KIFINTI. Kifinti White Paper. IT Asset Management Four Steps To Implementing an Effective IT Asset Management Strategy. Paul Kelsey 4/1/2012

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1 KIFINTI Kifinti White Paper IT Asset Management Four Steps To Implementing an Effective IT Asset Management Strategy Paul Kelsey 4/1/2012 This paper is designed for IT Managers, Business Analysts and Controllers who are looking for a practical guide to defining and implementing an effective IT Asset Management Strategy.

2 Contents Should You Consider IT Asset Management?... 2 What is Asset Management?... 3 Step One Scope Definition... 4 IT Asset Management -Terms and References... 5 Step Two - Define the Process... 7 Step Three Align to Business Value... 8 Step Four - Tool Ratification... 9 Discovery Technology Discovery Tool Questionnaire: FrontRange FrontRange Discovery Asset Tracking Repository / CMDB / Single Version of the Truth Frontrange HEAT Frontrange ITSM Integration Summary About Kifiniti Solutions Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 1

3 Should You Consider IT Asset Management? According to research industry leaders Gartner, IT asset management is a fundamental discipline that enables improved cost control and truer understanding of IT s business value. By developing and implementing IT asset management policies, procedures and programs you will improve procurement, optimize your costs and improve governance over your IT infrastructure, making best use of time, people and budget dollars. Understanding and defining policies and procedures is only the start of implementing a repeatable process that will return significant business benefit to your organization. You will also need to have an underlying framework of tools that will enable your IT asset management strategy to work. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 2

4 What is Asset Management? Asset management is an extensively used and often misunderstood term, especially in the context of Information Technology. If you Google asset management you will find hundreds of solutions, offerings, and experts talking about their offering and why it is the best. Depending on whom you ask asset management can cover everything from IT assets, to facilities (building and plant) through to financial asset management. For the purpose of this White Paper, we will define IT asset management as: software asset management, hardware asset management, software license compliance, software utilization, contract management, evergreen programs, purchase requests, purchase orders, and management of assets for bill-back by location, department or other. We will also examine a sample of IT asset management offerings and discuss how you can leverage your existing investments to help you implement all or pieces of an IT asset management strategy. We will look at what specific supporting technologies that are available today from FrontRange and how to get started. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 3

5 Step One Scope Definition The key when planning asset management is to understand the scope. This means beginning with a clear definition of what asset management means to you. Where do you want to start and where do you want to stop. Use the list of asset management definitions described in the previous section to help you expand or contract your scope. Implementing an effective asset management initiative will be all about the processes. Kifinti Best Practice Tip When establishing your hardware life cycle management, it is important to know what your regulatory compliance requirements might be. Even if compliance requirements are minimal, your corporate responsibility mandate may provide you with guidelines. There are several charities that recycle EOF hardware and could play into your corporate goals. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 4

6 IT Asset Management -Terms and References ITAM - IT asset management (ITAM) is the set of business practices that join financial, contractual and inventory functions to support asset life cycle management and strategic decision making for the IT environment. Assets include all elements of software and hardware that are found in the business environment. CMDB - A configuration management database (CMDB) is a repository of information related to all the components of an information system. It contains the details of the configuration items (CI) in the IT infrastructure. Although data repositories similar to CMDBs have been used by IT departments for many years, the term CMDB stems from IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). In the ITIL context, a CMDB represents the authorized configuration of the significant components of the IT environment. A CMDB helps an organization understand the relationships between these components and tracks their configuration. The CMDB is a fundamental component of the ITIL framework's configuration management process. CMDB implementations often involve federation, the inclusion of data into the CMDB from other sources, such as asset management, purchasing, desktop management, and change management systems in such a way that the original source of the data retains control of the data while making the data available in real time to the CMDB. Federation is usually distinguished from extract, transform, load (ETL) solutions in which data is periodically copied from its original source into the CMDB. CI - The term configuration item or CI refers to the fundamental structural unit of a configuration management system. Examples of CIs include individual requirements documents, software, models, plans, locations, physical hardware components and people. The configuration management system oversees the life of the CIs through a combination of process and Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 5

7 tools by implementing and enabling the fundamental elements of identification, change management, status, accounting, and audits. The objective of the configuration management system is to ensure configuration information is accurate, consistent and up to date. Accurate CI information is key to minimizing the introduction of errors related to lack of testing most often introduced during configuration changes. Complete CI data can also prevent errors by identifying incompatibilities with other CIs. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 6

8 Step Two - Define the Process Once you have defined the scope, you must begin by identifying when and where the process starts. For many organizations today, the purchase order and request process are already tightly controlled and managed and the IT asset management process begins once IT takes ownership of the IT asset. This can occur at time of shipment, but for some, it can be at time of installation. While this can appear to be a daunting project, it doesn't have to be. Many companies are already tracking all the activities and staffing work in their service desk tool today. To expand the process to include the tracking of IT assets, one often only needs to introduce a more granular tracking of moves, adds, changes and to create associations for these with the affected Configuration Items. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 7

9 Step Three Align to Business Value Each organization will have varying corporate goals aligned to business performance and shareholder value. The illustration below developed by Gartner features a sample score-card and shows how an organization scorecard should align to the investment in an IT asset management strategy. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 8

10 Step Four - Tool Ratification Many organizations believe they need a different tool to manage assets. The truth is, many companies can leverage what they already own and further investments in new technologies are not necessary. By no means are you limited to the tools in this example. You can leverage other desktop management tools like LANDesk, Novell, Enteo or other network monitoring tools like MOM/SCOM, IBM Tivoli, HP Openview etc. It simply depends on the specifics of your Kifinti Case Study: No New Software Required For one of our municipal customers, we were able to leverage the software they already owned. They did not need to purchase any new software to help them manage their IT Assets and implement a CMDB. We leveraged their existing Service Desk tool (Frontrange HEAT), Desktop Management tool (Microsoft SMS), Network Monitoring tool (Solarwins), and Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and used all the information generated within these tools to populate their CMDB/Asset database. Then through ongoing process management, this information is consistently maintained to enable them to manage the entire IT Asset lifecycle. project. What do you already own? What do you really need? Before acquiring any new software, it is critical that one spends time to understand and review what tools you own, what they are capable of and to identify any gaps between what you have and what you need. In many cases the biggest gaps are identified as, primarily, process related. We recommend starting with a baseline of where you are today. Using discovery & management tools you can take an inventory of what you own, how it is implemented and how it is being used. This information will help Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 9

11 you understand if any additional technologies or tools will be required to complete your IT asset strategy. Discovery Technology The first part of the tool discussion is the discovery technology to help understand "WHAT IS" physically installed. Once you understand what is Kifinti Best Practice Tip Don t purchase separate discovery tools. These are often agent based. Instead, look at the end point holistically from an asset management, reporting and security perspective. installed you can work back to the management side to understand what did you buy, where is it now, what are you contractually obligated for etc. Our own approach is to use existing technology to complete the discovery and not to purchase separate discovery tools as these are often agent based and it only makes sense to minimize the proliferation of agents on the endpoints. As a desktop management strategy, we recommend looking at the end point holistically from an asset management, reporting and security perspective and try to minimize the number of agents on your endpoints (desktops, laptops and server). Discovery Tool Questionnaire: Do you have a tool that discovers everything you want to manage in your IT asset management initiative? 1. HARDWARE - Desktops, Laptops, tablets, servers, switches, routers, security devices, firewalls, IP enabled phones etc. 2. SOFTWARE - OS (Windows, MAC, Linux, Unix), Software Programs installed. 3. Virtual and thin client - Is the discovery technology aware of virtual technology? Can it discover and reconcile thin clients like citrix and virtual environments like VMware and virtualized applications? Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 10

12 Most customers have something today that discovers some of what they need and sometimes they own a robust discovery or management tool but have not implemented or integrated a consistent process for using it yet. However many organizations need a new solution, that discovers everything they own, addresses their heterogeneous environments of Windows, MAC, Linux and UNIX, is virtual aware and provides compliance reports in the case of an audit. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 11

13 FrontRange Leaders in the space of asset management, FrontRange does offer a complete discovery solution that can augment HEAT, ITSM and other IT Service Management technology, to discover the pieces of the IT infrastructure puzzle not yet addressed by existing technology. The FrontRange License Manger technology can even add another dimension to enhance discovery solutions like a Microsoft SMS or SCCM. FrontRange Discovery - is a leading edge discovery solution, which provides a comprehensive, heterogeneous and granular hardware and software inventory. Discovery collects information on any IP enabled device, the specific hardware and software details, virtual environments, thin clients and has a unique addition - License Manager - that simplifies the software license compliance and management process. From a hardware perspective the FrontRange Discovery solution is agent based and the agent is OS agnostic and will run on Windows, MAC, Linux and Unix. This enables the solution to discover virtually all devices in your environment and the specific details of it, right down to the slots and often if a monitor is attached. For those additional devices that the agent doesn't run on, discovery has technology called LANProbe, that will discover all IP enabled devices and the specific details of the device, identify new devices on the network, if they have a discovery agent or not and report back when devices are moved. The discovery agent can help to determine location by leveraging IP networking information. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 12

14 From a software perspective the information collected is normalized into primary and secondary applications, as often the amount of information reported on installed applications can be extensive and make the management of this difficult. The software agent interrogates WMI, add remove programs and executable and even goes beyond exe names and looks at the executable hash to eliminate issues with renaming files. The discovery solution will also report on software utilization and this information blended with the license manager will help you manage compliance and is then used in the case of an audit. What makes the overall solution unique is the added functionality of License Manager. License Manager is focused on helping you manage your software license compliance, by taking software license information in the form of software keys from Adobe, Microsoft etc. and sales reports from vendors like SHI and CDW and importing them directly into License Manager. By doing this, the information gathered will be compared against an online software catalogue with millions of SKUs, to tell you exactly what you own and the specific entitlements of the software, without having to research it or enter any additional information. Then this information is used against the discovery, to tell you if you are compliant from a software licensing perspective and you can compare this against software utilization to determine if you need to purchase more licenses or potentially even reduce the amount on your next renewal. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 13

15 Asset Tracking Repository / CMDB / Single Version of the Truth This is used to help you understand "WHAT SHOULD BE" currently installed on your environment and compare that against the 'WHAT IS". FrontRange HEAT - Has as part of the data model configuration tables included with the solution out of the box. Many of the core tables will allow you to manage your all of assets and in some cases may require additional Configuration Items or Asset Types to be added, to allow you to track all IT Assets/CIs. The good news is the HEAT system can be easily extended to accommodate this and we have done this for many customers. FrontRange ITSM - Has as part of the ITSM application suite a CMDB that has a very extensive data model, with a CI list that has been updated to reflect the best practices of ITILv3 and has pre-built dashboards and reports to help you manage your Assets and Configuration items. Integration - Any discovery tool information can be used to populate the Configuration/Asset tables of either HEAT or ITSM CMDB however the benefit of leveraging the FrontRange discovery solution is the extent of the pre-built integration and pre-population of the CMDB without any additional data mapping. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 14

16 Summary In summary, IT asset management can help you reduce time, control costs, re-use assets in the most efficient manner and align IT to corporate strategies. A disciplined approach that begins with scope definition, process definition, and discovery of where you are today enables you to define a roadmap of where you need to go. Further investment in new software enablement tools is often not needed as existing assets frequently will provide the right framework to support policies and governance procedures. Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 15

17 About Kifiniti Solutions The Kifinti Solutions team has been delivering Support Centre solutions since 1983 and has been helping customers implement ITIL processes since Kifinti has implemented and integrated ITSM solutions with nearly every ITSM supporting technology, from network management to knowledge management to HR to ERP including: ITIL Help desk, Incident, Problem, Asset, Change, SLA Licence, Release Management Security, Single sign-on Network Infrastructure Management Enterprise Asset Management, Customer Care / Customer Self Service Customer Contact / Call Centre Catalogue / Entitlement / Order Management Case Management / Claims Management Our premiere partners include FrontRange, Novell, LANDesk, IBM. While our head office is in Toronto, Canada, we are equipped to deliver the services and products you need anywhere across North America. Contact us for a free assessment, to book a demo, or to simply discuss your challenge. For further information, contact Paul Kelsey at (416) Kifinti White Paper Confidential Four Steps to Effective IT Asset Management Page 16

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