is best. Wedge scanners (simulate keyboard entry by scanning bar codes) can be used with PCs at dedicated positions with some success. We recommend Symbol scanners for our clients 5

6 Design Considerations If the ITAM solution is designed properly, scanners should be focused on primarily dynamic data elements. Other considerations: Do not port a PC screen to a scanner. The scanner might look like a mini-pc, but to try to use it as such is highly inefficient and invites errors. Design goal should be that user does not have to use the scanner s keyboard or stylus (everything is point and shoot). Only put on screen what is required. No look-ups. Use preceder codes. Use carry-forward fields. Strong validation. Use automated record save triggers. Don t try to download the current database to the scanner. Scanners are still very slow and storage-limited compared to PCs. 6

7 How Should I Bar-code the Devices? We strongly recommend bar coding the assets that are being tracked by the ITAM solution. Use purely numeric, fixed length, MOD137 checksum tags. Drastically reduces errors remember, the bar code is the primary identifier of the device and it won t always be read with a scanner. It may be typed in by a user or technician. It may be relayed via or phone to the Service Desk. Place bar codes where they can be read when the asset is in service. Up front and very visible. NOT on the underside, or on the back. To be efficient, don t make the scanner technician have to crawl around on the floor or move anything to get to the bar code. May have to use luggage tag approach in data center. Reference label the device name of data center assets very important. Use professionally produced, pre-printed tags for the primary identifier. Make sure the tag is laminated. Put nothing on the tag other than the asset number and possibly the company name. 7

8 Reference Labeling The goal is to allow the scanner operator to point and shoot. That means bar coding as much as possible. The primary tag and reference tags. A reference tag is used to associate the asset to something. A location, cost center, person, rack. When possible, place actual reference labels in the environment. On racks, on door jambs, on columns, on nameplates. Otherwise, pre-print reference labels and carry on clipboards or hang on sides of scanning stations. Use preceder codes. 8

9 Floor Walks It doesn t matter how tight your asset management solution is, over time it will suffer from accuracy issues. The trick is to design in the ability to measure accuracy and restore lost accuracy. Floor walks, with hand-held scanners, are the most efficient way of doing this. A floor walk is designed as a miniinventory, however you only have to go after some dynamic data elements (if you designed your ITAM solution properly). Should be performed in an ongoing, N percent per month sampling. Design the floor walk to not only restore lost accuracy, but to also measure current accuracy. Knowing current accuracy can give valuable insight into process break-down. 9

10 Floor Walks - Example Data Center - Dynamic data specific to the target area are carried as bar-coded pick sheets on a clipboard (Cost Centers, Status values, Location). Racks and Device names are Reference-labeled with bar codes. EUC - Dynamic data contained on form either completed by end user in advance of floor walk, or by floor walk technician. Scanners set to carry forward certain attributes such as Location. Only need to scan once. Management Information Exchange Operator scans Reference barcodes, then identification barcode last. Scanner holds baseline Static data - If asset is not known to scanner (MIE), it reports the asset as a Rogue. 10 This presentation contains protected trade secrets of etelligent Solutions, Inc. The information contained herein may only be used for the purpose

11 Floor Walks Example Accuracy Measurement Management Information Exchange MIE compares existing values to incoming (from scanner), logs accuracy metrics and any misses, then applies the new data. Accuracy results useful in determining if process is being followed. 11 This presentation contains protected trade secrets of etelligent Solutions, Inc. The information contained herein may only be used for the purpose

12 Hand Held Scanners - Example Tasks (screens) configured for use Floor walk. EUC (with Rogue detection) Floor walk. Data Center (with Rogue detection) Receiving. Most fields are bar-code-readable. Scanners use MIE s Preceder codes (built into the barcode) to identify the data element to which the data belongs. Significantly increases overall collection accuracy. 12 This presentation contains protected trade secrets of etelligent Solutions, Inc. The information contained herein may only be used for the purpose

13 13 Contact Brett Husselbaugh Office: This presentation contains protected trade secrets of etelligent Solutions, Incorporated. The information contained herein may only be used for the purpose

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