First published: June 2006
by Dale Vile
Technology advances in some areas and commoditisation in others has led to a general proliferation in the number and type of components that must be supported by IT departments. In addition, components are continually being updated, re-deployed and combined in different ways, often without the involvement or knowledge of the IT function. It is also becoming increasingly more common for new equipment and software to enter the organisation independently of the IT department, through local procurement by business units and the introduction of personal technology by users at an individual level.
Online research study in which information was gathered from 2,630 respondents, predominantly ITC professionals from a mix of industries and company sizes, via a Web based questionnaire.
Organisations maintaining a more complete, accurate and up-to-date knowledge of the hardware and software installed within their business are better able to deliver an effective to service end users.
Maintaining that knowledge is a challenge, however, and often relies on regular auditing. Indeed, the research reveals a direct relationship between the quality of asset records and the frequency with which IT audits are conducted.
Despite these dependencies, many large organisations do not have automated auditing capability in place. These, along with the majority of smaller organisations, are still relying on ad hoc systems or resource intensive paper-based tracking.
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS
IT asset tracking in many organisations is still viewed as a chore. Very often, it is something that is done to keep accountants and auditors happy from a cost control and/or regulatory perspective. Anecdotal feedback suggests the link between knowledge of installed assets and the ability to deliver a more effective service to users is often not appreciated. This link makes sense, though, when we consider how much more efficient application rollout, preventative maintenance and help desk support can be when technical staff have deployment and configuration information immediately at hand.
What is not surprising, is the observation that keeping asset records up-to-date without frequent and effective auditing is a real challenge. With the highly dynamic nature of IT systems and equipment today, coupled with autonomous activity on the part of business units and individual users, relying on information capture at the point of deployment or change by the IT department is generally inadequate.
Against this background, automated solutions that electronically detect and capture the configuration of components on the network are becoming more important. Such capability is, in fact, a pre-requisite for the optimum delivery of IT services in all but the smallest environments.
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