IT asset management (ITAM) is an IT management practice that sadly doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. When the COVID-19 crisis hit us, IT departments across the globe scrambled to react, overtime was authorized, and hopefully automation was introduced and self-service was promoted. But now that we’re returning to normal (or something like it), ITAM is a corporate capability that will make the difference – from “keeping the lights on” to significantly improving employee experience by supporting flexible working, increasing resilience, and reducing risk.
To help you to appreciate the value of ITAM, this blog looks at how it could play an important part in supporting your IT organization’s operations and outcomes in the new normal.
Know what you have
ITAM will help you to track your IT assets, including the additional equipment that was purchased to enable home working during the lockdown (or whatever you experienced in your region). Peripherals like monitors, keyboards, and mice don’t need to be subjected to the full configuration management process but likely still need to be tracked for support and cost purposes.
You might think that paying $30 for a keyboard and mouse isn’t a big deal, right? But multiply this by a thousand and you’re talking big money. Having an IT asset database in place will make it easy to keep track of your equipment. Especially if you template and/or automate your most commonly occurring inventory or asset requests such that your business colleagues can get what they need in a couple of clicks.
Design for flexibility and a better employee experience
ITAM will help you to maintain and support remote work practices. Working during lockdown meant that many people moved away from their traditional desktop PC set up to laptops, tablets, and cloud-based services. Now some employees will return to the office, some will remain as homeworkers, and some will work in a flexible way across multiple locations.
ITAM can support this by ensuring that new hardware purchases are prioritized to support front line services and those most in need. And that cloud-based licensing is in place for SaaS software…
Ensure that you cover your cloud obligations
The world is different now. During the lockdown, many organizations found that using SaaS or hosted applications made both employee-working and IT support easier. For instance, in reducing the need for associated hardware or complex VPN solutions. The cloud has been a game-changer for many remote workers, but you still need to have the appropriate licensing and support documentation in place.
So, when reviewing your IT asset database make sure there’s provision for SaaS licensing structures and that you have a solid process for managing joiners, leavers, and movers such that subscriptions can be ceased or reallocated accordingly along with traditional software licenses. Thus ensuring that you don’t suddenly become over or under licensed.
Support operational resilience
Before the COVID-19 crisis, availability was the name of the game. Your service was up? Then, happy days. Nothing to see here, we can all go on with our day. But here’s the thing. It’s not good enough for a service to be up, it needs to be able to adapt to changing working conditions and still be usable.
Hence, when designing or reviewing your ITAM practice make sure you build in provision for managing different and changing working scenarios. For example, rather than having one central definitive hardware store, have multiple locations so that equipment can be delivered to a person’s home address or be accessible via a smart locker. Be able to fulfill emergency asset demands and software installs. Also, plan for disruption – not only the potential for a second wave of the pandemic but also recognize that there’ll always be that last-minute project requirement or change in team numbers. So, make sure your operating model can flex accordingly.
Ensure compliance and be prepared for software audits
As the world returns to work, many software vendors will be rescheduling delayed software audits. This situation, combined with the fact that there’s been a spike in online collaboration services such as Zoom, Office 365, and Amazon workspace, means the chances are that you’ll be audited sooner rather than later.
So, if you’ve (very understandably) not run an internal compliance audit recently, now is the time to make sure that everything is all above board. Plus, a final thing to consider is that many cloud providers offered free trials during the height of lockdown – so, make sure that the appropriate license has been bought or an alternative service is in place before the free trial period ends.
How do you think your organization’s ITAM capabilities will change following the COVID-19 crisis? Please let us know in the comments.