AssetWise – Asset Management, The New Wave - TechExcel

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Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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Asset Management - Th e New Wave
TechExcel White Paper
Introduction
To run a business within a business, IT Service and Support
requires fi rm control over its assets and services. Moreover,
fully understanding the location, health and performance of all
enterprise assets has a direct impact on the organization’s overall
corporate fi nancial performance. To proactively manage assets
over their entire lifecycle, fi rms must strive for enterprise-wide
visibility and context into utilization, service accounts and
historical records. Th e role of Service Management solutions is
to provide this view, and automate and support the processes
that enable the enterprise to maximize ROI, improve service
levels, streamline service delivery and reduce total costs.
Additionally, the adoption of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
as a best business practice has provided the catalyst to deploy
applications that provide transparency and visibility, fi nancial
controls, communications, and fraud prevention. Th is includes
business performance management and business intelligence,
tightening up processes, and focusing on data quality. Further,
to eff ectively comply with SOX Sections 404 and 409, fi rms
will need IT support for solutions that can address asset
management, as well as the processes used to attain corporate
accountability.
Most enterprises, however, do not have adequate strategies and
infrastructure to optimally deal with their enterprise assets. In
Th e new wave
Asset Management
many cases, companies use legacy and paper-based methods
to try to get a handle on the plethora of asset and analytical
information that is available in the multitude of siloed data
systems. Oft en, companies only view one portion of their
complement of assets, which in many cases, is not where the
majority of their asset base lies. Th ere are many instances
where organizations struggle with the burden of vast amounts
of un-used assets, simply because they are not visible to the
departments that need them.
Companies can no longer rely on outdated systems and
processes to manage the strategic initiative of holistic asset
management. Th e challenge ahead is to integrate disparate
soft ware and tracking technologies, processes AND people
across organizations and channels to optimize the business
process as well as the life of each asset throughout its lifecycle.
Th is whitepaper examines diff erent types of asset management
and their advantages and disadvantages. We will then discuss
best practices that all enterprises should consider and conclude
with solutions that can enable executive management to become
100% confi dent in enterprise asset information but also achieve
fi scal accountability and eff ectively mitigate risk.
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Asset management – why now?
As an initiative, strategic asset management has risen to a high level of
importance within the enterprise and has moved from a purely tactical
function into and under the guidance of IT Service and Support. As
service and support departments transform from cost centers to a business
unit capable of delivering competitive advantage, corporate assets have
dramatically increased in importance. Clearly, fi rms recognize the untapped
value within their asset base as a means to increase productivity, expand on
fi scal responsibility, and reduce personal property taxes. Th ey are, however,
unable to access and deliver this value because they still rely on manual,
data-starved processes.
Further, the regulations and frameworks that have emerged over the
last few years mark asset management as one of the areas to increase
accountability and mitigate risk. Th ese include the ITIL framework, the
oft -mentioned Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Basel II, and the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as well
as a host of other regulations dealing with corporate and IT governance.
For federal agencies and government contractors (those companies
that do business with the federal government), there are still more and
increasingly complex regulations. Th e Federal Acquisition Regulation
(FAR) is just one of many that has been revised and signifi cantly impacts
government contractors. Th e Joint Financial Management Improvement
Program (JFMIP) is another set of regulations that governs what type of
systems federal agencies must use in order to be more accountable for their
actions. Others include Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
regulations 34/35 which governs how state and local government agencies
establish and improve standards in accounting and fi nancial reporting.
What does this mean for asset management as a whole? Asset management
is now being seen as having a direct impact on corporate fi nancial
performance, rather than just a tactical “inventory” of what assets an
enterprise possesses. Th is requires a real-time, business process-centric
view on assets. Providing this perspective is the priority and function of
today’s service and support organizations. Life-cycle asset management
provides direct and complete visibility into eff ectiveness, utilization and
re-use. Additionally, fi rms are more and more concerned with hazardous
material and sensitive data; that which can jeopardize the safety or
security to individuals / organizations and/or dangerous to human health
or the environment when mismanaged. Life-cycle asset management
enables enterprises to mitigate risk to their company, their employees and
customers and the environment.
Types of asset management
Asset management can be categorized into four main areas; fi xed asset
management, enterprise asset management (EAM)/computer maintenance
management systems (CMMS), IT asset management, and life-cycle
asset management. Let’s examine the defi nitions of each, as well as their
advantages and disadvantages.
Fixed Asset Management/Accounting
Fixed asset management/accounting is the process of accounting for asset
that is capitalized onto the organization’s balance sheet. A fi xed asset is any
asset that costs more to acquire than a defi ned value, which is called the
capitalization threshold. Only those assets whose acquisition cost exceeds
this value qualify for capitalization. Th ese assets can include items such as
buildings and equipment and have typically been housed and managed
through fi xed asset modules in a fi nancial accounting application.
Advantages
Fixed asset management tools are a good choice if an enterprise is only
interested in tracking assets to be depreciated. In general, most large
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems contain a fi xed assets
accounting module so at the very least, companies could have the bare
bones of an asset management solution.
Disadvantages
Fixed asset management breaks down when one examines the defi nition
of a fi xed asset. Described above, this defi nition completely ignores every
other type of asset – including IT assets - which ironically enough, are
the greatest number of assets an organization typically possesses. Fixed
asset modules, whether they are embedded in an enterprise system or
implemented as a stand-alone application, generally do not optimize the
asset management process, properly identify confi guration functions,
integrate with the CMDB, or permit the capture of data relevant to all
other assets. Th e ability to capture and manage non-fi nancial data related to
the asset such as maintenance dates, accountable department or person and
incident number oft en do not exist.
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Th ese other types of assets are generally critical to mission objectives,
hazardous in nature, potential security risks or easily lost. Examples of
these types of assets include laptops, cell phones, PDA, fi rearms, uniforms
or even parking spaces. Other intangible assets can include the intellectual
property of a company or sales lists or proposals to prospects, all of
which have no “capital value” but are devastating to the company if the
information was leaked out of the internal environment and into the wrong
hands.
Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) / Computer Maintenance
Management Systems (CMMS)
Enterprise Asset Management or Computer Maintenance Management
Systems (CMMS) are primarily used to maintain facility operations
and can span many diverse functions and responsibilities, ranging from
scheduling preventative maintenance jobs to allocating the resources
needed to complete the work. As part of these systems, comprehensive
asset data is collected as it pertains to the specifi c asset. Typically, EAM and
CMMS systems contain “scheduled maintenance” modules so that facilities
can determine what assets must be maintained and when. In addition,
EAM and CMMS systems can assist enterprises in ascertaining where most
advantageous places for production plants should reside. For example,
Company A needs to examine the fi nancial impact to the company on
either building a new production facility or retrofi tting an existing facility.
EAM/CMMS systems are able to analyze asset maintenance data to
determine the best course of action.
Advantages
Maintenance management is important for several reasons. One
reason is building complexity. Today’s buildings are more automated,
and automation adds to complexity. In industrial / commercial
buildings, health care facilities and campus labs, automated HVAC,
electric, electronic and pneumatic systems, auxiliary power, and special
environmental technologies are proliferating. Th e potential costs of
breakdowns to these critical systems are increased risk to building
management. Reduced staff s are being asked to maintain more complex
buildings.
When scheduled maintenance is not followed, premature breakdown
is a certain outcome. Th e attendant costs of breakdown do not stop
with equipment repair and replacement. Th ere are also the realities
of work stoppage, production downtime, discomfort, displacement
of building occupants, uneven workloads, overtime, and emergency
inventory purchasing. In addition, historically, most systems for managing
maintenance activities have been done manually; everything from index
cards, memo fi les to wall-mounted log boards. Th ese methods were
cumbersome, incomplete and ineff ective. What’s more, they were used
inconsistently, further reducing whatever minimal benefi ts they could have
provided.
Disadvantages
While EAM / CMMS systems are excellent for maintenance scheduling,
they are not meant to manage the wide range of assets nor are they typically
built for the integrated architecture culture of today’s enterprise. Th ey do
not manage multiple asset categories or provide the visibility an enterprise
requires to be eff ective in its life-cycle asset management initiatives. Many
CMMS / EAM vendors claim that assets and equipment can be prolonged
through regular, eff ective preventative maintenance. While this is true, this
should not be confused with asset management as a discipline. In addition,
any advantages to solely using an EAM / CMMS system are overshadowed
by the critical need for transparent visibility and context for all assets
throughout the enterprise, not those assets used just for production value.
IT Asset Management
IT asset management is the process for tracking and managing only an
enterprise’s IT assets throughout a department or an organization. As the
enterprise infrastructure becomes increasingly complex and critical to
executing strategies, IT asset management can be a powerful tool that helps
manage soft ware, networks, hardware, as well as the contracts associated
with those IT assets, and the costs.
Advantages
Clearly, IT Asset Management tools can be an excellent choice for
asset management strategies. Auto-discovery features of many IT asset
management vendors eliminate the need to manually track each IT
component from an enterprise perspective. Th is can eliminate pirated
soft ware and/or potentially devastating programs from users’ computers
and keeps the enterprise well-informed about what is actually on users
machines in real / right-time. In addition, IT asset management can
track and manage other IT components, such as network environments,
servers, and peripherals such as printers. Th is is a distinct advantage when
enterprises bill deliverables, such as copies and / or designs to their clients
because accurate data is readily available.
Disadvantages
Th e issue with an enterprise implementing and using IT asset management
alone, however, is that this type of asset management does not take any
other type of asset into account. Th is means that enterprises only track
IT assets, and not other critical items such as intellectual property,
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vehicles, production equipment, or even furniture and land. Since the
typical installation of an IT asset management system is a stand-alone
application within a specifi c department, it is very diffi cult to provide
tactical and strategic visibility in correlation with the Service and Support
functions. It could be argued that an IT asset management system could
track those assets, and while these systems could be highly-customized to
accommodate other assets in theory, in practice, the customization process
is very time and investment consuming for even the savviest enterprises.
Best practices in asset
management
As can be seen, there are many providers of “asset management” soft ware,
solutions and services. Some vendors even suggest that a simplistic barcode
reader is an asset management system. In the last section, we’ve discussed
fi xed asset management, which as we’ve explored, does not capture and
manage assets that happen to fall under the “capitalization threshold”.
Other solutions, such as EAM/CMMS systems, have emerged as
another piece of the asset management puzzle. But these systems are not
meant for the rigorous discipline of life-cycle asset management, nor
do they take certain assets, like hazardous materials and sensitive data
into consideration, leaving these types of assets to wither on the “asset
management vine.”
So what is a forward-thinking, compliance-minded enterprise to do? Let’s
examine best practices and what hard questions enterprises should be
asking of their asset management solution providers.
Questions all enterprises should ask of their asset management system
Best practices are not a mythical pool of data that resides in middle earth.
Simply put, best practices are tried and tested business processes; the best
way to conduct business. Asset management best practices match the needs
of an organization up against what industry considers best processes to
create a consistent and repeatable means to eff ectively manage all enterprise
assets throughout an organization.
Does the asset management system have comprehensive and repeatable
processes? Processes need to be end to end, from the time an enterprise
acquires an asset to the time that the asset is deposed or retired. And in
order for processes to truly be comprehensive, they must be implemented
across the entire organization so that all departments can leverage the
knowledge that is within previously siloed systems. Th e fi nal piece of the
process puzzle is that it must be repeatable – that means that as individuals
move in and out of roles within the organization, the Standard Operating
Procedure remains constant. Th is does not mean that repeatable processes
are non-evolving; it means that asset management processes do not change
simply because the employee changes.
Can the asset management solution align IT initiatives with your
business interests? By applying a business value assessment to IT
investments, companies can determine how business goals and technology
investments are aligned, capture the fi nancial value of specifi c technology
options, and make the right decisions to best benefi t the company.
Enterprises know their business is aligned when it operates in synch with
market demands and is supported by high-quality and cost-eff ective
technology investments. Done right, IT services are directly aligned to
business objectives, strategies and tactics, and there is a clear understanding
between the business and IT groups.
Th is is a powerful combination; companies have insight, optimize their
entire business portfolio and more accurately position resources for
implementation and measurement.
Th is turns asset management into much more than a “task” that must
be completed for compliance purposes. Asset management now drives
strategic initiatives and helps accomplish business interests and goals. By
aligning the IT portion of asset management initiatives to overall business
goals, there are a number of advantages including cost savings, increasing
productivity, right-time data transfer, decreased asset shrinkage, and an
increase or decrease of workforce levels.
Can the system ensure the most accurate version of the truth? As we
all know, numbers can tell an enterprise anything they wish to hear. Th e
question “tell me the total value of assets” could be sliced into a number
of diff erent values including capital assets, sensitive assets, accountable
assets, and so on; there is diff erent value for each of these categories. By
creating the integrated enterprise, executive management would have the
most accurate version of the total value of all enterprise assets – no matter
where that asset information resided. Implementing the semantic enterprise
means that multiple lines of business can share and act on the same asset
information including fi nancial depreciation, net book value, shipping,
asset locations, customer issues, recalls, life, and replacement value.
Can the system draw functionality and context from existing
applications? In the previously siloed enterprise, each department
worked independently of each other. If one department wanted
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information from another, that data would take a signifi cant amount
of manual labor and would be next to impossible to obtain. Moreover,
stove-piped data means that each system could not take advantage
of information that resides in other siloed systems. Case in point: an
enterprise has purchased an eProcurement application for new purchases
and a service and support application for help desk / asset management,
and is using an existing system for ad-hoc transactions. Th ey are using
the eProcurement application for items found in a catalog, but want to
initiate an auction event for items not in the catalog, and return the result
to the eProcurement application AND send the fi nal transaction to the
service and support system. If this setup is like most enterprises, all three
applications are managed in separate departments, requiring the user to
call an auction expert to create and conduct the action, and then call the
service manager to ensure the information is properly created in the asset
management system.
In the integrated enterprise, seamless processes now exist between fi nance,
procurement, inventory, service management and customer service systems.
No matter where a user enters the process or which system they enter,
context is synchronized. Th is minimizes data entry points and duplicate
eff orts, allows control of new and existing incidents faster and creates an
audit trail that would not be possible without the integrated enterprise.
Manually-linked steps are reduced which helps to produce more accurate
results. Th e end result is signifi cant time and total cost of ownership
savings, as well as the added benefi t of compliance with present and future
reporting regulations.
Does it support visibility and decision support for business users
without process re-engineering? How oft en have you heard that it
takes days or weeks to get a simple report into the hands of executive
management because current siloed data is too complex to compile
quickly? In today’s world of accountability and fi scal responsibility,
executive management must attest to the veracity of their fi nancial
statements or risk heft y fi nes or worse. Siloed systems simply will not
work. Executive management and business users must be able to view every
piece of available data about all enterprise assets in a manner that will help
them in their mission, not hinder them in their eff orts. Centralized and
decentralized organizations benefi t equally from the integrated enterprise
simply because both can be supported from a single infrastructure.
What about wireless technologies? Enterprises live in the age of right-
time / real-time data. Th e combination of wireless technology and the
integrated enterprise greatly increases asset accuracy, enables real-time
/ right-time detail, and assists in the initial identifi cation, delivery and
transfers of assets. Inventories can be conducted in near real-time with
wireless handheld devices. New technology has enabled image capture
embedded in the handheld that can help ensure accurate representations
of the asset in question. Information can be synchronized in real-time
with automatic updates or synchronized in near real-time by batch loading
inventory data on a specifi ed schedule.
Is the system included as part of the IT Service Desk? Th e ability to
deliver service and support has a direct impact on business performance.
To ensure that service levels meet both customer requirements while
keeping employee productivity high, service and support must reduce
service outages and streamline operations. If strategic asset management
is not included as part of the IT Service Desk, this means that there is a
breakdown in the communication with how assets are being used and when
they are maintained. A stand-alone asset management system – even if it is
an enterprise-wide system - will not be successful in supporting enterprise
goals.
Does it support inventory sampling standards? Wall-to-wall physical
inventories are oft en costly, time-consuming and disruptive. Real-world
events occur during the time wall-to-wall inventories are conducted. By the
time the inventory is completed, an asset may have moved or transferred,
or retired. Creating and using sampling standards rather than complete
wall-to-wall inventories can assure enterprises of repeatable processes and
statistically accurate results.
Can the system integrate Radio Frequency Identifi cation (RFID)
technology or is RFID on its product roadmap? RFID technology
signifi cantly reduces the time needed for labor-intensive activities, such as
initial identifi cation and delivery, physical asset inventories, and location
management. RFID technology can contain more information about
specifi c assets than bar-coding technology and include such items as make,
serial number, etc. Working within the integrated enterprise, previously
siloed departments are able to use the data captured with RFID to
determine utilization metrics, total cost of ownership, service agreements,
re-utilization timeframes and disposal requirements.
Life-cycle Asset Management
What is Life-cycle Asset Management?
Life-cycle Asset Management is the process of monitoring, controlling and
accounting for assets throughout their lifecycle and is part of the overall
service and support business process. Every enterprise asset is tracked
and managed in a single system of record or CMDB. All asset changes,
including maintenance information, trouble ticket data, status inventory,
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utilization metrics and usage, are recorded in its central repository and
linked to other BPM tasks. Other critical tasks include disposing of assets
properly when they have reached the end of their useful life to ensure that
all possible revenue is reclaimed, including items such as soft ware licenses.
Life-cycle asset management mitigates the risks associated or triggered
with asset disposal such as hazardous waste, export control technology, the
unintended disclosure of trade secrets, or the loss of leased property.
By capturing the data for each of these stages and then analyzing and
reporting on this diverse information, enterprises can establish a complete
representation of the vast number of assets into which they have invested
their resources. In turn, this information becomes the foundation for
optimizing the use and deployment of all assets enterprise-wide.
Life-cycle Asset Management – a best practice
Life-cycle asset management lives in a process-driven and knowledge-
centric environment. Th e real-time support and analytics required for
optimal business process management means that stand-alone service
desk and asset management systems are now insuffi cient. LAM requires
a knowledge-centric architecture that is part of the overall service and
support environment. Consider how an asset travels through the lifecycle:
Phase 1: Th e enterprise begins with the specifi cation, procurement and
receipt of an asset. Pre-existing assets are repurposed. If an asset must be
purchased, new acquisition data is captured to be semantically viewed by
the aff ected departments and automatically understood by IT Service and
Support.
Phase 2: Th e asset is assigned to the department and person that will be
responsible for the asset. Movement, upgrades, maintenance, and other
lifecycle events are captured to enable effi cient management and tracking as
well as potential security breeches.
Phase 3: As assets reach the end of their intended use, they must be re-
purposed, put into storage, or retired.
Th ese phases demand a holistic solution for asset management. Th ere are
seven requirements that are overwhelmingly essential to a strategic asset
management solution:
1. Asset management must have a comprehensive and repeatable process
that is practiced for all assets from the time they are acquired until
the time they are disposed based on the specifi c business needs to the
enterprise.
2. Th e system must be accessible for all enterprise users through IT Service
and Support and provide an intuitive interface that can derive context
from other applications.
3. Th e system must include a self-service interface that allows users to
submit tickets, view updates and search an intuitive knowledgebase for
solutions
4. Detailed and reasonable verifi cation audit processes must be followed to
ensure the system is accurate.
5. Th e asset system must be one piece of enterprise Business Process
Management applications that include CRM, Service and Support,
Application Lifecycle Management and ERP.
6. Th e asset system must help to support current and future accountability
initiatives such as ITIL, SOX, Basel II, HIPPA, UID initiative, and
JFMIP requirements.
7. Th e system must be secure so that sensitive information is not revealed to
unauthorized users, externally or internally.
Business Process Management
Comprehensive and repeatable processes
Employing comprehensive and repeatable business processes for assets
ensures that the enterprise can better plan new asset acquisition and
reallocate assets that are either already deployed or are not actively used. It
also initiates tracking once an order is placed and before an asset is received
in the enterprise. Purchase commitments can now be monitored for receipt
and cost validation, providing enhanced fi nancial control.
Th is philosophy also helps prevent the inappropriate or reckless disposal
of assets. Th e transfer of some scientifi c or technical equipment is
prohibited, equipment subject to hazardous substances must be sanitized,
and data contained on computers must be cleansed before disposal. All
these instances can be prevented by comprehensive asset tracking and
management.
Proper asset disposal
Retiring workstations and other IT assets is a lot more complicated than
disposing of most big-ticket items. Should you recycle the components,
cascade the assets to employees with fewer computing needs, or resell the
used assets? Should you donate them to a charity for a potential tax credit?
How do you comply with requirements such as those arising from the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proper disposal? Companies
oft en pile obsolete assets in storage closets to avoid dealing with these
complex issues. Strategic Asset Management enables a company to
maintain a complete audit trail of each asset’s end of life that can impact tax
liabilities, environmental penalties and overall return on investment.
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Current and future regulations
As a process-driven approach, the ITIL framework is applicable to all
IT organizations irrespective of their size. With the ITIL framework all
organizations can optimize their IT infrastructure to provide for existing
and anticipated business requirements, they can enhance IT service quality
to increase confi dence in IT systems and service delivery and in many cases,
permanently lower their total cost of IT ownership or TCO including the
service cost.
Th e tools that organizations use should support the ITIL framework and
the dynamic nature of the business process. For example, do the tools
provide seamless integration with known error and change management
processes? Can knowledge grow from lessons learned? ITIL has brought a
clear understanding of IT’s critical importance to the business operation.
It is no longer enough to simply maintain the IT infrastructure by
adjusting and upgrading aft er the need has arisen – today’s IT managers are
expected to support the success of the entire business by planning ahead
and proactively-shaping the business IT environment – and ITIL helps to
facilitate this process.
Moreover, with the best practice now arising from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,
public organizations are faced with a mandated fi duciary responsibility
to accurately report their fi nancial status. Th is escalates the importance of
maintaining accurate fi nancial data from a historical perspective, as well
as actual managerial validation that the internal controls that produce
and maintain the fi nancial data truly serve their intended purpose on an
ongoing basis. With improved internal controls and business processes,
enterprises can satisfy fi duciary responsibilities – even if the company is not
publicly traded.
Accessibility
To be successful, the system must be securely accessible to all individuals
within the enterprise. Web-based distribution and notifi cation of
pending events with automatic triggers and business rules, as well as
an intuitive interface that integrates with and looks like other desktop
applications is crucial. Th is also includes the ability to self-manage assets,
release management capabilities and built-in intelligence for a searchable
knowledgebase of solutions to specifi c service requests.
Verifi cation audit
Verifi cation audits, or physical inventory processes, demonstrate the
veracity of the service system’s contents. Th is process is accomplished in a
number of ways such as statistical sampling, inventory by exception and
electronic inventories. It is critical that an enterprise passes verifi cation
audits - failing could mean fi nancial penalties, or worse, loss of jobs.
Strategic asset management systems enable enterprises to successfully
complete physical inventory audits because all asset information is in
a single system of record and is tied to the overall service and support
business process.
But the benefi ts of a comprehensive physical inventory process goes deeper.
Because accountability has been properly established, users now become
an integral member in the review process, rather than a passive participant.
Th e clear benefi t is that if employees know they are going to be accountable
for assets, they are more likely to protect them. Th e benefi ts go to the
enterprise too - theft s and loses are discovered sooner because it gives the
employee an opportunity to disclose information without fear of reprisal.
Integration with other enterprise systems
Integrating semantically with other enterprise applications streamlines
the asset management process across departments. It facilitates workfl ow
between departments and lessens the manual eff ort and recordation tasks.
Here are some examples:
Order Entry / Purchasing / Receiving Systems- skeletal records are initiated
when orders are placed for assets. Th is ensures that records are complete at
physical receipt time and tagging.
Human Resources Systems - integrating with the human resource system
is key to ensuring proper maintenance of personal and organizational
accountability. Th e service and support system is able to automatically
recognize new employees and their place in the enterprise so that the
proper authorized rights are established. And as employees move through
or leave the enterprise, the interface enables the service and support system
to reassign or revoke rights to assets. Once employees are no longer with
the company, the system will prevent new assets from being assigned to
them.
Security
Can you guarantee that the very latest virus protection fi les are installed
on all of your desktops? Do you know how oft en desktops and various
hardware components simply disappear from your enterprise? Can you
identify everyone in the organization with access to sensitive information
such as customer data?
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Th ere are two security levels in an asset management system. Th e database,
network and access programs must prevent unauthorized access including
internal employees or those attempting to gain access using the Internet.
Th e second level ensures that users only have access to information
that directly relates to them or their roles. Th is prevents unauthorized
accountability transfers and interference on what other individuals and
organization units may be doing.
Accountability
Establishing accountability for an asset at the department/workgroup and
person level has long been viewed as simply a means to mitigate theft . Th is
is accomplished on a tactical level, but, perhaps even more, accountability
helps to ensure that the right assets are allocated to the right people and
organizational units at the right time.
Accountability minimizes the risk of possible claims aft er asset disposal.
For example, there may be a claim that an asset containing hazardous waste
was disposed in a landfi ll without conducting proper procedures. Having
a complete chain of accountability can potentially save millions of dollars
in lawsuit or court costs. Network security benefi ts from accountability
as well. Because enterprises know who has been allocated particular
equipment, network attacks can be pinpointed and mitigated promptly
with less loss to the enterprise.
Conclusion
In this whitepaper, we have looked at the need for strategic asset
management; tracking and managing enterprise assets from acquisition to
retirement. We have examined the drivers for asset management initiatives,
from a compliance perspective and from the overall fi nancial health of
the enterprise. Based on that information, we have compared diff erent
approaches to asset management and advantages / disadvantages to each
philosophy.
What enterprises now must do is determine what they wish their service
and support system to do for them – how technology will best fi t into
their business goals and processes. Ask the hard questions; will this system
optimize management, service delivery and drive business innovation?
Does it increase utilization and reduce costs across the enterprise? Does
it provide the transparent visibility and context required to comply with
regulations and fi duciary responsibilities?
Th e concept of Life-cycle Asset Management means little to the business
user who is on the hook for their company’s business management
processes. Th is means that IT architectures must make a clean separation
between business processes and the underlying technology. Tools that
help model business processes must be able to involve business logic
and user interfaces, as well as an infrastructure that can rapidly support
development.
Th e language of business users is still around purchase orders, accountable
parties and fi nancial statements. It is at this level that they demand visibility
into the information coming from their IT investments. Th e end result will
be the integrated enterprise that will deliver what business users need to see.
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