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Consolidate and Expand Your Discovery Data _Build a More ...

  1. 1. WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT Consolidate and Expand Your Discovery Data: Build a More Proactive Asset Management Program JANUARY 2008 John Fulton B U S I N E SS S E RV I C E O P T I M I Z AT I O N
  2. 2. Table of Contents Executive Summary SECTION 1 2 The Challenge to Do More with Less Increasing Demands on IT SECTION 2 3 Consolidate and Expand Your Discovery Data SECTION 3 12 Efficient, Effective IT Asset Management Improve Decision Making Reduce Costs and Risk Manage by Exception Increase Accuracy and Confidence SECTION 4 13 Conclusions SECTION 5 14 References SECTION 6 14 About the Author ABOUT CA Back Cover Copyright © 2008 CA. All rights reserved. All trademarks, trade names, service marks and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies. This document is for your informational purposes only. To the extent permitted by applicable law, CA provides this document “As Is” without warranty of any kind, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, or noninfringement. In no event will CA be liable for any loss or damage, direct or indirect, from the use of this document including, without limitation, lost profits, business interruption, goodwill or lost data, even if CA is expressly advised of such damages.
  3. 3. Executive Summary Challenge IT organizations are challenged to improve service in the face of limited resources, static or declining budgets and increased regulatory demands. IT managers can no longer rely solely on asset discovery tools to give them the answers they need to be an efficient and cost-effective IT department. Many organizations struggle to consolidate data sources and track critical ownership information including location, warranty and maintenance, status and individuals responsible for IT assets. Technicians need more asset information to make optimal decisions for maintaining or improving service levels. Opportunity This White Paper discusses how to make the leap from basic asset tracking to a more robust asset management program that can improve decision-making and service levels, reduce costs and mitigate risks. The focus is the CA IT Asset Management solution’s ability to accelerate your IT Asset Management (ITAM) program’s maturity by providing asset ownership information (the complement to discovery information). This solution helps to consolidate and expand your discovery data, leveraging an easy-to-use rules- based hardware reconciliation engine and import tool. The reconciliation engine is designed to capture, reconcile and update hardware asset information through the entire lifecycle including requisition, discovery, management and disposal while the intuitive import tool will empower you to expand your data beyond discovery information. Benefits Leveraging the out-of-the-box integration between CA Unicenter® Asset Management, CA Unicenter® Asset Intelligence, CA Unicenter® Asset Portfolio Management and third party discovery tools to expand your discovery data enables you to accelerate the maturity of your ITAM program, which results in: IMPROVING DECISION MAKING by Consolidating and Expanding Your Discovery Data. REDUCING COSTS by Identifying Available, Unauthorized and Missing Equipment. MANAGING BY EXCEPTION to Focus on What Impacts Business Most. INCREASING ACCURACY AND CONFIDENCE by Automating the Creation and Management of Your Assets. WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 1
  4. 4. SECTION 1 The Challenge to Do More with Less Increasing Demands on IT Some days it feels like new IT demands and challenges appear around every cubicle, office, rack or data center corner. The demands are coming from all directions, spanning technology trends like virtualization and VoIP to government regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA. The primary business drivers are revolving around corporate governance, business alignment, cost reduction and risk mitigation. Adding to IT’s challenge is the ever present executive level mandate to perform more with less. These increasing pressures further expose the need for organizations to implement a mature IT Asset Management (ITAM) program. CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS OF DISCOVERY DATA In past decades, many organizations relied solely on their discovery tools to answer most, if not all, of their asset management questions. Those organizations were not able to identify available equipment, the physical location of an asset, if it was under maintenance or a warranty and the history of changes just to name a few examples of discovery data gaps. Compounding this, today we find many organizations, as the result of mergers and acquisitions or siloed departments, with more than one discovery tool posing the added challenge of providing a consolidated view of all enterprise IT resources. In addition to the data consolidation challenge, today’s pressures also expose the requirement to manage the lifecycle of the company’s assets, including information that in most cases cannot be discovered. The need for expanded information includes contractual information (i.e. maintenance and warranty information), costs (e.g. purchase, lease, maintenance, and service costs), vendor information, status/availability, and ownership information (e.g. cost center, department, and user). Having ready access to this additional information is critical to field technicians who support the asset base. Service levels cannot be maintained or improved with just discovery data; discovery data must be expanded to reconcile and track this additional information. Organizations today must compare what they have purchased or leased to what has been discovered. Those who rely on discovery data will never know if a purchased laptop was actually received, or even more disturbing, was received but disappeared. The opposite case is also a concern. If an employee brings his own laptop into the corporate environment, or buys and attaches a non-standard laptop, the discovery tool will not identify the laptop as one that did not go through the proper procurement process posing both security and financial risks. VIRTUALIZATION — BACK TO THE FUTURE The use of virtualization software is rapidly accelerating due to numerous drivers including cost savings by consolidation, disaster recovery and improvements in the software which manages the virtual images. This poses a very interesting challenge. Many organizations started their IT Asset Management program by managing hardware, in part, because hardware is tangible and relatively easier to manage than software. With the increased adoption of virtualization, the trend is to go ‘back to the future’. Today, we are seeing a move toward the mainframe computing model, in which multiple images are consolidated on a single machine. 2 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  5. 5. It is ironic that virtualization, in essence, turns hardware (at least the virtual images) into software. Now, with the advent of virtualization, the relatively simple task of hardware asset management becomes increasingly complicated. You can no longer look at a server and determine if the machine is functioning as a single server or multiple servers. The implications of this change affect all areas — compliance, cost and governance. The challenge of efficient and effective asset management will only increase as the popularity and ease of using virtualization software grows. The virtualization trend reinforces the need for an enterprise IT Asset Management program. DISPARATE INFORMATION Today, nearly every department in an organization has some asset management data somewhere. In fact, most organizations have data ‘somewhere and everywhere’ — in spreadsheets, in a discovery tool repository, (or in many cases, multiple discovery tools), in Access databases, or even on paper! Typically the data is departmentalized, where each group or department (e.g. IT, Legal, HR and Procurement) collects only the information they need on only the assets they have. The challenge is to compile, standardize, analyze and convert this data into information that aligns with the needs of the business and crosses departmental boundaries. When all the sources of asset information are associated to give a comprehensive asset view, the result is a useful synergy that can benefit all departments. For example, those organizations with discovery data may have contract and vendor information, HR data, a spreadsheet with warehouse/available assets, advanced shipping notices (ASNs) which contain core asset information (make, model, serial number, etc.) in various locations and formats. Associating these multiple sources of information can improve decision-making, reduce response time and improve service levels by providing technicians with more comprehensive information at their fingertips. In many cases technicians may be able to access the latest discovery information for a machine they are supporting, but may not have warranty and maintenance information or other critical ownership information. Having a broader set of asset information would allow a technician to determine how best to provide the support requested. Disclaimer: Technology can enable organizations to mature their ITAM programs, but without solid processes, success will be ever-elusive. This White Paper does not discuss the best practices for implementing and enforcing processes, policies and procedures, but focuses on the technologies, specifically hardware reconciliation and simplified import tools, as enablers towards a more mature ITAM program. SECTION 2 Consolidate and Expand Your Discovery Data This whitepaper holds two key recommendations around discovery data: consolidation and expansion. As discussed above, many organizations are challenged to consolidate multiple asset discovery tools into a single enterprise view. CA provides the technology to unite these sources. The CA Asset Converter for Microsoft SMS® solves this challenge by transferring the inventory data collected by Microsoft SMS into the CA Enterprise Management Database. This provides a single point of analysis with the ability to leverage the broad range of integrated CA management solutions, including Service and Support, Software Compliance, Service Management, Lease and Contract Management, Financial Management and Decision Support. WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 3
  6. 6. In addition to the SMS integration, CA provides the mechanism to accept any third-party discovery tool data. This provides a gateway to import data into the CA Enterprise Management Database thus achieving the goal of consolidating discovery data into an enterprise view. The second key recommendation is the expansion of discovery data. This can be one of the most effective ways of becoming more proactive with the management of your assets. By identifying and analyzing the numerous data sources (i.e. finding commonality), you can expand/supplement your discovery data with the other sources in your organization. In most cases, there is a common link between the information; it could be a serial number, an employee id, an asset tag, or something unique to tie the information back to the asset, contact, company and/or contract. Figure A represents the concept of ‘expanding discovery data’ by identifying the common data elements which are typically added or linked to discovery data. These common data elements allow you to identify the physical location, owner, costs, maintenance and warranty information necessary to reduce response times and improve service levels while lowering costs and risk. FIGURE A GO BEYOND DISCOVERY DATA Extend your discovery data with a variety of sources to improve decision making, service levels while lowering costs and risk. 4 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  7. 7. CA IT ASSET MANAGEMENT SOLUTION CA IT Asset Management (CA ITAM) proactively manages all IT assets in your business environment and provides instant knowledge of what assets are deployed. Equally important, CA ITAM provides knowledge of assets you own that are not currently deployed. It delivers full-featured asset tracking capabilities through automated discovery, hardware and software inventory, configuration management, software usage monitoring, software license management and extensive cross-platform reporting. The CA IT Asset Management solution, which includes Unicenter® Asset Management, Unicenter® Asset Portfolio Management and Unicenter® Asset Intelligence, can: • Easily identify unauthorized, missing and under-utilized assets to optimize your hardware asset base • Track discovered asset configuration changes including memory and disk space • Add owned hardware assets from discovery under a controlled process • Link assets to financial and contractual information WHERE YOU ARE TODAY Before you can identify where you can improve your IT Asset Management program, you must identify your current state. Maturity models can be used as a framework to assess and guide next steps in an ITAM program. Below is one example of CA’s maturity model which highlights the characteristics associated with the four maturity levels. This whitepaper focuses on customers at the ‘Active’ maturity level. Organizations at this level typically focus on today and not tomorrow. Companies at this level are more reactive than proactive. They rely mainly on discovery tools for their IT Asset Management needs, commonly requiring physical inventories and have disparate, little or no information on the status, cost, location, warranty and maintenance. Spreadsheets or databases may be used, but due to the lack of repeatable processes these data sources do not provide a confident source of information. FIGURE B CA ITAM MATURITY MODEL Maturity models can be used as a framework to assess and guide next steps in an ITAM program. WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 5
  8. 8. According to CMP Research (May 2006)1, more than 40% of companies surveyed either don’t have any concrete knowledge of their asset base or use spreadsheets and discovery tools to track, locate and identify assets. This highlights the fact that a large number of organizations have the opportunity to significantly improve their IT Asset Management programs and move to a more proactive and efficient IT Asset Management program. The remainder of this whitepaper highlights the benefits and capabilities of moving from the Level 1 (Active) to the Level 2 (Efficient) maturity level. As previously mentioned, process improvement is essential to improved maturity but we will now focus on the key concept of ‘reconciliation’ as the technology enabler to move to the next level. RULES-BASED RECONCILATION Essential to making the move to Level 2 (Efficient) in the maturity model is the requirement to reconcile discovery data with ownership data. Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management provides a rules-based hardware reconciliation engine for Unicenter Asset Management and any third-party discovery tool customers with the ability to compare data, create assets and manage changes between what has been discovered versus what is owned. Many organizations are in a reactive state and might not have much, if any, asset information outside of their discovery solution(s). The rules-based engine allows those less mature organizations to begin to build their asset data based upon discovery data. As time goes by and the organization matures it relies less on discovery data to populate their asset management database. For those organizations who struggle to improve and mature their processes, this engine provides a means to create and maintain core asset information. Several of the built in features of Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management allow you to add additional critical asset information; including status, cost, maintenance, warranty, owner/contact and location. Figure C highlights the hardware reconciliation concept and overlays the integrated CA solution. In addition to Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management and Unicenter Asset Management, Unicenter Asset Intelligence provides users with an interactive way of viewing, summarizing and analyzing the wealth of asset information. This business intelligence solution allows you to view critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which slice and dice the data; drill down to view specific asset details and launch into the other CA solutions for even more information. This interactive solution consolidates and translates the overwhelming amount of data into usable information. 6 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  9. 9. FIGURE C ITAM ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS — OWNERSHIP AND DISCOVERY CA's ITAM solution provides a powerful rules-based hardware reconciliation engine to compare data, create assets and manage changes between what has been discovered versus what is owned. CONFIGURABLE RECONCILIATION RULES Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management’s rules-based hardware reconciliation engine provides a set of easy to configure rules for matching, viewing exceptions and updating asset information. These rules include: • Configurable Matching Rules allowing each customer to define the rules to match assets, whether it is based up serial number, machine name, MAC address (just to name a few) or a combination of these fields. • Translation Lists help overcome one of the most difficult issues when trying to compare/match ownership asset records to discovered asset records -- terminology. What is being discovered often does not reconcile to what was purchased. Use translations lists to build common terminology and help normalize the data. • Monitor Field Changes to identify changes in your environment with the option to view and accept those exceptions or automatically update the asset record. • Rules to Add Assets allows users to define several characteristics when adding an asset based upon discovery data including the status. This feature allows an organization to see assets created from discovery data, which in many cases represents unauthorized assets or assets which did not go through the proper procurement process. The status can be used to identify those newly created assets. For example, you could use the status value of ‘Discovered’ to search and review all assets created through this process and update the assets accordingly. WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 7
  10. 10. FIGURE D HARDWARE RECONCILIATION RULES DEFINITION Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management’s rules-based hardware reconciliation engine provides a set of easy to configure rules for matching data, viewing exceptions and updating asset information. Define task, run frequency and manual or automatic options Define asset creation rules Define fields to monitor and rules to update (i.e. manual or automatic) MANAGE BY EXCEPTION As a result of the rules defined, each organization can control when they want to view exceptions and when they want to automatically update an asset with any changes or create a new asset. A number of exception screens are provided to view the numerous types of exceptions identified during the hardware reconciliation process, they include: • Approve Proposed Matches allows you to see which assets have been newly matched between discovery and ownership (Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management) based upon the defined matching rules. • Reconcile Owned and Discovered Assets enables you to view and manually reconcile assets. Ideally, using this feature is more the exception than the rule. The reconciliation rules you define should minimize this list of assets. This is commonly used in the rare case where no match is established and you need to manually establish the link. • Add Assets to Ownership Repository allows you to view and approve any assets discovered but not matched in Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management (see Figure E below). • Apply Field Changes to Owned Assets allows you to monitor and control field changes driven by discovery once the link has been established. The fields include memory, processor speed, processor count, disk space, machine name and operating system. • Undo Matching allows you to handle several different scenarios where you may want to unlink or un-match assets. For example, if an asset is removed/deleted from discovery or ownership, you can see those assets and remove the link. The benefit is not the ability to remove the link but to see the exception of those assets deleted. 8 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  11. 11. FIGURE E VIEW AND APPROVE MATCHES View and approve matches between ownership and discovery data. Identifies proposed matches for approval FIGURE F IDENTIFY AND CREATE NEW ASSETS Identify discovered assets not in the ownership repository then determine if you want to create and manage the life cycle of those assets including costs, contracts, location and other ownership information. Identifies proposed discovered assets to add WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 9
  12. 12. EASILY IMPORT DATA To avoid the effort and complexities of writing the code that is commonly required to import data; Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management provides a simplified import tool to easily import data from any flat file source. This intuitive wizard interface empowers a non-technical user to import and expand discovery data by walking them through the steps to perform the import which includes: • Easily identify your flat file data source, delimiter, and object (e.g. asset, contract, company, cost center, etc…) • Save import mappings for recurring use • Intuitively map data source columns to Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management fields • Define global values to assign to the assets. For example, if your data source does not include the cost center, status or location, you can easily define global values (e.g. 1111, Received, Chicago Data Center) to assign to your assets. • Define the rules to perform insert or updates (i.e. define the rules to determine when to update or create a new record) • Create exclusion filters to identify a subset of records to import or exclude • View summary statistics • Review the easy-to-understand log messages to identify mapping and/or data issues • Utilize the command line interface to schedule and run imports unattended FIGURE G INTUITIVE TOOL TO IMPORT AND EXPAND YOUR DISCOVERY DATA CA's ITAM Solution includes an intuitive import tool reducing the effort Map your fields to Unicenter Asset by eliminating the need to write code Portfolio Management fields in order to import data and expanding your discovery data. Identify your data source, delimiter and object View a summary of your import including number of records, progress, errors and warnings 10 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  13. 13. With the ability to easily import data in combination with creation of core asset information via hardware reconciliation, CA provides a straightforward way of expanding discovery data to empower the technicians in the field to ultimately improve service levels and decision making. INTERACTIVE REPORTING WITH UNICENTER ASSET INTELLIGENCE CA further enhances your IT Asset Management experience by providing Unicenter Asset Intelligence for multiple CA solutions including both Unicenter Asset Management and Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management along with third party discovery tools. Unicenter Asset Intelligence allows you to intuitively analyze this information by: • Viewing summary information across multiple CA solutions and business units • Providing drill down capabilities • Launching into other CA solutions to view additional asset and contract detail • Grouping and filtering data The integration with Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management includes several key performance indicators around contracts, assets, and hardware reconciliation. These links allow you to see contracts about to expire, assets not reconciled and additional asset information. You can quickly filter and group data. For example, you can filter to only show ‘available’ laptops by location to determine if you need to order or ship the laptop to the necessary location. FIGURE H UNICENTER ASSET INTELLIGENCE Unicenter Asset Intelligence allows you to view critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which slice and dice the data; drill down to view specific asset details and launch into the other CA solutions for even more information. This interactive solution consolidates and translates the overwhelming amount of data into usable information. WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 11
  14. 14. SECTION 3 Efficient, Effective IT Asset Management Improve Decision Making Discovery data is only a starting point. Adding additional information from other sources, including non-discoverable data, is essential to providing a cost effective and efficient IT department. This additional information typically consists of warranty and maintenance information, location and contact information, and ownership information. Reduce Costs and Risk Hardware reconciliation between Unicenter Asset Management and/or third-party discovery tools and Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management helps organizations quickly identify available, underutilized, unauthorized and missing equipment. The adage ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ no longer applies. Organizations now have the tools to track what they should have and compare that with what they really have to reduce costs and risk. Manage by Exception The challenge with most organizations is not to generate more information but to digest and understand the overwhelming volumes of disparate data. The rules-based reconciliation engine in Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management enables organizations to define the rules for viewing exceptions and performing automatic updates minimizing the amount of information to view and manage. Increase Accuracy and Confidence For those organizations with disparate information and not so perfect processes, most struggle to provide accurate information. In turn, this lack of accuracy leads to a lack of confidence from the user base resulting in a lack of ITAM program success. Break the chain of resistance and inaccuracy with more automated mechanisms to provide more up-to-date and accurate information. • Easily identify unauthorized, missing and under-utilized assets and optimize your hardware asset base • Track discovered asset configuration changes for memory and disk space • Add owned hardware assets from discovery under a controlled process • Link assets to financial and contractual information 12 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  15. 15. SECTION 4 Conclusions IT is being forced to do more with less as new challenges emerge around every corner. Governance, cost reduction, risk mitigation and government regulations are driving organizations to mature their IT Asset Management programs while trends like virtualization and increased service demands are adding to the complexities of IT. Organizations must consolidate and expand their discovery data to meet these increasing demands. Discovery data no longer answers all the questions necessary to effectively manage a company’s assets. Organizations must mature their IT Asset Management programs beyond asset tracking (i.e. discovery) to achieve proactive asset management. Expanding data beyond discovery helps organizations make the step to a more proactive and mature discipline. CA’s IT Asset Management solution provides an integrated solution to help organizations accelerate their ITAM maturity through technology enablers including: • Discovery Data Consolidation to pull your discovery data which may include multiple discovery tools into CA’s comprehensive enterprise ITAM solution to leverage the wide range of management capabilities and tools • Rules-based Reconciliation to reduce the volumes of data and manage by exception • Simplified Import Tool for non-technical users to easily import data from disparate sources into a centralized database, expanding discovery data • Business Intelligence with Unicenter Asset Intelligence to view summary information across multiple solutions providing a very interactive and intuitive interface for analysis • Lifecycle Management provided by Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management enables organizations to expand their discovery data and manage the entire lifecycle of assets including costs, maintenance and warranty information and ownership information, as an extensible solution, organizations can add an unlimited number of fields to meet their needs Many organizations struggle to mature their IT Asset Management program. As stated previously, technology is not, unfortunately, the sole answer. For those organizations looking for assistance, CA provides an ITAM Readiness Assessment which measures your current ITAM maturity level evaluating your processes, organizational structure, business policies and operational standards and delivers recommendations and a roadmap to increase maturity. The service provides the following: • An executive summary of the results • A detailed analysis of performance gaps • Recommendations for improving people, processes and technology • Summary of financial savings opportunities • An implementation roadmap For more information on Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management and our integrated IT Asset Management solutions go to For more information on our Services visit WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT 13
  16. 16. SECTION 5 References 1. CMP Research, “The State of IT Asset Management,” August 2006. SECTION 6 About the Author John Fulton is Director of Product Management of the CA Unicenter Asset Portfolio Management product. He is an established industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in the information technology sector. He has served in numerous roles in the industry, including principal Senior Consultant and Architect for CA’s National IT Asset Management Practice. In this role, John was responsible for formulating and implementing ITAM solutions around technology, best practices and process. John Fulton Director of Product Management John holds a B.S. in Economics from Pennsylvania State University. His certifications include ITIL Foundation, IAITAM Certified Software Asset Manager (CSAM), and Pragmatic Marketing® certification in Product Management. 14 WHITE PAPER: IT ASSET MANAGEMENT
  17. 17. CA, one of the world’s largest information technology (IT) management software companies, unifies and simplifies complex IT management across the enterprise for greater business results. With our Enterprise IT Management vision, solutions and expertise, we help customers effectively govern, manage and secure IT. WP05ITAM01E MP323220108