What is IT Asset Management?

What is IT asset management? When someone refers to asset management or ITAM they are talking about the process of tracking all of the assets that belong to an organization and are deployed, upgraded, maintained or shelved (disposed of) when no longer needed. An asset can be a piece of technology – like a laptop computer or printer – or software systems and licenses.

Most organizations use IT service management (ITSM) software to help manage assets. By using an ITSM tool with ITAM capabilities, you can have a single source of truth when it comes to seeing which assets are in use, where they are in use and who is using them. This centralized approach allows IT to manage all assets effectively and efficiently within the organization – something that’s become especially critical with the rise of remote work and remote education.

In addition to visibility, ITAM is critical to ITIL processes. ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, and describes the processes, procedures, tasks and checklists that can be applied by an organization as part of an overall IT strategy; to improve customer delivery; or to maintain a certain level of competency organization-wide.

The ITIL framework bases itself on the five phases of the service life cycle:

  1. Service Strategy
  2. Service Design
  3. Service Transition
  4. Service Operation
  5. Continual Service Improvement

The guidelines set out the necessary processes, associated challenges and best practices for each phase of the service life cycle, as well as the requirements for the implementation of each phase. 

Asset Management Requirements

IT asset management (ITAM) should be comprehensive – providing full scope asset tracking, as well as the ability to manage status, relationships and ownership of assets. 

Each asset type can track all data necessary to manage the asset and the asset’s lifecycle. Assets can be created in the system via the out-of-the-box discovery solution; you can use the upload tool with data from another platform; you can use an API, or manually input the asset – with TeamDynamix you get the flexibility you need to manage assets in multiple ways. 

Enterprise-Wide Asset Management

To work effectively across the enterprise, system administrators need to be able to create multiple asset applications that allow for the management of different assets by different departments or organizations. Each application has its own administrators, configurations and set of assets.

A technician with appropriate access can interact with assets from all asset applications while providing service. Additionally, assets should be able to have multiple departments, groups and users associated with them. Multiple asset applications can also be created if different departments or groups want to manage their own assets. 

Smart Asset Discovery & Import

Asset Discovery Services are also needed for automatic detection and input across Windows, MAC, Linux, Chrome, and networked devices (WMI, SSH, SNMP, UPnP). 

Technicians should also be able to upload or connect via an API and seamlessly integrate with discovery tools such as SCCM, Casper or any SQL, MYSQL, Kaseya or Oracle-based discovery and monitoring solution via the asset importer integration tool. 

In addition, being able to work directly with the mapping file for Microsoft SCCM will allow you to have one platform to manage the full ITSM life cycle. 

Integrated Asset Management Helps Reduce Wasted Time

At Volunteer State Community College, the IT department uses TeamDynamix for ITSM in addition to asset management, and the platform has been instrumental in loaning laptops, webcams, headsets, and other technologies to students so they could learn remotely during the pandemic.  

When Les Norwood became manager of client services for the IT department at Volunteer State Community College in 2012, the department operated as a small “mom-and-pop shop,” in his words. Despite supporting more than 11,000 students and about 1,000 faculty and staff at this public community college in Tennessee, the client services team did not have the systems in place to deliver high-quality IT service. Its ticketing system was little more than a note-taking application, and the team had no organized way to triage service requests. 

“We have 500 pieces of equipment that we’ve loaned to students,” Norwood says. “With TeamDynamix, we can easily see who’s got what and be efficient at distributing and tracking all of those devices. I don’t have a clue how we would have done that before without this software.” Keeping track of all computers, servers, switches and other IT infrastructure within TeamDynamix also allows IT staff to troubleshoot problems more effectively. With the implementation of TeamDynamix, a lot has changed. The college’s client services team has adopted IT service management (ITSM) best practices to improve its delivery of service. “It’s been a paradigm shift for us,” Norwood says. 

Norwood’s next goal is to take advantage of the platform’s project portfolio management (PPM) features to manage IT projects more efficiently. “In the beginning, we wanted a ticketing system that wasn’t as much of a headache. But with TeamDynamix, we found a system that lets us look to the future,” he concludes. “It allows us to do so many things. We’re just scratching the surface of its capabilities.” 

Using Automation to Track Assets with TeamDynamix

Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) uses TeamDynamix ITSM and iPaaS (an integration and automation tool) to manage their service delivery, including ITAM.

With iPaaS the IT team has been creating internal automations to help with ITAM. If you’re not familiar with iPaaS, it’s a tool that enables you to use out-of-the-box connectors to common applications and systems to easily automate IT processes without needing complex coding skills, creating true Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) functionality.

For instance, WesternU Enterprise Applications Administrator David Mitchell created an automated workflow to help with inventory control by connecting TDX iPaaS with their mobile device management (MDM) software. If an employee has a computer that hasn’t checked in within six months, Technical Support automatically receives a ticket that contains information about the device pulled from the MDM so they can follow up with the employee.

Another automated workflow was built to address out-of-compliance Mac computers. Mitchell said they were having an issue with people taking home devices and then never using them again, so they built a workflow to monitor computer assets. What the workflow does is add Macs that haven’t checked in for 365 days to a group in Jamf. That group gets monitored by a webhook in Jamf that then sends data to iPaaS. When iPaaS receives the data, it pulls the details from Jamf and the details from TDX Assets. A ticket is then created automatically for the appropriate group with information about the Mac (who the owner is, its location, etc.). A post is also created in a special MS Teams channel with all of the same information as the ticket, with links.

Mitchell has also created a workflow using Jamf Pro, the asset management functionality of TeamDynamix ITSM and iPaaS to make sure the assets were up-to-date and match each other in both systems. If they aren’t iPaaS can reconcile the data.

Finally, WesternU has also automated processes for updating inventory records when a device is rebuilt or repaired.

“Small things that used to take 10 minutes here or five minutes there can save a lot of time when automated,” Nic Hayes, lead technical analyst and project manager for the university’s Oregon campus, explains. “All of those minutes add up quickly. We’re excited about what iPaaS can do for us.”

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