IT Asset Management and IT Asset Lifecycle
In February I reported on a request from a potential IT Asset Management customer to expand our excellent but conventional ITAM technology to include full Asset Lifecycle capability. In our perception, if it is to be pro-active, and provide more than just a static database for recording asset status, location, etc. Asset Lifecycle is fundamentally a Business Process Management challenge. To add value into operations, Asset Lifecycle should help ensure asset-related decisions are taken with diligence, involving all stakeholders to make sure decisions are optimal on specification and cost. Instead of just leaving it to purchasing to get the best price on new hardware or software, the organisation should ensure the original resource request from the business was optimal. Make sure the business is not over-specifying on its hardware needs, and make sure licences are not being bought when there are lower cost alternatives.
Connect Provisioning Lifecycle Management – BPM technology
Vector’s new Connect Provisioning Lifecycle Management product range – see www.connectpl.com – addresses these principles, with its Role-based Resource Catalog, Resource Request Portals, Application Access Control processes and Hierarchical Approval workflows. Underneath the business-friendly UI, Connect is fundamentally an application of Business Process Management discipline to the daily activities of request, approval and allocation of resources. So Connect already has the right foundation to support the extension to managing the lifecyles of specific asset instances – individual machines, software licenses and cloud services.
Role-centric cf Machine-centric
However, Connect uses a people- and role-centric approach to managing resource provisioning, while conventional ITAM tools (including Vector’s) use a machine-oriented approach founded on network discovery and system inventory. What was missing until now was the connections between the two environments, in the context of Asset Lifecyle.
In the Connect Provisioning environment, a business manager requests hardware and software for a new team member. Connect handles all the workflows with IT and licence management to make sure the request is appropriate, and resources are provided in time for the new team member to be effective at day one. As the hardware is taken from stores, configured with the applications, then the resources provided for that new team member change from being notional to being real. The hardware has a serial number, and the application licences are allocated out of defined licence blocks.
Making the Connection
With the connections between the two environments, the Connect-based Asset Lifecycle environment can provide the drill down from the user- and department-centric views of resource allocations, to the actual instances. This will be of significant value in many lifecycle-related activities, such as planning for software and hardware upgrades with a departmental or role focus. And while we are initially building this connection between Connect Provisioning Lifecycle Management and our own Asset Manager Pro environment, we should be able to provide the same connections to other ITAM databases, such as Microsoft’s SCCM. Now that would be fun…..