Historically IT asset management (ITAM) is the practice that was forgotten about by IT service management (ITSM) practitioners because it wasn’t considered a “core” ITIL process. This changed with the publication of ITIL 4, and now ITAM sits firmly in the ITIL management practice section of the service value stream.
Done well, ITAM can help organizations to manage, control and support their IT services. This blog will look at how you can use the updated ITAM practice to up your IT support game.
Knowledge is power
One of the biggest benefits of ITAM is that it helps you understand your IT digital work environment and the key assets that underpin business services. One of the biggest challenges service desk analysts face is getting the full story from the end user.
Let’s face it, when someone calls the service desk, they’re not calling for fun, they’re calling because something is broken or not working correctly. From a customer experience point of view the person is potentially stressed and anxious, worried about how they’re going to keep working and if the person who’s trying to help them has to ask a bunch of additional questions about their equipment. That’s going to add to the stress levels all around.
If the service desk technician already has access to asset information - for example what laptop the person has, the operating system, the equipment spec - that person is in a much better position to identify potential issues and potential solutions.
Improving the remote support employee experience
Hybrid working arrangements have become much more common and as such, more and more support has to be done remotely (check out this article on how the service desk can support hybrid work models). From an experience perspective, it’s very different providing support through remote desktop software than providing it in person. If you’re providing support in person, the user can see you and even if you go quiet for a few moments, they still know you’re there and actively working the issue. There are smiles or other nonverbal cues and the person feels reassured.
Remote support can be a series of tasks for both the end user and the technician; launching applications, entering admin credentials, trying different ways of getting connected if the remote support software isn’t cooperating. Even logging in or restarting can be more challenging when you’re not sitting in front of the device in question.
Having ITAM software in place can help with this because you’ll already have the information needed to connect to the device, the asset tag number, the IP address or MAC address meaning you’re much more likely to connect to it without having to ask the user lots of technical questions.
InvGate Insight is an ITAM solution that makes it quick and easy to accomplish this, having a quick and easy record of all the relevant information to have a thorough, bird's-eye view of your ITSM asset management infrastructure.
There’s isn’t a technician in the land that hasn’t had some form of the following conversation during the pandemic:
“OK, I can’t seem to connect to your PC using our support software so I’m going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. Please can you tell me your asset tag number? It should be a small sticker on the top of your laptop? It’s blue and it’ll have Asset Number - and then some letters and numbers after the dash. You don’t have one? No worries - I’ll use your IP address instead. Can you open a command prompt please? Click the windows, then run then type in CMD. The windows button, sorry we sometimes call it the start button, it’s the button that looks like a window in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Brilliant you’ve found it, now type in run then CMD. No, your computer isn’t broken -don’t worry that’s what a command prompt looks like. It’s all good, now all I need you to do is type in hostname and hit return.”
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve had that conversation over the last two years, and it’s exhausting for the end user. If you have ITAM software, you’ll already have the information needed to be able to connect to the device, making remote support easier and more effective.
More efficient software deployments
ITAM can ensure that software is installed from a central source so that only authorized, safe software is installed on end user devices. ITIL calls this definitive media library (DML). By using a DML to deploy software you ensure that only safe, appropriate licensed software is installed, and you have a consistent installation process. When installing software for an end user, if you’re using USB drives or downloading from websites, you run the risk of installing the wrong software, an incorrect version, or even a test version that isn’t appropriate for business use, introducing risk into your environment.
By using your ITAM tool to manage software installation, you already know that the software version and licensing information are correct, and the software can be installed in the background, making the whole experience more cohesive and less disruptive for the user.
Getting the most out of your discovery tool
Asset discovery is the process of discovering and collecting information on the IT assets connected to your network for management and support purposes. Discovery tools such as InvGate Insight can be game changers when it comes to knowing what equipment you have, where they’re located and their service status.
If you have a discovery tool, make sure you’re getting the benefit. So many organizations get overwhelmed by the amount of data a discovery tool can generate so really think about outcomes when using them. Some useful outcomes could be:
- Supporting your asset database quality by checking that what's captured in your asset database matches what is installed in your live environment.
- Supporting decision making. Using discovery to confirm what you already have means that you reduce the risk of making duplicate purchases or buying too many software licenses.
- Identifying assets that need to be retired because they’re no longer functional or adding value.
Try InvGate Insight to see how you can accomplish all this and more with an agile, intuitive asset management solution.
A more proactive support model
Use ITAM to springboard to a more proactive support model by using asset information to drive events and alerts. If you already have your environment mapped out, you can add alerts to each asset meaning that you can use automation to notify technical teams if a service isn't working correctly or becomes unresponsive. Build your event management practice from the information in your asset database by linking services to support teams and setting a threshold for when support needs to be called out.
Make sure the tool has the correct contact details for each team so that they can be notified by text or email in the event of an appropriate alert. This results in IT being able to proactively respond to alerts and events rather than being reliant on end users reporting them resulting in improved service levels all round.