Unbeatable together- IT Asset and IT Service Management!

I’ve seen it time and time again—asset management is often neglected when it comes to Service Lifecycle Management (SLcM). When it comes to managing IT services effectively and efficiently, asset information helps fulfill requests, implement changes and handle incidents and problems. These are the obvious responsibilities of asset management, but there is more to asset management than meets the eye. 

 

ITIL® and asset management

Let’s look at ITIL® again: Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) is part of the service transition lifecycle stage. It talks about service assets and CIs (configuration items), and that Asset Management covers service assets across the whole service lifecycle.

AMCycle.pngEven if I pretend to forget ITIL® for a moment I come to this same conclusion: successful IT service management has to look at the entire lifecycle of all related components that make up the service, regardless of where they are in their life (ordered, in stock, deployed, …, retired).

Imagine a service offering in your catalog that comes with a piece of hardware (e.g. a mobile phone). To support this offering, you better have the hardware in stock or a good procurement process in place to acquire it. But even with “pure” services like providing a calendar/scheduling service via the cloud you need to understand your asset landscape (e.g. cost of network services, support levels and contracts) and how it connects to your IT service management and the business (e.g. for determining the pricing structure for this service).

 

Better Together! IT Asset Management (ITAM) and IT Service Management (ITSM)

Asset management needs to change and integrate into the bigger picture of SLcM, especially in cloud environments where services and/or parts of services originate from multiple internal and external service providers.

Let’s look at some specific areas where it is vital for asset management to be better integrated.  We also need to look at the impacts of what a complex environment means in terms of day-to-day service delivery, service cost, pricing and billing?

 

IT service delivery

The value of all assets combined to support a service is more than just the components individually such as network devices, servers or software pieces. Here is where the combination of configuration management and asset management kicks in:

  • Configuration management, including the discovery of configurations items and their relations (aka dependency mapping), lays the foundation for efficient operations. For example, it allows for analyzing the impact of changes and failures to business services or figuring out the root cause for performance degradations of services.
  • Asset management leverages the service map to perform ITAM specific tasks like contract and financial management, making costs transparent and providing the base for pricing and billing.

 

Service cost

Factors like purchase, maintenance, contract and license cost (those expenses that typically come from asset management) need to be considered here. Other important cost factors come from IT service management (e.g. for incident resolution, change) and project management (labor cost). The point here is: This is not an either or scenario– everyone needs to understand all cost factors to get an understanding of the TCO (total cost of ownership) for business services.

 

Service pricing

This is a tie-in with the service catalog and request management. Services (in the catalog) must be priced accordingly. With service pricing you typically have questions like:

  • What is the cost of delivering the service?
  • For operating the service?

Take the above cost figures, plus number of subscriptions and the desired margin/uplift, and then you have a good starting point to establish service pricing.

 

Service billing (aka cloud service billing, charge back)

The days where IT organizations being cost centers are over. For IT to transform into an organization with P&L (profit and loss) accountability requires accurate reporting of cost and revenues. These must be built on usage-based metrics for service subscriptions. An ITSM solution supports this ability.

 

So, what’s the point? Although the above on pricing and billing only scratches on the surface, it really shows that IT organizations need to look at both, ITAM and ITSM information. Without using the power of these two in a combined way, they hardly can become true IT services providers.

 

Where to go from here?

New Picture.pngFor more information on ITSM visit the HP IT Service Management Solutions web portal. If you would like to learn more about ITAM in particular, download the business white paper “Understand how IT asset management works for you – a best-practice guide”.

 

What are the linking points between IT Asset and IT Service Management in your organization? I would love to hear from you - drop me a comment in the section below.

 

Have a nice day,

Michael Pott (@michaelpott)

 

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ITIL® is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office.

Comments
John Revo(anon) | ‎05-05-2013 11:31 PM

Thanks for post, Mike! It's self-explanatory and really helpful.

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About the Author
Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Mic...


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