“There are assets in our database that we don’t have any more. We need to do a baseline inventory. We have at least 250,000 end user devices—wireless aircards, monitors, USBs, hard drives, tablets, laptops, phones. In the last 18 months, we’ve only touched 35,000 of them.”
Does this situation sound familiar? One of our server clients is on a path to mature its ITAM and creating a baseline inventory is the next big step it plans to tackle this year.
A baseline inventory gives you critical information and agility. If you are using multiple asset management systems, spreadsheets and manual processes in a server environment, this step enables you to consolidate information and move to more digital and automated ITAM. If your organization is moving to ServiceNow, you’ll be ready with baseline data.
In either case, you’ve created a credible state to make decisions that support key strategic goals of maximizing hardware availability, containing costs and increasing security and compliance.
Getting going with a baseline inventory
Taking inventory is pretty straightforward. The asset manager defines the task parameters in AssetTrack and assigns users to do the data collection. Depending on the scope, techs then physically scan assets from data centers to stockrooms, plus local offices.
It’s best if you can divide the inventory into manageable pieces. Aim to verify the location and status of every asset.
If wrangling techs to complete the inventory seems a bridge too far, another option is to bring in a managed services provider to handle the physical inventory. The amount you’ll save from identifying ghost assets and excess licenses will more than justify the expense.
Building the baseline inventory
Data collection tools are up to you. RFID readers can confirm all the hardware in a room in just minutes while handheld Bluetooth-enabled barcode scanners require handling every piece of equipment. Smartphone scanning isn’t great in low-light environments.
Asset managers can monitor inventory progress by location with real-time dashboards. You can run reports to show all the assets tagged as missing or unknown and assign users to track down what happened to those assets. You can reconcile collected data and handle exceptions before updating the database.
After the baseline inventory, you can create a regular audit schedule to capture accuracy metrics by location and by audit period to show trending information on your asset management teams.
Fixing what’s broken
While you’re collecting all that good asset data, you’ll see red flags where tracking procedures fail. People, processes, technology: None are perfect. But with better visibility into where, when and how errors occur, you can work toward tighter, fault-free practices that techs and other users follow as hardware moves through the asset lifecycle.
The value and ROI of your asset management program are built upon having accurate data. A baseline inventory and regular audits will guide and improve enterprise business decisions.
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