According to Cutter’s Bob Benson and Tom Bugnitz, asset management is one of those concepts that the IT profession has made vague and less than understandable. In a recent Cutter Business-IT Strategies E-Mail Advisor they’ve set the record straight about asset management.
- Asset management is about assets. These are things we buy or make. They have costs, location, utilization, performance, maintenance/upgrades/replacements, current value and condition, risks, compatibility. They have a lifecycle. In practical terms, asset management most often covers infrastructure components and applications.
- Asset management has two value propositions. 1) Asset tracking — supports the day-to-day operations of the IT organization, including procurement, maintenance, help desk support, and pricing/charging. 2) Asset assessment and management — assists IT management in making planning and management decisions about the collection of assets, including assessment of cost, performance, service level and quality, risks, and alignment to business and IT strategy.
- Asset management comprises data and processes. 1) database(s), 2) the routine processes to update and maintain the database(s), and 3) the routine management processes for the use of the data (i.e., carrying out the two value propositions).
- Asset management is about the “truth” about assets. Therein lies the critical problem; data about assets degrades through time, like rust. Assets change, disappear, are used differently, and so on. Keeping the data up to date is difficult: think decentralized procurement, decentralized upgrades and updates, and renewals.
Benson believes that for most companies, the greatest value (and most quickly demonstrable) of asset management comes from obtaining initial data to enable making management decisions about the collection of assets — the second value proposition stated above. Says Benson,
In this, absolute accuracy is not required, but the learning curve is immense. The data informs management about the scope of assets, the value in keeping track, and the intricacy of processes needed to keep it up. Think of the ties to procurement, maintenance, budgets, capital budgets, projects that add/modify assets, and ITIL processes.