IT Asset Management as a Foundation for Service Management

By John Sorensen

IT asset management is one of the IT processes that are tightly integrated with business processes like procurement, accounts payable, (goods) receiving, contract and vendor management, etc. IT asset management is also the entry point in order to facilitate business outcomes through the use of IT resources. Therefore if proper IT asset management processes had been in place from day 1 all organizations would have had a good foundation (like a LEGO® plate) in order to develop and integrate other processes on top of using ITIL®, COBIT and/or other frameworks/standards. As it’s rare to find organizations that took IT asset management this serious from the very beginning we find today many organizations struggling adding and integrating IT asset management both into its business processes and into its more or less well establish service management processes.

Also, it’s an interesting thought that this actually also means that many organizations have started implementing incident, problem and change management processes and when maturing came across the need for configuration management and a CMDB, all building blocks that to some were kind of free hanging without a foundation like a good asset management repository. This then for many organizations caused that the CMDB’s were used as asset management repositories besides facilitating the traditional CMDB use cases. Perhaps this is why many CMDB projects failed in the early days? Do you still struggle with your CMDB implementation? If yes, you may actually want to review and find the underlying reasons why that may be?

Where IT asset management in the past was focused more on hardware asset and associated contract management the shift in cost towards software being the most expensive part of any IT organization’s costs has caused a similar shift towards software asset management being in focus. Also virtualization and private and public Cloud technologies have caused complexities in software asset management that requires further attention in order to both prove compliance and optimize costs accordingly. Hardware asset management is still required, and often even in order to prove compliance when it comes to software asset management, so it becomes again a foundation to build upon. So we can kind of consider the above as different layers of sophistication where hardware asset and associated contract management becomes the foundational bottom layer, software asset and associated contract management becomes the second layer, and then service management becomes the third layer on which you facilitate business outcomes by “selling” services to the business, perhaps associated with pricing and service level agreements in contract format. The latter empowers that the IT organization can prove its value to the lines of businesses and actually prove its competitiveness in this digitally disrupted world where the lines of businesses may go shopping externally for similar services.

Likewise, the IT organization will make similar business decisions regarding sub-service subscriptions versus owning and operating the underlying infrastructure themselves, and potentially then be able to focus on internal development and adding business value when reselling its services up this supply chain of services. This will of course require new skills in IT in order to become a broker of services while at the same time controlling and managing the plethora of service providers that they may end up sub-contracting in order to stay competitive and as such a relevant business partner to the lines of business managers and the CEO. Do you feel ready for this digital disruption? Are you still trying to find your new role as IT organization? Is Service Integration And Management (SIAM) and Multi-Supplier Integration well known concepts to you? Are you sleeping well at night without fearing that a software manufacturer may call for an audit by knocking on the next morning? Do you also feel confident that the licenses covering for the installations placed in one of your service providers’ infrastructure can be proved to be compliant? Or did you forget to contractually (with the service provider) ensure that you can get hold of the underlying required hardware metrics that are required to prove software license compliance?

About the Author

John Sorensen is the Advisor, Presales lead for Service Management & Automation, EMEA for CA Technologies.