IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a set of practices that help your organization account for all IT-related purchases. ITAM is an important component of any ITSM strategy, allowing your business to reduce costs and boost overall efficiency.
Jump to the main takeaways:
From hardware like servers and employee computers to software licenses and operating system installations, there’s no restriction to the kind of assets you can manage using your ITAM process. That said, expert-level ITAM should:
- Allow you to pinpoint the location (office, desk, computer hard drive, etc.) of an IT asset
- Provide you with an asset’s usage details (i.e. - Is it being used? By whom? How often?)
- Give you the tools you need to ensure that all your IT-related tools are maintained and, in the case of licensing, renewed in accordance with your business’ overall vision.
Successful ITAM practices will have a direct impact on your organization’s ability to achieve its short and long-term goals. Aside from cost reduction and enhanced productivity, your business can leverage ITAM to grow and scale your operations.
In this blog post, I’ll show you how to streamline your ITAM practices in Jira Service Desk (JSD) and, in so doing, get the most out of your resources while also establishing a strong sense of IT governance.
Let’s get into it!
Use a Strong CMDB Data Modeling Foundation to Build Your ITAM Approach
The foundation upon which successful ITAM is built is sound data modeling. It may not be the sexiest topic in the world, but it’s an incredibly important aspect of ITSM that dictates how well (or not) you manage your assets.
Structuring assets using clear data modeling techniques isn’t a new concept but, as this Forbes article points out, it’s only relatively recently that it’s become a priority for large-scale businesses:
“The moment that your application starts becoming part of a broader network [...] the more people use not just the data but the model itself. Enterprise data modeling has emerged only comparatively recently (within the last decade or so) as the scope of applications have become large enough that a consistent vocabulary becomes necessary.”
However, just because enterprise data modeling has emerged as a essential field of expertise doesn’t mean that the practices associated with it have evolved or even been standardized in a Jira context.
Dima Korolev put it succinctly in his Medium post on the subject: “Software is eating the world. Unfortunately, data is eating software even faster.”
If you want to use ITAM to get you to that next level of productivity, you need to get your data organized. Otherwise, attaining operational efficiency is all but impossible.
Excellent data modeling in Jira can be accomplished by using a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). A CMDB acts as a complete cross-section of your organization’s IT assets across your JSD environment. Its purpose is not only to list asset details but also to map the dependencies between them and showcase how they interact with one another to benefit your business.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the majority of business decisions are now influenced by those IT assets and how they function as an ensemble, almost 80% of CMDB initiatives end in failure.
Reasons for this include:
- Inefficient data importing, usually caused by tools unfit for the task
- Subpar data reconciliation once it’s in JSD, leading to redundant asset listings
- The inability to update changes from the production environment in the CMDB
- Competing internal priorities that detract from the project’s overall purpose
That last point is arguably the most egregious data modeling sin you can commit in Jira. You can avoid falling prey to it by tying your CMDB data modeling goals to larger initiatives focused on bettering your business outcomes.
Here’s Cherwell’s Jarod Greene with more:
“Out of the box, the CMDB is an enabler with no intrinsic business value. The onus is on the IT organization to give it value, and that value must be tied to making the business better. A simple example is improving sales productivity by ensuring increased change success of the sales order processing application. This is more than feasible – it’s the role IT plays in supporting the business.”
Increased collaboration leads to more operational transparency, which in turn makes it far easier to interlink different asset dependencies and create data-driven relationships in JSD. Establishing a trustworthy single source of truth will go a long way to streamlining your asset management processes.
Use Your IT Asset Inventory to Get a Clear View of Your Services and Tools
Once that CMDB is created, your global IT asset inventory can also be used as a tool that minimizes the number of miscommunications about service issues.
That kind of inefficiency continues to be a huge problem in the IT world. As I mentioned previously on our blog, 62% of a service desk agent’s time is spent “fire-fighting,” while 90% of front-line staffers said that their organization’s asset management needed to be better.
Clearly, the majority of IT service environments aren’t operating at peak efficiency.
The ability to use your ITAM infrastructure to get a clear picture of your assets and their dependencies is critical to answering even the most basic of IT questions. This goes double for organizations that attempt to scale their operations and, by association, the scope of their services.
Jeff Battaglino said it best in this blog post:
“As IT organizations grow in size and complexity, it becomes exponentially more difficult to manually keep track of what assets the organization owns, where they are deployed, and who is controlling them. Inadequate oversight of IT assets exposes the organization to unnecessary risk: old hardware must be disposed through the proper channels to ensure that company data is destroyed or migrated and cannot be stolen by competitors or nefarious actors, and software installations must be tracked to ensure compliance with software license agreements.”
Successfully visualizing those asset dependencies also supports accurate risk assessment that informs other key ITSM practices like incident management, change management, and problem management.
As Battaglino notes in the same piece:
“Change managers can use the CMDB to understand the relationships between configuration items and anticipate which users, systems, software, and that configuration items could be affected by an upcoming change. In turn, change managers can implement strategies to reduce the risk of business disruption and ensure that the change process is conducted smoothly without causing outages.”
The clarity of your IT asset infrastructure will put the information you need to properly assess asset value at your fingertips. Making those insights accessible across your JSD instance to all service agents, external stakeholders and even end users ensures that pinpointing and resolving IT-related issues will be painless instead of painful.
CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and other high-level decision-makers also benefit greatly from ITAM database clarity. McKinsey observed that ITAM success stories often hinge on how easily management can broaden their knowledge beyond just the technical and determine not just their level of IT spending but also the value generated through asset acquisition and usage.
Knowledge is power, right? Well, if knowledge is power, and Jira is the vessel through which that knowledge is acquired, then a clearly structured ITAM foundation is what continues to fuel so much optimization for businesses who use the platform.
Benefit from a Reduced MTTR Through ITAM Automation
One of the most impressive ITAM functionalities available through different JSD apps, including Insight, is the ability to deploy various automation triggers, including custom fields.
Whether we’re talking about autofilling certain aspects of a service ticket with up-to-date asset information or setting up notifications about upcoming software license expiration dates, automation in your Jira environment will allow you to benefit from a greatly reduced Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR).
In basic terms, MTTR is the length of time it takes your organization to get a failed IT service or asset up and running again. It goes without saying that the shorter this timeframe is, the better off your organization is overall.
Unfortunately, even the biggest players in the tech industry can fall prey to long outage periods. Take Amazon and their Prime Day glitches that, for two years running, have resulted in hundreds of millions in lost revenue and even a drop in their stock price. In their case, just a couple of hours of error messages had a huge impact. Competitors licked their chops:
As I demonstrated earlier, smooth incident management relies heavily on the information in your ITAM database, but it actually goes deeper than that. How you use that data to automate the issue diagnosis part of your resolution cycle can mean the difference between a swift, positive response to the problem or a prolonged, frustrating absence of services.
In particular, using custom fields in service ticket forms empower support agents to identify all the assets related to ongoing issues, and to route the tickets to the right department or personnel. Automation triggers can also keep end users updated when there’s a change in the ongoing issue, including when the resolution process has been concluded.
MetricNet’s global benchmark database has the average incident MTTR time at just under 9 business hours, with the high end of their range ballooning to 27.5 (!) business hours. Zendesk claims that, in some cases, it can take half a day to receive a response to a ticket submitted via email or an online form.
I’m going to go out on a limb that you’d (rightfully) find a 12-hour initial response time to your question or problem unacceptable.
Without strong automation integrated into your Jira ITAM practices, your organization won’t be living its best life from an uptime perspective. To truly unlock the full power of your IT services, you need to leverage your asset database into a single source of truth that can be utilized for seamless automation in JSD.
Let ITAM Show You the Way to Service Growth and Scalability
If growing and scaling your business operations is in your short or even long-term plans, managing your IT assets efficiently in one environment–in this case, Jira–becomes even more crucial.
The logic behind this is simple: As your business takes a larger inventory of assets and becomes more and more reliant on the stability of asset dependencies, bouncing between various platforms and syncing reams of data between them becomes untenable at best.
Therefore, being able to seamlessly migrate and manage pre-built assets from other platforms into a singular JSD ecosystem is another key aspect of successful ITAM practices. CIO explain as much on their blog:
“Having spreadsheets scattered around various computers, network drives and SharePoint is not an effective way to do companywide asset management. To be successful, it is important to agree on a common asset repository to be your organization's one source of truth. Ideally, this repository is linked to a service management system capable of tracking assets throughout their lifecycle to keep records current.”
You want to be able to oversee assets that reside in or depend on cloud instances too operated by major service providers like Google Cloud, AWS, Azure, and SCCM. Additionally, other third-party software development, DevOps and database tools should all be living under the same roof, ideally in more harmonious fashion than those people MTV picked to live in the same house that one time.
With so many IT assets that exist outside of JSD, it’s very likely that integrations will be a major factor in the success or failure of your ITAM strategy. Whether you use a CMDB or another mode of organization to establish that single source of truth, a business cannot grow and realize its full potential if its team members aren’t drawing from the same information.
The integration or data migration process can also help you weed out any IT assets that have become redundant or otherwise expendable relative to your business goals. Gartner summed it up in this ITAM study:
“It’s essential to thoroughly assess and evaluate tools [...] This provides an opportunity to rigorously test software with real data and fully explore integration with existing systems and environments.”
With worldwide IT spending expected to increase 1.1% to $3.79T in 2019, investing in technology is at the top of most companies’ priority lists. However, what you’re spending that money on and how easily they integrate into your JSD environment matters just as much. Adding unnecessary bloat and complexity to your IT infrastructure will inhibit growth instead of facilitate it.
Recap: Your Organization’s Future is in Your Hands
Expert ITAM has never been a more vital component of a business’ global ITSM practices. It’s a subsection of the IT services industry that continues to grow in scope as well, which means the time to plan, implement and refine your asset management infrastructure is now.
While there are many platforms that can help you streamline your ITAM journey, JSD remains our top choice because of its data modeling, database, automation and IT governance capabilities. On top of that, the flexibility of how you can adapt the Jira ecosystem to meet your organization’s specific needs takes the stress out of growing and scaling your operations.
To thrive in today’s interconnected digital landscape, getting the most out of your IT assets is key, which makes powerful ITAM an indispensable part of any organization’s path to success.
In short, ITAM is essential for getting a clear view of all your IT-related assets, monitoring expenditures on hardware and software tools, and refining how those resources are used to help you meet your business goals.
If you’re looking for top Jira tool that can add customizability, flexibility, transparency, and accurate informational context to your asset management practices, I’d recommend giving Riada’s Insight a test drive. One of the most respected ITSM apps in the Atlassian Marketplace, it has helped organizations of all sizes leverage their IT assets to accomplish great things.
Get started today!
Originally published Jul 17, 2019 12:00:00 PM
Late 2019, we did a brand split. Mindville is the company behind the Insight products. Riada provides expert consultancy services on all things Atlassian. Riada can be found at riada.se. Mindville is an Atlassian Platinum Top Vendor and Riada is an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner.
Topics: Asset Management