Asset and Configuration Management

Having up-to-date information on assets with basic asset management software provides the help desk with complete information when the user calls for support, which saves time. There is significant cost savings in implementing inexpensive automated tools (e.g., LANDesk, Zenworks) for inventory of hardware and software. Inventory information is most helpful in an environment with diverse hardware and software. If you do not have asset management software, keep an inventory of hardware and software components in a spreadsheet.
The inventory should include demographic information, such as the person responsible, the location, and the area of the organization using the asset. Inventory information should also include product information, such as vendor, version, release, serial number, maintenance, license, value, and cost. Update and verify the information as the asset moves throughout the life cycle or is used in other processes, such as the problem management process when issues are reported. Also, report and review asset information on a regular basis. If you lease equipment, make sure you keep accurate records so you are able to account for and return equipment at the end of the lease period if necessary.
Top Tip: Standard image

"We saved money by standardizing our operations area. All PCs were a global standard and imaged the same. This saved money with volume discounts, reduced support headcount, as well as realized productivity savings."
—Gail Farnsley
Purdue University
(former Cummins CIO)

Use asset information for inventory management, asset and hardware refresh planning, service history, and license management. Also, have a documented list of standard hardware and software with controls in place so unapproved software or hardware cannot be used. Having effective asset management of software helps in avoiding inflated licensing fees, cost-effectively reallocating licenses, and using only what you need. One company saved a significant amount of money by implementing a tool that provided automatic visibility to installed software and monitored the usage, or lack thereof. They used this information to ensure compliance with software licenses, to monitor adherence to corporate policies, to redistribute software licenses, and to assist with renewal negotiation with the vendors. In fact, some companies reported a cost savings of up to 30 percent of software licenses by having a good asset management process in place.
Have an up-to-date network configuration chart and picture of the business applications environment. It saves time since many people need this information to do their jobs more effectively.

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