... and three questions to help you avoid getting lost in all the data!
What happens when you build an Asset and Configuration Management program based on ITIL-defined processes? You position yourself to achieve such benefits as cost reduction, improved management of risks and optimized operational efficiencies.
Here’s what happens next: you must figure out on your own how to succeed with these best practices.
In other words, ITIL is good in helping you lay the foundation for an effective configuration and asset management operation, but the part where you must successfully execute it is entirely up to you. Here is where asking the right questions can make a world of difference in the success of your asset and configuration management program.
- Why do we need the data? How will we get it?
It is difficult to get and share data across the enterprise. Therefore, access, collection consistency and the volume of data collected should be considered from the very start. If you want to understand why certain data is needed and how to enable access to that data, then you must look at what your end users demand. Having a purpose for collecting the data in the first place can save some headaches later in the process. Otherwise, your end solution may wind up becoming a patchwork of confusion.
- How do we make sense of all this data?
Conflicting stores of data, inconsistent naming conventions and incomplete and fragmented discovery information: these are but a few examples of the causes of data confusion. Throw into the mix license entitlement, which may have a complex rationalization process of its own, coupled with lifecycle and contract challenges, and it becomes clear that unless you ask this “how” question, your asset management process can falter. So, work with all your stakeholders to look for answers on how to gather, rationalize, analyze, align, and apply the data with assets.
- How is the data to be used?
More than knowing why the data is needed and how to get it, you need a clear understanding of who will use the data and how they will use it. Answers to these questions provide a customer-centered perspective on data collection and organization, and enables you to develop a clear purpose, define roles and uses, and identify business value.
IT folks are good at “doing” – tackling complex things in a large-scale way. The “why” or “how” oftentimes comes later, if at all. The problem with this approach is that once the data gets massive, your organization gets lost in it. But there are others in the enterprise who are “doing” as well. Asking the “why” and “how” at the outset of your asset and configuration management program enables everyone involved in the effort to get on the same page.
Check back on Wednesday for my next post: "Why Build An Asset and Configuration Management Program?"
About the Author: Don Casson is CEO of Evergreen Systems, an IT consulting firm helping medium to enterprise public and private sector organizations to dramatically transform their IT operations. Don is a frequent writer, blogger and presenter, and has delivered over 40 webinars on topics in Service Management, including IT and shared services.
Feel free to contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org