Do you know where your IT assets are? Do you realize how much money is lost or information security is at risk by not having a solid asset management process? Asset Management is not just a trend or process du jour. It is a process that is helping IT organizations significantly reduce waste associated with lost or unused assets for many years. And, it is a key component to any information security plan.
I know what you’re thinking. Automating the inventory of assets is a down right tedious and daunting process. You’re right. On the surface, it is. However, with the right mindset, plan, and toolset, it doesn’t have to be.
This is where ServiceNow comes in. ServiceNow has transformed how organizations manage their assets.
First, what is Asset Management and why should you care? Asset management is not just knowing where all your PCs are. The scope of asset management is quite broad. It encompasses managing the asset lifecycle from planning to disposal (including hardware, software, and other assets), providing cost-effective mechanisms for purchasing and managing assets, controlling stockrooms and inventory levels, defining and managing standards/policies/processes/procedures, and implementation of asset management tools, as well as achieving compliance with standards, vendors, and regulations. You can see there is a lot involved in managing assets. We’ve seen the benefits far outweigh the costs since it can help manage (and optimize) costs associated with capital expenditures, unused assets, software licenses and maintenance contracts, and reduce the overall asset lifecycle, which can be significant.
Historically speaking… Asset management has been performed for a long time; however, at different levels of discipline primarily depending on the industry. Highly regulated environments have been managing their assets for a long time in an effort to help control costs, reduce information security risk, and comply with regulations. Over the past decade or so, other industries have realized how important it is to manage assets from both a cost and information security perspective. In the early 2000’s, large enterprise software and hardware companies were performing regular audits to determine if customers were paying for all of the software licenses and hardware maintenance contracts they were utilizing. This caused serious concerns for some organizations that were not up to date on their asset management. In some instances, large financial fines were levied on organizations as well as the costs of the unpaid licenses in use. This drove some companies to implement asset management at some level, whether very rudimentary or more advanced.
ServiceNow to the rescue! We have noticed a trend with asset management and ServiceNow. If companies were already managing their assets, it is typically implemented as part of the first or second phase of the ServiceNow program. If it’s a new process to the organization, it’s a little further down the roadmap—perhaps phase III or beyond to implement since asset management involves culture change and people from multiple teams, such as procurement, finance, and facilities. Early on, ServiceNow had a robust asset management capability and was straight forward to implement. It included the ability to manage hardware and software assets that were integrated with the CMDB. The ability to bundle assets, manage consumables (mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc.) and manage stockrooms and inventory pretty much provided a full asset management capability. Then ServiceNow stepped it up by adding the ability to depreciate assets, add disposal information and status, and the ability to manage fixed assets. The big efficiency gain was realized with the integration of the asset module with the service catalog and procurement modules which provided the ability to automate the initiation of the asset management process from requesting, procuring, and receiving assets.
With the implementation of ServiceNow asset management, organizations have an automated method to track hardware, software licenses purchases, and associated entitlements. This provides a significant efficiency gain for clients managing assets since this automates some very manual (and error prone) and labor intensive procedures. ServiceNow has significantly improved many organizations’ ability to manage their assets by reducing the procurement cycle time, the time and labor associated with physically managing assets and reconciling software licenses, and providing Just-In-Time inventory so companies aren’t carrying over costs associated with dormant assets. All this done in semi-real-time vs. once or twice a year–which caused organizations to always be in “catch-up” mode.
What are you waiting for? Asset management is one of those processes that may seem to be overwhelming because of the rigor required and the many tentacles it has into several facets of the organization. However, the return is significant based on the ability to know where all your assets are, who/what are they entitled to, their associated costs, and the reduction of waste and redundancy. ServiceNow is a powerful tool to use for managing your assets—we know because we have implemented it for many clients and have seen the numerous time, labor, and cost benefits. Now the question for you is… What are you waiting for?
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