ITAM’ing Lifecycles

Are you struggling with End-of-Support/Life forecasting?

Hey ITAM’ers,

Way too often I hear about expensive networking or infrastructure equipment that “suddenly” was announced to be upcoming end-of-life. Where do those communication disconnects happen? Is it the reseller? Is it the VAR? Is it the manufacturer? Is it ITAM? Is it the functional expert? Is it the leadership? Is it the ITAM tool?

Over the years, I have found it’s best to find the information yourself….most of the big manufacturers have a website that updates with end-of-sale, end-of-life, end-of-support announcements. You really do have to get in the habit of frequently checking these sites, and you need to know your exact hardware and software models and versions (remember those ITAM fundamentals?!). And in the grand scheme of life, those manual activities become a lower priority. Yet if you have an on-premises data center, we’re probably talking about 10+ manufacturers, therefore 10+ websites to read through and pick out the correct dates. If you’re a seasoned ITAM’er, you know that the teams are looking at you when it comes up “why didn’t we know this was coming?”

So how do we whip up some ITAM magic and make this better? From my perspective, you should put in a little TLC before you can attempt an automated workflow…

1. Talk to the manufacturers because a lot of them have a regular cadence to their end-of-whatever-stage. For example, Dell often supports PowerEdge servers 7 years after end-of-sale. These conversations will help you put a few rules into place for your asset database and asset attributes around warranty, end-of-support, and end-of-life.
a. BTW, if your VARs are not offering up this information, think about where their value is really coming from…are they helping, or just selling? Do they see the value in a long-term partnership?
2. Create a calendar you can share with the business that displays the big dollar value assets and when they are going end-of-support or end-of-life. A visual calendar can make a big statement with Finance, with the leaders, with the technology groups, and with Cybersecurity (and probably many others in your business!).
a. BTW, I find this to work best as I mention with a visual view for the non-IT groups…it’s really easy to show Finance what you know for the next 18 months. There are other groups that have used it as a list, as notifications, as reminders…do what works for your business!

Asset lifecycles are not a new concept, yet I keep finding organizations that talk about it and yet do not actually commit time to socializing it. Overall, ITAM continues to be the go-between, the hub, whatever you want to call it. Not everyone can translate between the business and technology, but ITAM’ers do it best! ITAM’ers care about the details, about building relationships both in (departments) and out (vendors) of the organization, about communication, about implementing process improvement, about taking ownership and accountability, from strategy to documentation, about innovating and improving business acumen, and about making responsible decisions.

The bottom line is that these surprises still happen way too frequently, causing organizations to scramble and adjust. And this is completely unnecessary! An asset’s lifecycle should be incredibly boring, mundane, and/or insert your buzzword here. If you are not talking with your VAR or manufacturer about lifecycles and support timelines, then you need to start immediately! ITAM can make easy magic by keeping track of these things for the business, so go make some fundamental magic. It can really make a statement and give you a solid foundation to build on.

#ITAM #spreadITAMmagic #lovewhatyoudo