Musings on personal and enterprise technology (of potential interest to professional technoids and others)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Pragmatist's Guide to Structuring IT Asset Data, Scott Parkin, eWeek, 2008-01-18

A nice article describing the real-world ILM challenges for IT asset management. The ITSM benefits of of linking the asset's service-incident history to the incident-management system, including hard and soft costs per outage, seem significant. However, this does not seem common among the vast majority of the COTS helpdesk systems I have seen over the years, and certainly not among the Service Management modules of major ERP systems, let alone with integrated continuous auto-discovery/maintenance of all hardware and software assets found on the network... sigh....

Here is a snippet from the full eWeek article :

"... Track initial acquisition costs, including asset purchase, required peripheral or supporting devices, operating system and software (as needed), and service contracts:

Most of this data will come from purchase orders; some will need to be calculated as a pro-rata share of a bulk purchase or license agreement.

For new purchases, update your purchasing process to include calculating and tracking this data in your asset record; for existing assets you will need to create a project to go back and aggregate/calculate this information and add it to your asset records.

Track ongoing maintenance costs, including annual service contracts, upgrade or replacement parts and the costs associated with Service Desk incidents for each device.
Ideally, this information is collected at the time of purchase or service and is immediately attached to the asset's service history record as a function of your established process. You should update your Incident management process to support this, whether you update the asset record manually or through automated technology.
This can be the single most daunting task in the mix; extracting and aggregating historical data for existing assets is a gargantuan task. Many organizations choose to simply start tracking this data as of a specific date and leave existing data unstructured. This is a good method for those organizations that are resource-constrained and willing to wait for highly qualified data.
Identify replacement costs for hardware, software and infrastructure elements. Remember to include both disposal costs for existing assets and install/deployment costs for new assets.
For commodity items such as end-user hardware (desktop, laptop) and software, these costs should be predictable within a range and will tend to be updated once a year as new contracts are negotiated.
For high-impact or high-value items, the cost of purchase may only be a small part of the total costs, and those costs may be difficult to estimate. This data is intended for planning purposes and should be reviewed at the time of planning, so supply a best estimate with supporting documentation to be used as a starting point for further research, not as an authoritative declaration.
The key benefit here is being able to quickly view approximate costs for individual assets, to aggregate that data by department or cost center and to use that data in research and planning efforts...."

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