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Tracking IT assets is critical to ensure a company is getting the right value and return on investment out of IT. It seems like a tedious process to update critical asset information every time a laptop is updated or a new server is commissioned. And it is! However, not tracking assets can cause major problems down the line. Trenegy has seen organizations lose millions of dollars per year to paying for licenses, subscriptions, or maintenance on assets no longer supported or in use. A company needs to understand and know what is owned to ensure assets are managed correctly, the right amount is paid for licensing fees, and service levels are met. Asset tracking is typically done using a CMDB (configuration management database), which is a database of a company’s assets (laptops, software, network devices, etc.).

Setting up an asset in the CMDB correctly at commissioning (when an asset is added to the portfolio) is critical. This way the asset can be tracked throughout its lifecycle, enabling IT to know when to update or retire hardware and systems. More importantly, a well-designed CMDB can track incidents and provide a clear view into trends. This information can be used to enable preventative maintenance, increasing reliability and predictability.

Implementing a CMDB is not hard. Maximizing the value of the CMDB can be achieved by starting with a good data model and then implementing strong commissioning, maintenance, and decommissioning processes.

Start with a Data Model

Create a data model to determine what kind of information IT needs and who needs it. There’s essential information that should be maintained, including end of support, end of life, criticality of the asset, etc. Specific teams within IT will need differing information. For example, the Enterprise Architecture Team might need data the Operations Team doesn’t and vice versa. Make sure this information will be captured.

Next, it’s important to develop a standard nomenclature to avoid confusion. For example, “criticality” might sound straightforward, but it could mean different things to different people.

Having this information readily available will drive policies and procedures around commissioning a new asset. It also allows for insight into incidents, such as how often a server goes down, so you know when it needs attention.

Properly Commission Assets

Bringing in new assets requires strong policies and procedures to ensure they’re secure, needed, and within budget.

Commissioning an asset needs to be considered as part of any project that introduces new hardware or software into the organization. Project teams need to be held accountable to ensure that the asset and associated information is entered into the CMDB before it is added to the environment.

As part of the commissioning process, we recommend setting a hard and fast rule: an asset should not be up and running unless the CMDB has been properly updated with complete and accurate information.

Maintaining Assets

Maintaining assets is necessary to ensure reliability and predictability. Maintenance policies and procedures should be established to ensure that any change made to an asset is properly reflected in the CMDB, even when maintaining assets “under fire” or during emergencies. Every time an asset is touched, the information in the CMDB needs to be reviewed and updated—even for something as simple as a Windows update on a particular server.

This helps ensure companies don’t waste money by retiring or replacing an asset too soon. Better, it enables an IT department to quickly respond to cyberthreats. Knowing exactly what is owned and how the assets interrelate make responding to issues and threats much quicker and less expensive. Chasing down assets because the CMDB is not up to date is a waste of time and money.

Decommissioning Assets

It is critical to update the appropriate information in the CMDB when an asset is retired or no longer needed. This ensures time isn’t wasted looking for an asset no longer in the portfolio. Or worse, paying for licensing or support on an asset or subscription that is no longer in use.

At Trenegy, we’ve helped organizations save significant amounts of money by properly tracking, maintaining, and decommissioning assets so they understand exactly what they own. To talk to our team about improving your IT organization’s ROI, email us at info@trenegy.com.

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