3 Discovery Mistakes to Avoid When Building an ITAM Solution

SearchSome time ago, I watched as a house was completely built and then completely dismantled because of a mistake made in the foundation.

IT discovery is an important foundation for IT asset management (ITAM) solutions, much like the foundation of a house is crucial before you can add the walls, roof, windows, electrical, and plumbing.

If your discovery information is inaccurate, you will be unable to rely on the reports that are produced.

In an article published by Computer Weekly, almost 66 percent of IT managers admit to not having a completely accurate record of their IT assets.

To ensure accuracy for your ITAM solution, avoid the following mistakes that are often made when implementing IT asset discovery.

1. Don’t confuse an audit with discovery

Gartner defines discovery as follows:

IT asset management (ITAM) entails collecting inventory, financial and contractual data to manage the IT asset throughout its life cycle. ITAM depends on robust processes, with tools to automate manual processes. Capturing and integrating autodiscovery/inventory, financial and contractual data in a central repository for all IT assets enables the functions to effectively manage vendors and a software and hardware asset portfolio from requisition through retirement, thus monitoring the asset’s performance throughout its life cycle.

IT asset discovery is an ongoing process that should be automated, whereas an audit is a one-time event.

For example, if you send a tech to document all PCs in the organization, you will have an inventory database that has a very short life before it becomes out-of-date and unreliable. Unless this process is repeated on a regular basis, it is simply an audit.

When ITAM discovery tools are deployed onto the network, your asset inventory will stay current. Discovery tools not only take inventory of devices connected to the network, but they also account for devices not connected to the network.

ITAM discovery tools can alert IT asset managers to changes in a timely manner.

Furthermore, IT assets that do not report into the ITAM solution can be flagged as missing, which is an important requirement from a security perspective.

2. Avoid discovering assets that are not relevant to your objectives

Avoid complicating the ITAM solution by attempting to do too much up front.

An asset management solution needs to mature. Asset processes will probably be altered and perfected over time. If the ITAM solution is too complicated, chances are it will fail.

Make sure the organization know the answers to the following questions:

  • Why do we need ITAM?
  • What IT assets need to be tracked?
  • How often do IT assets need to report back to the ITAM solution before they are flagged?
  • What information will be required in the ITAM reports and dashboards?

Without a clear understanding of your ITAM objectives, it will be difficult to define what should be discovered and monitored.

For example, if the organization’s objective is to track software licenses, then it makes sense to discover software and the hardware that is hosting the software.

It would not make sense to include switches, printers, and routers in the discovery process at this stage of your project. Be sure to allow your ITAM solution to be perfected and to mature before expanding the ITAM solution to include additional IT assets such as switches, routers, and printers.

If you keep the solution simple in the beginning, you will increase the chances for success.

A simple, successful ITAM solution can be matured and expanded into a larger and more reliable ITAM solution than a larger,  unreliable ITAM solution that requires constant troubleshooting and changes.

3. Don’t architect discovery until you know what type of reports are required

Reports and dashboards that are created from an ITAM solution are critical for success.

ITAM evangelist Patricia Adams wrote: “…by having an understanding of the benefits that a complete end-to-end solution can provide, CIOs, CFOs and chief security officers (CSOs) will be better able to address the issues they are facing (many unknowingly) within their particular organization.”

When you have a clear understanding of the type of reports needed for the ITAM solution, you will be much more focused when defining what IT asset information needs to be discovered.

Additionally, with accurate and relevant report data, you will be able to implement Business Value Dashboards (BVD).

BVDs enable the IT department to display technical information from the ITAM reports in a format that even non-IT managers can understand.

If you successfully show BVDs to non-IT management and executives, the value of the IT department—along with the ITAM project—will show executives a value versus a cost to the organization. BVDs make it easy for executives to make informed decisions regarding IT acquisitions, which ultimately save the organization money.

Conclusion

IT asset discovery is a foundation to an ITAM solution. Without clear ITAM objectives, it will be difficult to define what is needed for reports and dashboards. As a result, discovery tools will probably discover too much or too little.

Without a good discovery solution, the ITAM data will be unreliable, thereby costing the organization money to either fix it or start over.

Be sure to avoid these common mistakes by defining ITAM objectives and by keeping the ITAM solution simple while allowing it to mature. Otherwise, you could burden your IT employees with unnecessary tasks or overwhelm them with too much information that is not relevant to your ITAM objectives.

Check out our FREE report on why LANDESK was named ITAM Champion by Info-Tech!

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4 Questions With ITAM Insider & Why You Need an ITAM Solution Right Now

Info-Tech-Champion-CircleIn light of LANDESK recently being named Champion by the Info-Tech Research Group in the IT Asset Management Vendor Landscape Report (check out the report below!), we spoke with ITAM Product Marketing Manager Jason Christensen to get a better understanding of ITAM and what it means for business today.

1. What are the big takeaways for you from the ITAM report?

Two big takeaways from the Info-Tech Vendor Landscape report are, first, LANDESK’s positioning in the quadrant. All vendors were scored and placed as a market pillar, emerging player, innovator, or champion. LANDESK was placed in the Champion quadrant as a leading vendor with a leading product.

This shows LANDESK’s dedication to the ITAM market in providing excellent products at a great value, as well as depicting a strong market presence.

The second takeaway that stands out to me are the features evaluated in the report. These features represent a strong ITAM vendor that can deliver on what customers want and need.

LANDESK checked all of the boxes, whereas all other vendors lacked in several areas. This shows LANDESK’s breadth of capabilities.

2. Which way are the ITAM winds blowing right now? What are the trends?

When talking to customers, you get a glimpse into the biggest trends. Some that I have seen revolve around managing your assets in the cloud. As more software is moving to the cloud, organizations are looking for ways to track licenses and gain visibility into usage data.

Using ITAM for security purposes is also another trend I have been seeing. Knowing what assets you have and where they are can prevent substantial security risk.

When done right, ITAM reduces theft and loss and lowers the threat of malware from pirated software.

3. Why should IT departments consider an ITAM solution right now?

Understanding what assets you have, where they are, and how they are performing is critical for any organization. ITAM ensures your contract, license, and financial data is managed properly, saving you time and money.

In addition, tracking your hardware and software assets helps you get and stay compliant.

Software audits are on the rise. Organizations need to avoid the risks of non-compliance, not only from a financial aspect but also from a security aspect. Unsanctioned software licenses can introduce malware along with a slew of other security threats.

4. What is ITxM?

ITXM encompasses both asset management and service management. We have created the concept of ITxM because there of the variety of roles and responsibilities that crossover between the two disciplines.

For example, both incorporate request and change management. This pushes businesses to bring different sectors of the IT organization together to develop one cohesive strategy.

Be sure to check out the full report below!

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Q&A With ITAM Expert Ian Aitchison (Plus His Dream Movie)

LANDESK was recently named Champion by the Info-Tech Research Group in the IT Asset Management Vendor Landscape Report! Read the full report below.Info-Tech-Champion-Circle

In light of the good news, we interviewed ITAM expert, Ian Aitchison.

1. Talk about the Info-Tech report. What are the big takeaways for you?

It’s great to see a comparison report in this area. ITAM is an important subject. Lots of organisations are looking to improve their ITAM capabilities, but it can be daunting when faced with many different vendors that have different offerings and areas of specialism.

Reports like this help ITAM professionals more easily understand and choose the right technology–and vendor–to help with future plans.

2. What are hottest ITAM trends at the moment?

Hottest trends in ITAM? Probably the following:

  • The blending of ITAM and ITSM

We call it ITxM, where ITSM services and related processes are very directly integrated with your ITAM assets and their lifecycles and processes, including combining an asset software catalog with an ITSM service catalog.

  • Ongoing software audit pressure

This is especially the case with mega-vendors (Oracle, IBM, Microsoft). Their licensing models are incredibly complex, and–funnily enough–there are substantial cost penalties for being in breach of those opaque and complex models.

  • Automation

Enabling high-speed, automated asset preparation, provision, and recovery automatically, following asset request and change processes. This is particularly relevant to software delivery and recovery.

3. Why should IT departments consider an ITAM solution?

ITAM is the vital key to future IT success. ITAM becomes critical as you approach many now and near-future challenges, including security, Internet of Things, cloud migrations, improving IT, and doing more with less.

All areas of IT require you to understand IT’s estate, and that now needs to be more than just discovery. It’s time to take control.

4. We talk a lot about ITxM. What does that mean?

It means a good experience for the business. It means one self-service for IT that drives both asset and service type requests. It means understanding not only the lifecycle of your services but also of the individual assets themselves. It means not only innovating with business productivity but also ensuring actual, balanced and safe management of the IT assets whether part of an IT service or not.

It means a recognition that you can’t deliver good IT service without asset management and you can’t manage assets without good IT service management.

5. What’s your favorite movie?

Either Withal and I (a classic Brit movie) or Finding Nemo. I’m hoping to one day find the perfect mashup movie: perhaps Finding Withnail or Nemo and I. 

Be sure to check out the full report below!

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The Surprising Way Choosing a Discovery Tool is Like Dating

Choosing a discovery tool is like dating.

There are so many great options out there, but the hardest part is choosing just one–especially with the possibility that it won’t work out. None of us like the feeling of having wasted time.

So how do you go about selecting the right discovery tool?

The key is to spend some time getting to know your environment just like you need to know yourself before choosing someone to date. Don’t even start looking at tools until you know what data you actually need.

Now, you might retort, “I don’t know what’s in my environment, so how could I possibly know what data I need? Hence my need for a discovery tool.” If that’s the case, then let’s stick to the basics.

1. Choose a tool that provides the coverage you need

There’s nothing like dating someone who only wants to do one thing. Variety is the spice of life, just as it is with finding the right discovery tool.

Not every tool is able to get the data you’re looking for. Some only focus on certain operating systems like Windows or Mac. Others tend to focus on specific environments like desktops or the data center.

Again, what’s in your environment? Do you support Windows, Mac, or Linux? What hardware and software are you using in your data centers? And if you don’t have an answer about every single data center or location, that’s fine. Start with what you do know. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to look at vendors.

Line them up and compare what they can capture. Be sure to ask some of these questions along the way:

  • How do you collect data for [x]? Replace x with things like Windows, mobile devices, or servers, e.g., agent, API, database connection, etc.
  • How do you recognize installed software? For example, add/remove programs, registry keys, files, etc.
  • Are there any special network permissions or users that I need to gather this data?  For instance, sometimes administrator-level access is required when scanning Linux environments.

2. Choose a tool that normalizes the data

In dating, it’s important to find someone that speaks your language. By language, I mean your quirks, humor, seriousness, excitement, pain, etc.

IT data is no different. Each hardware manufacturer or software publisher has their own way of speaking. The key is to find a tool that can speak all those languages and convert them into one, easily consumable data feed.

For those of you who are new to this term, normalization is the process through which data is transformed to have a standard name, mapping structure, and classification. Basically, it’s a flexible rules engine that makes sure your data is really apples to apples. It’s no fun trying to make sense of data that hasn’t been normalized.

Some key questions:

  • Do you provide normalization rules out-of-the-box?
  • Can I change those rules to match the nomenclature in my environment?
  • Can I create my own rules and have them run against the sources I want?

3. Choose a tool that stores your data in one central database

There’s nothing like dating someone who brings an entire support group with them. You don’t want to have to deal with all the best friends and various family members. That’s not what you signed up for and the relationship should only be about you and your partner (at least in the beginning).

A central database makes your life so much easier! It’s the one source of truth that you can go to and rely on when doing analysis. This database should maintain an ongoing repository and keep track of changes for historical analysis.

Ask questions like:

  • Does your tool require integration with other discovery tools?
  • Is the data easily accessible or do I have to go to multiple places to get it?
  • How is the data stored in this database?
  • Does it keep track of changes over time?
  • What reconciliation processes are used to store the data and minimize duplication?

By going through these three basic steps, I hope I was able to provide some advice in selecting the right discovery tool; maybe even some dating advice along the way.

Another great resource to use in this selection process is the recent Info-Tech Report on the IT Asset Management Vendor Landscape. Check it out below!

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On the ITAM Road to Success, LANDESK Hits All Green Lights

I’ve never considered myself to be out of the ordinary. Six feet tall, blonde hair, and blue eyes seems to be the norm in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, my recent trip to Mexico made me feel quite out of place. Not only did my physical appearance put me out of place, but my language skills and cultural differences added to the “gringo” reputation.

However, my recent trip to Mexico made me feel quite out of place. Not only did my physical appearance put me out of place, but my language skills and cultural differences added to the “gringo” reputation.

Much like my recent trip where I felt like the elephant in the room, LANDESK recently went through a similar experience when Info-Tech Research Group named LANDESK a Champion in their IT Asset Management Vendor Landscape Report.

What’s more, LANDESK was the only vendor to have all green boxes when it came to features evaluated in the report.

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So, what does this mean? From our perspective, LANDESK has the wide product portfolio people need and want.

Saving money and avoiding financial risk is a top priority for most organizations, and IT asset management can cut costs by up to 50 percent by maintaining hardware and software assets, reclaiming unused licenses, supporting security efforts, and managing vendors and contracts. Selecting a vendor that can help you achieve these initiatives is critical.

Businesses also need to be able to discover and inventory owned and new assets within their organization. Understanding what assets you have enables you to get (and stay) compliant, as well as curb overspending and underspending on software licenses. Tracking the usage of those licenses also allows you to reclaim and reallocate resources where needed.

Desktop management is another important feature that was evaluated in the report. For proper asset management, you need quick and easy deployment of software, migration, and patching. You want to have transferable licenses so you don’t have to purchase new ones when migrating. From a security standpoint, you can’t manage what you don’t know about.

Eighty percent of businesses are overpaying for software licenses. By implementing strategies around this feature set, businesses can avoid financial risk.

LANDESK is green across the board when it comes to feature set capabilities so customers are able to accomplish exactly what they need to do with a single solution instead of a variety of point products.

These are just a few of the important features that were weighed in the Info-Tech evaluation. Check out the complete vendor landscape report below for additional details.

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How to Spot the ITAM Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the roughI recently read an article where a young girl visiting Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park uncovered an 8.52 carat diamond.

Your search for the right ITAM vendor is much like this woman’s search for her diamond. It requires a lot of digging and sifting to uncover the right features, capabilities, and—ultimately—the right solution for your organization.

In order to find the right vendor, you first have to know what you’re looking for.

A recent report produced by Info-Tech Research Group (find the full report below) uncovered a series of features and capabilities to help organizations compare and select an ITAM vendor.

Discovery and inventory

First, the report instills the importance of a discovery and inventory good tool. Whether it is on a desktop, in the data center, in the cloud, or on a mobile device, knowing what is connected to your network is critical.

Software usage

The ability to track software usage is another important capability for a good ITAM solution.

Eighty percent of businesses overpay for software licenses. This means that by tracking who is using what, you can reduce your software spend substantially, helping you optimize your resources, ensure software compliance, and allow for the reclamation of unused software for reallocation.

Desktop management

Enterprises are also looking for vendors that can deliver excellent desktop management, whether it is Windows, MAC, or MDM.

The deployment of software should be quick and timely. Organizations should strive to reduce the amount of time it takes for users to find and access software for employees to be productive. Processes should also be in place for easy migration to make sure everyone is up-to-date.

In addition, patching should be available. From a security perspective, you can’t manage what you don’t know about.

Mobile device management

Mobile device management (MDM) is another key feature that Info-Tech says every good ITAM solution should have.

Our world is becoming increasingly more mobile. Tracking your devices and the software installed on them can help from both a financial and security perspective. Gain visibility and reduce theft and loss of hardware to ensure sensitive information doesn’t go missing.

Mobile devices usually have a lifespan of two to five years, which means you need to off-board mobile devices quickly and efficiently.

Automated or manual data imports and integrated IT ops

These should also be at the top of the list.

Automation, automation, automation is my philosophy. Search for a vendor with out-of-the-box connectors that aggregate vendor, reseller, and publisher data like warranties and purchase information.

You then need to establish a process to normalize and reconcile the information you gather through imports whether they are manual or automated.

Managing IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

These are other key features that should not be overlooked. The ability to manage providers like Amazon, Azure, Salesforce, Adobe, and Dropbox is in any great ITAM vendor’s portfolio.

There are many other features you may want to consider. Some may include complex licensing for apps that run in the data center or data center analytics. You may also want to consider financial modeling and applications controls.

By sifting through the ITAM rubble and identifying key features and capabilities, you will uncover the diamond of vendors and establish a successful ITAM solution.

Learn why LANDESK was named Champion by Info-Tech this year!

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Get the Full Benefit of ITSM With ITAM by Choosing the Best Tools

Coworkers Team Working Office Studio Startup.Businessman Using Modern TabletRecently, a number of ITSM vendors have introduced IT Asset Management capabilities.

It’s an interesting shift since ITAM used to be seen as something separate and different from IT Service Management. I even found an old presentation I gave many years ago entitled “ITSM or ITAM–Which Is Right?” which reminded me that these used to be seen as two separate disciplines.

Now, most of the premier ITSM toolset vendors offer an asset variant or add-on pack, and a few of the specialist ITAM vendors are starting to add ITSM capabilities. The whole subject of ITxM– the blending of these two best practice models into one single combined framework–is well-described on our other blogs, so I won’t dig too deep into that in this post.

What I will do is look at why ITSM tools themselves are good for ITAM, and also highlight what to look for in a combined ITAM and ITSM solution.

Why use ITSM tools for ITAM purposes? 

One reason is that ITSM tools are already built to guide people through the processes of managing data, objects, and activities. ITAM involves the management of both data and assets–and all the activities surrounding those. It’s almost a perfect fit.

Another reason to use ITSM tools for ITAM purposes is because duplication these days is (mostly) crazy.

I visited one organisation recently that was publishing their new Asset Management software request site to the business. It was an App Store experience to get to the software that people use to do their jobs. And, elsewhere, unconnected, there was also a self-service request catalog where end-users could request software and services from IT.

The customer was having a deep analysis and debate as to why and how they could force their SAM request App Store into their ITSM self-service, and how the two systems could be integrated. It was going to be long and expensive.

Yet, stepping back, it’s clear that there should always be one place to visit to get help and to get the things you need. A request for software is no different from a request for a desk-cleaning service. The only difference is the method of fulfillment, ideally automated for software, and providing that App Store experience.

All things are assets, too 

This one seems a little confusing. It’s not–bear with me.

Assets are defined objects of business value. They may or may not be recognized as Service Assets or Configuration Items. An IT service is made up of Configuration Items and other Service Assets. Some Service Assets may not be ITAM managed assets. Those ITAM assets may or may not be used in delivering an IT Service.

Am I making your head spin? All I’m saying is that the things we manage (and some we don’t) need to be identified and recorded. They also need to be made available with the relevant data to the right people based on their roles. That’s exactly what ITSM tools are very good at. Role-based visibility of objects and data.

In the flow

Here are some very similar things: Requests. Changes. Asset lifecycles. Contract management processes. HR on- and off-boarding workflow. Incidents. Knowledge articles.

These are all variants of one concept: the process. A defined and repeatable sequence of steps that guide people and technology through the correct actions in the right way at the right time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s ITAM, ITSM, or whatever other four-letter acronym you want to put in there. Some of these–request, change, HR–are also denied and used as shared processes equally across ITAM and ITSM.

So, for good ITAM with good asset lifecycles and good asset management processes, you need a tool that lets you design and follow processes. And there is nothing better than ITSM tools for that.

Those are just some of the most obvious examples.

What to look for in an ITAM solution that also provides ITSM capability:

1. Code-free design

ITAM tool users tend to be less technical and less inclined to invest time and effort designing their solution to match their business. There is a higher expectation of prebuilt or easily modifiable capability. So if an ITSM tool requires you to write code to perform basic behavior changes, then it’s going to be too heavy for ITAM modification. If an ITSM tool needs a full-time software developer, it’s no good.

So if an ITSM tool requires you to write code to perform basic behavior changes, then it’s going to be too heavy for ITAM modification. If an ITSM tool needs a full-time software developer, it’s no good.

2. State engine

One of the core concepts in ITAM is the asset lifecycle. You can’t really manage the life of IT assets without one or multiple lifecycles defining those lives. And–as with any good process tool–you should only be able to get to a certain STATE by passing through the previous STATE, by performing the relevant actions to move things on.  It should be impossible to move

It should be impossible to move asset to AVAILABLE without if first having at some stage being RECEIVED into the business. You can’t just move a DISPOSED asset into PROVISIONING (since, after all, it isn’t there anymore). That’s the concept of a state engine. If your ITAM/ITSM tool lets you just drop-down a list of random statuses and pick a different status with no lifecycle state transition, it’s not good.

3. Process to process

As described, if using a process-workflow tool, you really don’t want to have to move each asset to a new status by picking the new status. Equally, you don’t want to do the movement through the lifecycle on a ‘by hand’. A good ITAM and ITSM tool moves assets from one State to another as a byproduct of people and technology performing other processes.

For example, when a user requests a new laptop, fulfilling that request should move the asset to ALLOCATED. If you have to go into the detail of the asset and move it to ALLOCATED, that’s not good.

4. Self-service

ITAM needs self-service. ITAM solutions without self-service force asset requests through other systems and break ITAM. If your asset solution can’t show end users a view of My Assets and allow them to request new assets or services, then it’s not good.

5. Lights, camera, ACTION

This one is very important. ITAM tools now need good automation, which includes–as an obvious example–automatic delivery and recovery of software assets across multiple user environments. It also includes reclamation of unused licenses. If your ITAM tool cannot deliver and recover, it’s not good.

6. Full strength discovery, inventory, and normalization–tightly integrated

Here an ITSM tool typically starts to struggle to match up to needs. Yet IT asset management needs to see and know what it out there in the managed estate. So there is a challenge – if you are introducing ITAM on the same platform as your ITSM tool, it is unlikely to come with prebuilt, pre-integration, and ready to roll discovery, inventory, and normalization. But it should.

In summary, why are ITSM tools increasingly being seen as new platforms to deliver ITAM solutions? Because ITSM tools already have many concepts and capabilities now recognized as vital for ITAM.

What should you be looking for in an ITAM tool if you are also considering the overlap with ITSM usage either now or in the future? Well, I’d start with the six points above. If your ITAM solution can do those six points, then you can be sure that you are on a safe path.

Click the banner below to learn why LANDESK was named the Champion by Info-Tech this year!

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The Info-Tech Quadrant: Why LANDESK Is Different

Until I read the 66-page Vendor Landscape: IT Asset Management (ITAM) report from Info-Tech Research Group (which you can download below), I had no clue what Harvey Balls were. And the report is chock-full of them.

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Created in the 1970s by Booz Allen Hamilton consultant Harvey Poppel, Harvey Balls are round ideograms of qualitative information commonly used to indicate the degree to which a certain item meets a particular criterion.

Harvey Balls and Harvey Ball aren’t the same thing.

I also learned that Harvey Balls are not to be confused with Harvey Ball. Turns out Mr. Ball was a graphic designer and WWII vet who received the Bronze Star for bravery on Okinawa, started his own ad agency in 1959, and designed the original “smiley” in 1963 that has become an enduring, international icon.

sssssssssssThe bottom line is this: As you’ll discover in the Info-Tech report, if a particular IT asset management solution—like LANDESK IT Asset Management Suite—strings enough “solid” or “nearly solid” Harvey Balls together, it lands in the “Champions” quadrant of leading products from leading vendors. And that puts a “smiley” on the faces of a lot of people.

Well I (be) TAM’d. LANDESK’s a champion!

Info-Tech evaluated 15 competitors in the ITAM market, focusing on those vendors that offer capabilities across multiple platforms and “that have a strong market presence and/or reputational presence among enterprises.”

The report states, “table stakes represent the minimum standard features that determine whether a product even gets reviewed. If table stakes are all you need from your IT asset management tool solution, the only true differentiator for the organization is price. Otherwise, dig deeper to find the best price to value for your needs.” Indeed, the report (with all of its Harvey Balls) is a chance for you to dig deeper.

The Champions quadrant features LANDESK and five other notable performers: Aspera, BMC Asset Core, IBM Control Desk, Scalable Software, and Snow Software. Though not quite in the Champions quadrant, ManageEngine was recognized for its overall value.

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As the report recommends, each vendor offers a different feature set and organizations should concentrate on what their genuine needs are and balance the individual strengths of the solutions evaluated to meet those needs.

LANDESK ranked as an exemplary performer along with IBM, BMC Remedy, and ManageEngine in offering ITAM solutions along with integrated desktop management and systems management tools for IT operations. The report states that LANDESK IT Asset Management Suite “is designed to work alone or in full integration with the service management suite, including CMDB, with auditing to validate against proposed changes.”

The report continues, “LANDESK takes a practical approach to asset management, considering end-to-end processes for technicians and managers. LANDESK has a strong focus on systems and service management with discovery built in. Where a complete asset and systems solution is needed, this could be a good fit. However, on its own, Data Analytics is not a complete asset solution.”

The greatest differentiator? Green.

Perhaps the greatest differentiator is that only LANDESK offers every single feature that Info-Tech evaluated. Only green lights. No yellows or reds.

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In the report, Info-Tech uses green, yellow, and red traffic lights or “stoplights” as visual representations of individual features. Fully present (green light) means “all aspects and capabilities of the feature described are in evidence.” Partially present (yellow light) means “some, but not all, aspects and capabilities of the feature as described are in evidence, OR all aspects and capabilities of the feature as described are in evidence, but only for some models in a line.” Fully absent (red light) means “all aspects and capabilities of the feature described are missing or lacking.”

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Download the report to learn more!

No solution is the right fit for every organization, but LANDESK IT Asset Management Suite is definitely worth a serious look. The suite encompasses Asset Central, an on premise or cloud-based solution designed to manage your assets’ lifecycles from purchase through allocation and usage and eventually to disposal.

In addition, the Suite includes Asset Intelligence, a product built to discover and inventory owned hardware and software, connect with vendors to monitor new purchases, and track how your users interact with your IT assets.

When combined, Asset Central and Asset Intelligence deliver a complete view of your IT asset management position in a single ITAM suite.

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How to Integrate a CMDB With IT Asset Management (ITAM)

When I meet with organizations that are looking for an asset management solution, I am often asked whether the configuration management database (CMDB) can be used for tracking IT assets using ITAM best practices.

The issue that arises when implementing a CMDB with an ITAM solution is the belief that there is a feature overlap when using both solutions. For example, an IT asset located in the asset management database could also be a configuration item (CI) in the CMDB, so how do you avoid duplicating an asset in both databases?

Let’s use an analogy by looking at how airlines manage their flights and their equipment and planes.

Imagine booking a flight from New York to London. The flight you are looking for is identified by the flight number 192. In the airline’s database, flight 192 from NY to London consists of a plane, crew, gate, gate agents, and ground crew.
Airlines also maintain another database that tracks their equipment and planes. The database that tracks aircraft contains information such as capacity, purchase/contract information, and performance data along with historical maintenance records.

Let’s imagine that a Boeing 777 identified as B777-1421 is assigned to flight 192; however, a problem has been found on B777-1421. After an equipment change request, the airline removes B777-1421 from service, and replaces it with a plane identified as B777-1502. 2Even though a different aircraft (ID: 1502) will be used to support flight 192, the flight number does not change. Managing a CMDB with IT asset management is similar to managing the flight database with an equipment/plane inventory database.

In most cases, a CI is a combination of IT assets, such as an email server which consists of hardware and software. Let’s use an example of an email CI named EMAIL-SRV that is using a physical server named SRV01.

3SRV01 is an older server with a slower processor and less memory. A change request is issued to replace SRV01 with newer server named SRV02.

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After replacing the server, the email CI is then updated with the new server’s information and configuration; however, the name of the CI, EMAIL-SRV would not be changed.

5With seamless integration between a CMDB and the IT asset management database, the IT asset can be directly linked to the CI located in the CMDB instead of being recreated. This is similar to how airlines link equipment/planes to their flight database.

CMDB vs ITAM: Why do you need both solutions?

Even though many properties of a CI are similar to those of an IT asset, the lifecycle process for each is much different.

6
CIs are IT assets that affect business processes. CIs are usually associated with ITIL processes such as problem, change, and release management.

Configuration management objectives look at IT assets from an operational and support perspective. Asset availability and stability impact an organization’s day-to-day operations, so assets need to be documented along with their configuration and service offerings.

An IT asset is part of the organization’s IT asset inventory and usually contains information associated with contracts, cost centers, lifecycle status, and location.

 

Asset management processes will assign, unassigned, or re-assigned IT assets to end-users or to CIs so that assets are not misplaced or lost. 7

ITAM objectives focus on managing an IT asset’s overall cost, including ownership, associated contracts with asset lifecycle, warranty, and refresh information. ITAM focuses on IT assets from an organization’s financial perspective.

Summary

To efficiently manage IT assets, separate the IT assets from the CIs. Implement ITAM best practices for the IT asset management database using automated ITAM processes. Be sure to use a solution that has a strong integration between the CMDB and the IT asset management database so that asset information can be shared between the two solutions.

To CMDB or Not to CMDB? ITAM vs CMDB

Boxing-ITAMvsCMDB

Co-authored by Patricia Adams

This year, I decided to make some landscaping changes around my property. I have been repairing fences, planting new gardens, and pulling up trees in my efforts to meet the landscaping goals I set. Throughout the process, I learned I do not own the correct tools for many of the tasks I intended to complete. On several occasions, I have improvised using tools in my possession instead of purchasing the recommended tools. For example, I wonder if I should have purchased and used a chain saw to cut down a tree, or was the hand saw I currently own sufficient? And will it continue to be efficient? Only time will tell, but I do fear the outcome from some of my decisions.

For IT asset management and support, ITIL and ITAM provide guidelines for best practices. ITSM and ITAM software are tools that manage and support IT assets and their configuration. An ITSM Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is a tool that documents an IT asset, much like a software tool that provides ITAM functionality. It is important not to confuse the different objectives of the CMDB and ITAM software tools.