The issues behind IT asset identification

3 Oct 2016 | ITAM

The old adage ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’, has never been more true than with regard to IT asset  identification. The implications of not being able to accurately measure what hardware and software you have installed extend far beyond basic IT Asset Management (ITAM) disciplines and into your capability to defend against a software audit as well as optimize your software licensing to reduce costs going forward.

So, what are the issues organizations typically face with regard to asset identification that prevent them properly managing what they have?

Getting the right ITAM tool

The first concerns the use of inventory tools. Most organizations quickly come to realize that manual discovery and inventory is simply not feasible. This is because it simply takes too long to do and as a result the information collected is immediately out of date. So the first thing that your tool should be is real-time.

However, it is not unusual for an organization to buy a tool to solve a particular problem and then a completely different one to solve another. When you consider that there is both software and hardware to discover and inventory, the number of tools in use can quickly grow out of control.

This leads to many different information feeds that have to be collated to produce meaningful data that can be used for ITAM, Software Asset Management (SAM) and Software License Optimization (SLO) purposes. You would have thought that this would not be too difficult, but sadly it is. Even with products from the same vendor!

IT asset identification – make sure you are discovering everything accurately

Such a fragmented approach makes introducing QA processes, to ensure all hardware and software is being discovered, difficult. You may be happy with a discovery rate of say 95%, but consider this. If you have some 10,000 devices in your organization, this means that 500 of them are undiscovered. Based on an average cost of $400 for the hardware and the same amount for the software installed on each, this means that $400K of your assets are effectively missing in action.

Even if your tool(s) is discovering everything across your IT estate, it may struggle with bringing back all the attributes you need for effective SAM. From the wrong CPU core information to struggling with interpreting the details of different virtualization technologies, the implications can be costly when the auditors come calling.

Against such a backdrop, the ROI on buying a discovery and inventory tool that will give you 100% accuracy, in both initially finding everything and then accurately reporting it, is very compelling.

Managing software license entitlement

Moving beyond tools you need to look at how you manage license entitlement. Many organizations have no or a fragmented repository for their entitlements. This coupled with their being no Definitive Media Library (DML) in place means you cannot prove your entitlement to use the software when challenged during an audit.

Obviously, this is very much an issue that can be solved internally. Collecting and collating all entitlements into a central repository that incorporates a DML will enable you to better understand any licensing shortfalls and able to better react when informed of an audit.

If you would like help putting in place a central license repository or find out about a discovery and inventory tool that will discover everything accurately, and solve the problem of IT asset identification, please get in touch.