Data reconciliation, the key of the success is in... the key!

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Reconciliation key is worth a full white paper by itself… but 20 lines on the topic are really worth...

 A nightmare of IT Asset Management is that you manage and reconcile two worlds.

 

The Managed world: typically, a server gets created from a Purchase Order that is received... this server links to important Asset Management records (what user requested it, who is the provider, what catalog the item was ordered on, the price, the cost center allocation...)

 

The actual world: That gets discovered by your inventory tool (typically HP Universal Discovery) and gets stored in your CMDB (typically HP UCMDB). This world contains a lot of information that will be useful for various processes: Asset Tracking (understand what is deployed), Software Asset Management (understand what oracle instance links to what server and use the server's attributes (CPU types, number of cores...) to compute the license liability induced by the deployments...)

 

Let's have a look to the various attributes that can be used for the reconciliation and the possible strategies that make it possible to reconcile the actual world to the managed world, to avoid records duplications and provide the best possible tracking.

 

I would distinguish discoverable keys from managed keys… ideally, finding a key that can be in the two data sources (procurement data AND inventory) is the best way to be successful in the capital first import of inventory data that needs to reconcile with preexisting Asset Management information (Purchase order, receiving, physical inventory).

 

That said, here are good and bad candidates:

  • The Mac Address is not so good, because you can have multiple Mac Addresses for a computer that has both wireless and LAN connectivity… in addition, the Mac address is rarely an information that you get from procurement information.
  •  The bios Asset Tag can be a good candidate, because it can be discovered and because providers (HP for instance) can provide it in the Purchase Order data. Creating the Computer from the receiving process with this bios asset tag is a good step that allows the next reconciliation from the discovery data… However, I have discussed with customers that have challenges with formatting issues that sometimes make the same bios asset tag look two different ways. A staging table for reconciling discovered data with procured information is a needed process in that case
  • Another good candidate is computer Name & Domain name, that is unique, but rarely part of Purchase Order data at receiving stage.
  • Finally, a very good candidate is the good old Physical Barcode (or Asset Tag) that gets stuck on the computer at receiving and that a user can enter manually the first time a Universal Discovery scanner is launched on the machine.

 

That’s why multiple reconciliation keys make sense, because the information will never be perfect… and there are multiple cases: computers ordered and discovered, computer discovered and re discovered etc.

I would do in order (if no match, move to the next one):

  • Bar code / Asset Tag
  • Bios Asset Tag
  • Computer Name & domain name
  • Mc Address

Connect-It has advanced reconciliation capabilities that allow to use multiple key sets.

If you are an HP customer, don't hesitate to access on HP Live Network the  Business Content For Asset Manager section, in the Best Practices - Training Material sub section:

 

Connect-It training and perf optimizationVideo - Demo  

 

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About the Author
Sr. Product Manager of HP Asset Manager, my 12 year experience in IT Asset Management gives me combined technical skills and business practi...
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