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Asset Management | 9 MIN READ

This is How to Create a Successful Jira Asset Management Process

IT asset management in Jira Service Desk (JSD) is leveraged by organizations around the world to cut down on issue resolution time and optimize their IT service management (ITSM). However, if you don’t have a sound strategy in place, it can be a messy and even intimidating process to establish.

Jump to the main takeaways:

 Master Data Modeling Basics
 Structure Assets Using a CMDB
 Visualize Asset Dependencies
 Use Automation to Streamline Operations
 Encourage Transparency Through IT Governance
 Asset Management: Key to Business Health

 

A world without streamlined asset management in JSD is one that increasing numbers of professionals have grown to dread. According to 2016 survey numbers from SDI Europe, 62% of a service desk’s time is spent on “fire-fighting,” while 67% of IT service employees admitted to feeling pressure at work.

It should come as no surprise, then, that 90% of those respondents admitted that their organization’s asset management approach needed to be more efficient. The SDI report also summed up why this need is near the top of many company’s short-term priority lists (emphasis mine):

“Boosting efficiency can take many forms, from investment in new and innovative tools and technologies to the analysis and improvement of processes and procedures. Seeking to be more efficient is a worthy cause, with the subsequent increase in business value a worthwhile return on any investments.”

I've talked about the positive effects of successful ITSM on this blog before, but the underlying importance of having a solid asset management practice as a starting point has never been more crucial for businesses looking to expand or overhaul their technology use.

Let's explore how you can go about crafting seamless asset management practices in JSD, starting with:

 

Master Jira Asset Management Basics Like Data Modeling

In an IT context, asset management is defined as a subsection of business management that is tied to an organization’s IT infrastructure. Different categories of assets range from hardware components (such as servers or computers) to software components (including operating systems and application suites like Microsoft Office), and much more.

Building practices that allow you and other staff to organize, interlink and update details to those IT assets has become vital in determining true business value in the digital marketplace. As Gartner puts it:

“Today's accounting metrics were created during the Industrial Age and are not able to accurately capture the value created by information age companies with significant intangible assets, such as knowledge, branding, intellectual property and unique business processes.”

As with any business-related practice, you need to crawl before you can walk. In JSD, that means mastering asset management basics like data modeling. This involves not just importing existing asset details into Jira via a third-party app, but doing so with purpose.

In other words, why are you structuring your assets in a given way? How will that benefit your organization? Do you leave your team enough room to be flexible with that information going forward?

To answer those questions and others like them, you’ll need to start out with at least a rough plan of attack. Even if you're creating multiple data models as part of a larger enterprise scope, you can always change it as needed or make incremental improvements over time.

That said, freestyling this part of asset management is never a good idea.

The core of a successful asset management solution lies in the data model, so putting the effort into understanding current flaws in your data model and (re)designing a more efficient version will pay off in spades, especially as your business grows and scaling your interconnected IT assets becomes more and more crucial to your success.

 

Structure Your Assets Using a CMDB Hierarchy

Efficient IT asset management and, by association, a strong sense of organizational IT governance, requires a commitment to thorough organization and prioritization of information. More often than not, businesses entrenched in JSD optimize this hierarchy by using a Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

Modeling your assets in a CMDB is one of the touchstones for the operational success for both IT and non-IT teams. Not only can it work seamlessly together with other ITSM processes to foster an agile environment for different types of workflows, but it also allows stakeholders to maintain governance, traceability, and control of all changes that are made.

When structured and updated in conjunction with various service catalogs and other customer or HR databases, efficient CMDBs can help standardize your organization’s asset management practice, even if it’s a decentralized one involving many different players.

For example, after implementing their CMDB as a hierarchy for their IT-related data, a major North American research university was able to establish and operate a single, cost-effective system that integrated all their decentralized service desks in an ITIL-compliant environment. As a result, they boosted productivity and reduced misrouted service ticket requests by 80%.

That last point is key to slashing resolution time for service issues. As the university’s Chief IT Architect explained, the level of IT governance one achieves by structuring a CMDB helps avoid major personnel-related efficiency blockers:

“Governance was key to maintaining their service catalogue [...] It’s basically breaking down silos, breaking down the conversations and opening the teams to have a more transparent conversation - versus it’s my service, it’s my way of doing things.”

If asset management is the foundation upon which the best ITSM strategies are built, then your CMDB is the concrete, steel meshing, wood and brick that hold the structure together. If you’re bringing a mastery of data modeling basics to the table as well, the sky’s the limit in terms of what your CMDB can help your organization achieve.

 

Visualize Asset Dependencies in Jira to Plan For “What If” Scenarios

To maximize the organization, prioritization, and seamlessness of your IT service tickets and how you find solutions to those issues, being able to visualize and link asset dependencies is key.

Using this functionality with your CMDB, you can map out all your assets and how they talk with one another as smaller components of your business’ IT services. More importantly, those asset dependency visualizations will allow you to easily create “what if” scenarios and pinpoint solutions, potentially before any fires need to be extinguished.

For example, let’s say that a specific service needs to be shut down, either for a simple restart or for ongoing maintenance purposes. With asset visualizations, you can dig deeper into those dependencies and, besides direct costs related to that one service shutdown, know what or who else is affected by this issue and take steps to minimize related problems.

Visual dependencies can also benefit organizations in the midst of a large-scale digital transformation, one that requires different stakeholders to take a step back and assess which assets are worth keeping and which, if any, are creating redundancies.

Tech giant VMWare went through such a transformation, as Manager of Cloud & Productivity Engineering Dimitar Dimitrov explained: “Scope was a [very] important thing,” said. “We spent a month [meeting] with stakeholders, service owners, product owners [...] we literally had to sit down with everybody and [say], ‘Listen, do you need that?’”

That asset cleansing stage helped VMWare prioritize and streamline their asset management decision-making as they migrated tons of pre-built functionality over to JSD. Without the ability to clearly assign dependencies and overall value to certain assets, there’s little to no chance that their ITSM would’ve been carried out with any effectiveness.

 

Use Automation to Streamline Your Asset Management Process

Though everything I’ve talked about so far is important for asset management success, we now come to what is, arguably, the critical element of the entire process–automation.

As businesses become increasingly dependent on IT assets to scale their operations and generate more revenue than they did last year or last quarter, automating information related to your assets and how they operate within your Jira environment can mean the difference between a productive service desk or one that’s held back by reams of administrative work.

Let’s face it, even if you’re a small-to-medium-sized organization, there’s no way any of your staff members want to track, manipulate, or add asset dependency information manually. Expecting human beings to ensure that the information is accurate (we’re talking updated in real-time responsiveness) is simply unrealistic.

By taking the administrative work off your employees’ to-do lists, you’re allowing them to focus on value-driven projects, which will undoubtedly benefit your company more in the long run. Automation triggers are also relatively easy to set up in Jira, meaning you can cut down on all that wasted time right out of the box.

Don’t just take our word for it either. Klarna Bank, one of the biggest and most reputable FinTech companies in Europe, continues to use JSD to process hundreds of thousands of tickets and serve clients in a variety of countries. As two of their IT staffers intimated, using automation gives them the contextual information they need to get the job done:

“We have a Jira Service Desk portal for almost all in-house support at Klarna. There’s almost 2,900 customers (or employees) providing context [...] The receiving end is made up of 450 agents carrying out support functions across 35 projects - about 250,000 out of the grand total 800,000 tickets belong in here.”

By automating different asset management tasks that would normally take an unfathomable amount of time for staff members to complete manually, you’re boosting your ITSM efficiency and realizing your organization’s full IT service potential.

 

Encourage Transparency and Collaboration With Reporting and IT Governance

When your organization is relying on the data gleaned from your asset management practice, that information needs to be synced with and instantly available to all your JSD stakeholders.

By connecting assets via their dependencies and allowing automation triggers to populate custom service request tags, you can generate powerful, insightful reporting in just a few clicks. This single source of truth reinforces a collaborative, transparent operational dynamic observed by many of the top tech companies in the world.

Even if your IT and non-IT teams are operating in a heavily decentralized ecosystem, this sense of standardization and everyone being on the same page also makes IT governance easier. Conversely, settling for a messy, disorganized benchmark will negatively impact your business’ productivity, since miscommunication almost always leads to demotivation.

Let’s go back to the Klarna Bank example for a real-world example of how important this aspect of asset management is. According to company reps, their recent growth and prosperity in a crowded industry largely had to do with informational transparency and an added emphasis on getting everyone pulling in the same direction, from the same data:

"We’ve been struggling [for] a couple of years with tons of emails sent out to inform people about system incidents and to make sure that no stakeholder is overlooked [...] This new [JSD] process has reduced email traffic massively. [There’s] better visibility, traceability, and transparency among our system incidents."

Simply put, strong IT governance and accessibility to asset data and any reporting that comes from it will change the way your team members communicate amongst each other, as well as how well they’re able to resolve issues related to your IT services. As I’ve pointed out already, the ability to do this consistently will greatly impact the true value of your business.

 

Recap

Managing your various digital assets in Jira can be a daunting task, but only if you let the practice dictate how your IT services operate, instead of the other way around.

By using sound data modeling techniques, a CMDB hierarchy, automation triggers and more, you can get the most of our your ITSM practices and optimize an area of your business that may be holding you back. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what assets your organization needs to manage–it’s how and why you organize and prioritize them that makes the real difference.

Optimized IT asset management also means encouraging a collaborative, transparent culture of data accuracy and accessibility built around a single source of truth and reinforced with flexible-but-controlled IT governance. Put all those pieces together and your business will find itself in a position to disrupt your industry through purposeful IT usage.


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Originally published Jul 3, 2019 11:45:00 AM