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Keeping track of stuff: the secret of service management

Ship-shape inventories or a pain in the asset?

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Workshop IT gets asked to look after a lot of stuff which it may not have had a hand in procuring or specifying. Most organisations have IT procurement policies in place but it doesn’t mean they are followed by everyone. Compound by lots of years and add a bit of M&A here and there, and we can see how easy it might be to arrive at a point where IT is in charge of managing an estate of stuff it doesn’t know much about.

Whatever the state of the equipment-acquisition cycle in your organisation, IT and the business face a raft of new and established challenges. As well as trying to deliver services which cut it in terms of performance, security, availability and price, many organisations are now also being challenged to get even more granular in the search for efficiencies and cost control.

Business and IT operations are getting the microscopic treatment, whether it’s the amount of electricity being consumed or getting to grips with software licensing costs.

This level of insight can easily be provided by a decent asset management and inventory management solution. In simple terms it’ll tell us who has what equipment and what is deployed in the overall IT infrastructure. As important as the kit itself, asset management will also deliver up to date information on what is being run and where, and associated financial and service quality details.

Who, what, where, when... why?

Asset management can provide visibility into all manner of useful things which we can then exploit to deliver and manage superior services to the business. It’s pretty easy, so long as we tell the system everything it needs to know in the first place. Ah. The gaps in our knowledge might be costing us dearly.

The bottom line is that being rubbish at asset management costs money, whether you end up overpaying for maintenance on unused equipment or missing out on volume discount agreements. Not having a decent handle on what we own and thus what we can do with it puts us at a disadvantage. it also increases the risks of falling foul of industry or legal regulations, as well as affecting our ability to, in essence, be as competitive as we could be,

Getting it right, or at least getting on top of things, helps to maximise the use of IT and boosts the return we can eke from investments. It can improve reporting and decision-making and help the business become a little more agile as it knows what it can do and what it has to do it with. It can also help us reduce waste by identifying unnecessary expenditure and streamlining procurement.

So does your organisation have a handle on this stuff? When it comes to keeping track of things do you use a home-made widget or have a formal system in place? Are you 'Happy-go-Lucky', 'Practicing Pareto' (the 80:20 rule) or 'Super Organised'?

As usual we want hear about your experiences in relation to asset management, particularly: why you believe your organisation has it licked, why you can’t seem to get it right, or the reasons for not choosing to follow this discipline at all. Get scribbling.

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