ITAM Mobile Solutions – Evaluating Process Improvements and Solutions

By Nasrin Azari

In today’s competitive business climate, IT Asset Managers are being asked to do more with less while facing continued scrutiny that requires tighter inventory controls, better integrity of their CMDB or asset repository, and greater visibility into ITAM operations. As a result, many corporate and federal IT departments are seriously evaluating various products, technologies, and process improvements to help cut costs while increasing efficiency and workforce productivity.

If you have not yet implemented an effective mobile solution to support your mobile ITAM workers, the addition of a mobile software solution helps streamline operations, refine processes, and increase data integrity. Even if you have attempted an implementation previously with little to no success, it is worth revisiting. Taking this crucial step simply allows your department to work smarter and accomplishes more with fewer resources.

How a Mobile Solution Fits into ITAM

When your ITAM workers are receiving new or returned assets, they are at a loading dock, receiving office, or at a central facility, away from their desk, and away from their ITAM application interface. How are asset records created for these new assets? Are these new asset records tied appropriately to the financial system/purchase order?

When your ITAM workers are on location, installing and deploying new equipment, shipping refurbished computers to waiting end-users, performing a yearly physical inventory, or supporting a move, how quickly and accurately are these changes reflected in your ITAM database? What is the process for making sure new information on existing assets gets recorded?

With a mobile solution, field workers can access a backend database directly on their mobile devices – smartphones, barcode scanners, tablets, or other appropriate form factor – and instantly process and report information to a centralized CMDB or Asset Repository. Data is accurate, current, and timely, allowing for better decision-making and complete asset visibility.

Enhanced Process Examples

Imagine your mobile ITAM workforce, equipped with a barcode scanner that allows them to create new asset records, scan in associated PO number, serial number, and newly attached asset tag, immediately capturing these relationships and storing them in your CMDB/Asset repository.

Imagine the process for capturing new location information during a move of 200 various pieces of IT equipment: the ITAM worker selects the new location and simply scans in the asset tag of each asset being moved. In a matter of minutes, the scanned data is processed and synchronized directly into the CMDB.

An effective mobile software solution can provide process and efficiency improvements for many ITAM operations, including receiving assets on the dock, performing wall-to-wall physical inventories, managing move/add/change operations in the field, and processing mass asset changes.

Benefits

A few of the immediate benefits of deploying an effective, secure mobile ITAM solution include:

Efficiency/Productivity

  • Provide data access and data capture at point of action
  • Use barcode scanning to quickly capture barcoded data
  • Optimize user experience with advanced UI features
  • Eliminate duplicate efforts and unnecessary travel time

Data Integrity

  • Use of barcode and/or RFID scanning removes tendencies for “fat-fingering” or mis-typing data entry
  • Data entry errors are minimized with client-side validation of data
  • Ability to enter data at the point of action provides real-time updates to the CMDB

Operational

  • Enforce best-practice processes for daily IT Asset management
  • Achieve ITIL, Sarbanes-Oxley or other regulatory compliance
Tips for Evaluating Mobile Software Solutions

With the almost daily influx of new devices and mobile operating systems, selecting an effective mobile solution can seem daunting and extremely complex. The following tips will help you make a more informed evaluation of the different mobile technologies on the market today. The mobile solution should:

  • Accommodate your existing system(s) and application(s) as well as allowing for future growth in your organization, supporting additional users, additional applications, and additional mobile platforms/devices
  • Have proven security features that meet the information assurance requirements of your organization (these vary from simple to government-endorsed security levels)
  • Accommodate specific exposure requirements for forms, fields and tables in even the most complex environments
  • Feature a crisp, easy-to-use experience, resulting in rapid adoption by mobile users
  • Be easily deployed with no “gotchas” during the implementation phase
  • Allow flexible control and validation functionality in the mobile user interface to ensure high quality data capture and effective error detection
  • Operate in both online and offline environments to enable real-time updates when connectivity is allowed and available, but also provide full functionality when connectivity is limited or unavailable

In conclusion, a mobile solution can help transform an ITAM environment with increased efficiencies, increased data integrity, and reduced costs. However, be sure to carefully evaluate mobile software solutions at the outset, as proper due diligence will reduce your chances of delays and false starts.

About the Author

Nasrin Azari

Nasrin Azari is the President of Mobile Reach.