Chapter 7


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Chapter 7

  1. 1. Asset and Change Management Tools Guide to Help Desk Technology, Tools, and Techniques 7
  2. 2. Objectives <ul><li>In this chapter you will learn: </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of asset management to companies </li></ul><ul><li>The role of support groups in asset management </li></ul><ul><li>Common features of asset management software and how support staff use them </li></ul><ul><li>Well-known asset management software vendors </li></ul><ul><li>The role of support groups in change management processes </li></ul>7
  3. 3. Managing Business Assets <ul><li>Assets include any item of value owned by an individual or corporation that could be converted to cash </li></ul><ul><li>Asset management is the process of collecting and maintaining a comprehensive list of items that a company owns </li></ul><ul><li>Total cost of ownership (TCO) includes the initial cost of hardware and software, the cost of installation, user training and support upgrades, and repairs </li></ul><ul><li>Physical inventories are a survey to confirm existing assets by locating and identifying each asset </li></ul>7
  4. 4. The Role of Support in Tracking Assets <ul><li>The help desk, which is the central point of contact for computer users, is the best place to concentrate their asset management processes </li></ul><ul><li>The help desk is also involved when PC users upgrade their systems, which increases the value of each asset to the company </li></ul>7
  5. 5. Acquisitions and Disaster Recovery <ul><li>IT managers monitor technology assets and take responsibility for acquiring technology </li></ul><ul><li>The managers can negotiate better pricing for bulk purchases and contracts when they have accurate inventories </li></ul><ul><li>Upgrade planning is one of the most important TCO activities that IT managers complete </li></ul>7
  6. 6. Acquisitions and Disaster Recovery <ul><li>Obtaining accurate and current information about a company’s technology assets will continue to be a big challenge for IT departments </li></ul><ul><li>Accurate records of software and hardware, as well as the configurations of individual computers, are also important for disaster recovery planning </li></ul><ul><li>Disaster recovery is a plan for restoring critical business functions after a disaster, to minimize loss of income </li></ul>7
  7. 7. Software License Compliance <ul><li>Software is an asset, but it can also represent a liability for companies </li></ul><ul><li>Computer software is intellectual property—elements of human intellect that are unique and original, and have value </li></ul><ul><li>Software is protected by copyright , the exclusive legal rights granted to authors, artists, composers, or programmers to distribute or sell their creations </li></ul><ul><li>In the early days of PC evolution, software companies used copy protection , software tools that prevented people from making unauthorized copies of software </li></ul>7
  8. 8. Software License Compliance <ul><li>A dongle is a copy protection device that plugs into the computer or attaches to a printer port that enables software to run </li></ul><ul><li>A dongle is also called a hardware key </li></ul><ul><li>Software piracy is the act of illegally copying or using software </li></ul><ul><li>To help prevent illegal copying, software vendors developed license agreements , which are legal statements that clearly define the terms under which a person can use software </li></ul>7
  9. 9. Sample Dongles 7
  10. 10. Software License Compliance <ul><li>There are three types of software licenses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One license per PC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concurrent licensing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site licensing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One of the most common forms of software piracy is employees bringing unlicensed software to work from home </li></ul>7
  11. 11. Problem Prevention <ul><li>Specifically managers want to identify PCs with chronic hardware problems </li></ul><ul><li>Maintaining an accurate software inventory can also prevent software problems </li></ul><ul><li>An accurate inventory also prevents support calls as customers add and upgrade software </li></ul>7
  12. 12. Common Asset Management Software Features 7
  13. 13. Financial Information <ul><li>Important financial information to track in asset management systems includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendor - Date of purchase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial cost - Additional costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance contract - Current value </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nonsupport staff record most of the financial information in the asset management system when the item is received </li></ul>7
  14. 14. Inventory <ul><li>The primary parts of an asset management inventory include: </li></ul><ul><li>Warranty information </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Hardware elements </li></ul><ul><li>Software elements </li></ul><ul><li>Network information </li></ul>7
  15. 15. Warranty <ul><li>A warranty is written guarantee of the integrity of a product and of the maker’s responsibility for the repair or replacement of defective parts </li></ul><ul><li>Several pieces of information make up the warranty information: the vendor that provides the warranty, the warranty terms, and the warranty period </li></ul><ul><li>Support staff can save the company money because replacements or repairs during the warranty period cost less than buying new equipment </li></ul>7
  16. 16. Ownership <ul><li>Hardware ownership identifies who will approve repairs and upgrade expenses </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership also helps establish the physical location of hardware and the impact of problems </li></ul><ul><li>Support staff need to know when shared pieces of equipment have problems, to determine the impact of a problem with that device </li></ul>7
  17. 17. Hardware Elements <ul><li>Hardware information is important because support staff use different troubleshooting methods depending upon the hardware configuration </li></ul><ul><li>Specialized hardware can conflict with the BIOS or operating system </li></ul>7
  18. 18. Hardware Elements <ul><li>PC support staff commonly track the following hardware information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asset number - Serial number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make/model - Type </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Description - RAM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disk size - Operating system and version </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Device name </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hardware inventories help support staff troubleshoot more quickly and prevent problems when customers upgrade equipment </li></ul>7
  19. 19. Software Elements <ul><li>Software assets are more difficult to manage than physical assets — even when software is running, it may not be visible because some software doesn’t interact with the computer user </li></ul><ul><li>Support staff look at the mix of software when troubleshooting </li></ul><ul><li>Troubleshooting software problems requires an understanding of hardware, operating system, and interactions with other software running on the desktop to determine a problem’s cause </li></ul>7
  20. 20. Software Elements <ul><li>Software vendors periodically publish patches to fix specific bugs, and the patches can cause new problems </li></ul><ul><li>A patch is a quick modification of a program, which is sometimes a temporary fix until the problem can be solved more thoroughly </li></ul><ul><li>Some of the software information tracked in an asset management system includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product name - Version </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patch level - Serial number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Installation type </li></ul></ul>7
  21. 21. Network Information <ul><li>Some support problems are problems with network hardware or traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Different groups of users may share different hardware or software </li></ul><ul><li>Locating the source of a network problem is one of the most difficult types of support problems </li></ul><ul><li>Network connectivity describes the connections between computers on a network </li></ul>7
  22. 22. Network Connectivity Map 7
  23. 23. Discovery <ul><li>Discovery agents are software tools that explore the devices on a network and collect hardware and software information in inventory files </li></ul><ul><li>They can use the discovery agents to update the inventory on demand for a specific network device, provided that they know its name </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery agents collect information about a network device as long as the network device is turned on and connected to the network </li></ul><ul><li>Support groups used discovery agents to check for Year 2000 compatibility </li></ul>7
  24. 24. Discovery <ul><li>Discovery agents cannot collect all the important information, only information stored in the software or hardware </li></ul>7
  25. 25. Remote Control <ul><li>Remote control software enables support staff to take temporary control of a remote computer </li></ul><ul><li>Remote control is a new technology that helps support staff reduce the amount of time they spend on the telephone with callers or in the field troubleshooting PCs </li></ul><ul><li>When a problem occurs, the computer user starts the remote control software from a menu </li></ul><ul><li>The support staff can then use their mouse and keyboard to open programs, files, or menus on the remote computer </li></ul>7
  26. 26. Remote Control <ul><li>The software can freeze the computer user’s keyboard and mouse or allow dual control </li></ul><ul><li>Support staff use remote control software to save travel time and get more accurate problem information </li></ul><ul><li>Support staff can also use remote control software to teach computer users complex tasks </li></ul>7
  27. 27. Software Distribution <ul><li>Installing, updating, and removing software is time-consuming </li></ul><ul><li>To save time and ensure consistency, support staff can use software distribution applications to automatically install, upgrade, or remove software </li></ul><ul><li>Automated software distribution also eliminates follow-up support calls because the software is installed and configured correctly on every PC </li></ul>7
  28. 28. Software Distribution Vendors 7
  29. 29. Asset Management Vendors <ul><li>Asset management software tracks business assets such as equipment, vehicles, buildings, and furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Several vendors provide asset management software designed to collect information specifically about technology assets </li></ul>7
  30. 30. Technology Asset Management Vendors 7
  31. 31. Change Management <ul><li>Change management procedures require employees who request changes to identify and evaluate risks to the company </li></ul><ul><li>They do this by projecting possible downtime and estimating resources required to complete the change </li></ul><ul><li>A change request may begin with a request to add PCs to the network, add access to a shared printer, or assign a telephone extension for new employees </li></ul>7
  32. 32. Change Management <ul><li>The help desk is usually involved in the initial stages of the software change management process. Their tasks involve: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collecting information from the computer user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Verifying that the suspected bug is a software problem and not a feature of the product the caller just doesn’t understand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requesting a program change on behalf of the caller </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IT operational changes can affect support staff and the computer users in a bigger way than single customer requests do </li></ul>7
  33. 33. Change Management <ul><li>Typical IT projects include upgrades to database software, reboots or maintenance of key pieces of network equipment, or deploying a Windows upgrade to hundreds or thousands of business users </li></ul><ul><li>IT operational changes are tracked with special change management systems or project management tools </li></ul><ul><li>Asset management and change management processes are closely related </li></ul>7
  34. 34. Chapter Summary <ul><li>Asset management software is important to companies because computers are more modular than in the past </li></ul><ul><li>Help desks maintain some asset management elements because they receive most of the requests to make changes </li></ul><ul><li>IT managers have the responsibility for upgrading software for business users </li></ul><ul><li>Asset management software includes financial information and inventory </li></ul>7
  35. 35. Chapter Summary <ul><li>Discovery agents are new software tools that automatically update inventory information </li></ul><ul><li>Remote control software allows support staff to take control of a PC monitor, keyboard, and mouse over a network </li></ul><ul><li>Automated software delivery systems minimize support calls because all installations are completed the same way </li></ul><ul><li>IT change management attempts to minimize disruption for computer users </li></ul>7