One of the most common questions asked during a software audit, hardware inventory project, or even a Software Asset Management project is, how do you collect your inventory or asset database. If the answer is not satisfactory, the next question is, we need one. And so begins the quest to evaluate tools for this business need. But here is where the Asset Management Tool Project goes off the rails. Terms like “A fool with a tool is still a fool,” and “Installing a new environment is easy. Making it capable of change is the tricky part.” describe where technologist typically takes a new product project.
So what is an IT Businessman or IT Businesswoman to do? Well, start at the beginning. Seems logical but so often the beginning is considered time, fund, or resource consuming and is therefore skipped. The beginning is a good strategy. A good friend of mine, Kevin Suckow, always says, “A good strategy will beat a discount any day!” and I have witnessed it many times, and without fail, he’s right. Another quote I discovered during my research for this post is, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat” – Sun Tzu.
What does a strategy look like that results in a new asset management tool? The answer is, the plan to manage, understand, and prove the business value of your IT assets. The inventory is only one step here. Now, some IT personnel or leaders may just be interested in being able to answer questions about the asset existence (entitlement and deployment). There are so many questions that can be asked from other areas of the business, and if you do not consider this, you might look like a fool when the business comes calling.
So here are the steps you need to take before you decide on an asset management tool:
- Identify and Document the Executive Business Sponsor and Approval (this could change the way you do business)
- Document (yes, write this down!) the needs of the business for asset management. In business terms (e.g., accurate software inventory, precise software usage report, etc.)
- Create and Document Key Performance Indicators for Asset Life Cycle Management (including how to, and what to track)
- Design Business Process Workflows for managing software assets
- Identify and assign resources to complete the work (Roles and Responsibilities)
- Now go find that tool
Once you have these documents, selecting a tool will be simpler and more productive. Now you can check out part two of the Asset Management process with “How to Select the Best Asset Management Tool for Your Organization (Part 2 of Asset Management)”