IT Asset Lifecycle Management is the process of tracking every aspect of owning an asset or license, from its initial acquisition until disposition.
A centralized lifecycle management repository is essential for effective and actionable cost management and reporting, trend analysis and budget planning, process workflow management and automation, and much more.
Many organizations attempt to perform IT asset lifecycle management functions in their IT Service Management (ITSM) tools or CMDBs, but these tools are not intended to track data at the level of detail necessary for true lifecycle management. Similarly, focused Software Asset Management (SAM) tools are not designed for thorough lifecycle management for all asset classes. You will not get an accurate and complete ownership summary using these solutions, and it will limit your ability to maximize the value that you receive from assets and optimize your costs.
True IT asset lifecycle management requires the ability to continually track all assets and licenses, whether they are discoverable or not, and even if they are not actively being utilized in your IT environment. A lifecycle management repository provides a constantly available baseline for every asset and license. It is not dependent on dynamic and fleeting discovery scan data that can constantly change.
ITMC Lifecycle™ provides comprehensive lifecycle asset management for all assets and licenses, providing continuous tracking from planning and acquisition through refresh and disposition. The data captured in ITMC Lifecycle provides a foundation for many activities including:
- End-user request and approval processes
- Procurement and fulfillment activities
- Software Asset Management (SAM)
- Hardware lifecycle management and disposition
- IT Service Management (ITSM)
- Network and endpoint security
- Automated process workflow activities
Budgeting and planning, and much more.
The system also provides tracking, reporting and automated alert notifications around contracts and agreements and financial transactions.
The Authorized Product Catalog
ITMC Lifecycle is centered around a catalog of authorized hardware and software products that have been approved for use in your organization’s environment. In many cases, contracts and agreements have been negotiated for the purchase of these products. This catalog provides a level of control over products that enter your IT environment since it supports end user request and approval processes. The catalog offers tracking of:
- Makes, Models, Publishers, Application Names, Versions, Editions
- Product Classifications
- Product Statuses (Planned, Active, Superseded, etc.)
- Part Numbers, Manufacturer Product Codes, and SKUs
- Negotiated Pricing plus lower cost or free alternatives
- Preferred products
- Links to all assets and licenses that are derived from each catalog item
- Internal product owners or managers
- and much more
The ITMC Lifecycle catalog is also where software application details are mapped and tracked to enable accurate license reconciliation and optimization analysis via the Continuous License Reconciliation™ (CLR) modules. While default product use rights are provided for many publishers and products, these may be edited to reflect any special packages, suites or use rights that your organization has negotiated. This is also where versions can be mapped so that detected installations are rolled up and reported in a manner that is relevant to your organization and its licensing.
Purchase Transaction Tracking
Having instant access to procurement details for your assets and licenses enables more robust reporting and calculations. Purchase transaction records in ITMC Lifecycle are powerful and intuitive, and they mirror the Purchase Order and Line Item format used in real-world procurement activities. Details tracked include:
- P.O. Number, Vendor, P.O. Status and Purchase Date
- P.O. Line Items
- Items purchased via the Catalog or off-catalog and Quantities
- Line Item cost and taxes, and P.O. total cost
- Cost Center, Project and GL Code cost allocations
- Associated Contracts and Agreements
- “Bill To” and “Ship To” information, and much more.
Purchases that are made using Contracts as the primary procurement vehicle can also be tracked, as well as “one-off” purchases via credit card or other method.
Comprehensive Asset and License Tracking
Detailed asset records provide the ability to manage each uniquely identifiable asset or license, or groups of licenses or components that may be tracked together. Asset records may be created automatically using electronic feeds from your vendors, even before the assets or licenses are physically in your facilities. They may also be created manually or by using data from other tools and systems via integration.
The attributes tracked for assets and licenses include:
- High level details about the parent Catalog Item
- Unique identifiers like serial numbers, asset tags, license keys and more
- Current lifecycle status (e.g., Reserved, In Use, In Storage, Disposed, etc.)
- Chargeback cost center(s)
- Assigned physical locations in a detailed hierarchy (e.g., floor, room, rack, shelf, etc.)
- Ownership type (e.g., owned, leased, on loan, subscription, etc.)
- Expected asset function (e.g., production, development lab, application system, etc.)
- Flexible, unlimited user-defined fields
- Links to related assets, users, contracts, P.O. details and much more.
Attributes that can be tracked include:
- Contract Types and Subtypes – these are definable by your organization, as well as the unique attributes, terms and conditions that should be tracked for each type/subtype.
- Contract Names or Numbers and Status (In Draft, Executed, Terminated, etc.)
- Vendor and Start and End dates (perpetual agreements can also be indicated)
- Associated people from customer and vendor perspectives
- Physical and digital contract locations
- Uploaded documents (e.g., contract PDF, scanned drafts, notes etc.)
Contracts can be linked to assets, catalog items, purchase records, employees and more. Automated alerts and notifications can be sent based on dates and many other contract attributes to ensure that important renewal or cancellation dates are not missed.
ITMC Lifecycle provides tracking of financial details from multiple perspectives, enabling True Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculations and other financial analysis and reporting.
Costs, payments and chargebacks may be tracked directly against an individual asset or license, or alternately against an agreement for which payments are made. These may be one-time payments or a schedule may be created in advance for recurring payments that are made at any interval (annually, quarterly, monthly, etc.). Costs may be tracked in multiple currencies for global organizations. Depreciation can also be tracked and reported against assets and licenses.
At the heart of this functionality is a 21-level organization and cost center hierarchy that enables rollup reporting to any level, from an organizational overview to the most granular department-level query.
A flexible open API allows data to be shared bi-directionally with Fixed Asset, Accounts Payable, and other financial systems that are utilized by your organization.
Facility and Location Tracking
ITMC Lifecycle provides the ability to track the assigned location of assets, licenses and people. This identifies where they are supposed to be, and discovery scans can tell you where they actually are. This dual approach enables the tool to identify exceptions when things aren’t where they are supposed to be. The application provides a high degree of flexibility in defining locations, and it provides integration with facilities management and other systems to automatically maintain locations and their attributes.
Your organization may require some assets to be tracked to a building and address level, and others may be tracked to a floor, room, workspace, rack, or shelf level. A hierarchical structure enables rollup reporting at multiple levels.
Employee data may be tracked and dynamically updated in ITMC Lifecycle in order to create assignments and support multiple automated process workflows. This data may be shared bi-directionally with Active Directory, LDAP and human resources systems via a flexible open API. Employee titles, locations, organizations, and statuses can be used to support automated requests, approvals and provisioning, employee onboarding and offboarding, asset re-utilization and much more.
While software license reconciliation is accomplished via the Continuous License Reconciliation (CLR) modules, ITMC Lifecycle also supports hardware reconciliation. Hardware details from ITMC Discovery™ and other tools can be uploaded to a staging table where they are matched to hardware assets in the lifecycle repository. It is possible to see:
- Hardware that was acquired but is not being discovered
- Hardware that was discovered but for which no ownership record exists in ITMC Lifecycle
- Configuration, user and location elements that do not match between the ownership and discovery views.
Color coded exception reports are provided to support remediation decisions and actions.
Hardware Asset Disposition
Since asset disposition activities can have significant financial and legal implications, proper tracking is essential and ITMC Lifecycle provides strong capabilities in this area. No other SAM, ITSM or discovery tool can offer comparable end-of-life tracking and management.
When the lifecycle status of an asset or license changes to Retired, Disposed, Return to Lessor, or an equivalent value, a new Disposition section appears at the bottom the asset record screen with many new fields.
For hardware it is possible to track many important elements:
- Disposition (e.g., sold, auctioned, donated, etc.)
- Disposal date
- Any third-party vendors who are involved
- Fees incurred or value recovered from a sale
- Hard Drive wiping details (who, when, method) to ensure data security
- Uploads of legal documentation (ownership transfer, certificates of sale or destruction, etc.)
During the process, reports can also be run showing all software installed on hardware that is staged for disposal with associated licensing and contract information. This helps determine which licenses can be reclaimed for re-use according to the terms of the agreement.
The flexible API enables data to be shared with any disposition management providers. Eracent and Ingram Micro ITAD offer a tightly integrated end-to-end lifecycle management solution.
Alerts and Notifications
ITMC Lifecycle provides alerts and notifications to ensure that activities are completed and critical deadlines are met. Some of the conditions that can trigger alerts include:
- Approaching Dates (any number of days before a specified date or a date in a particular record)
- Changes to a Status or other attribute field values
Field values that should have changed but did not (e.g., status should change from ‘Ordered’ to ‘Received’ within five days)
The body of alert messages may contain standard language that is unique to the type of alert, and alerts can also contain details that are pulled from associated records. For example, it is possible for an alert to include details about an asset that triggered an alert, as well as attributes about the assigned user, its location, and contracts and costs. This relational perspective makes the alerts extremely useful in many situations.
ITMC Lifecycle and the AppStore Plus™ Portal can be used to automate many different ITAM and SAM processes, including:
- End User Requests and Approvals
- License Provisioning and Harvesting
- Asset Receipt
- IMAC Activity
- Contract Renewals
- Hardware Disposition, and many more.
Since ITMC workflow is based on the proven Microsoft Workflow Foundation platform, many processes may be automated, including interactions that involve other systems.
Integration and Data Sharing
One of the goals of ITAM and SAM is to automate activities, and that includes minimizing manual data entry. ITMC Lifecycle provides multiple methods for sharing data with other systems.
The ITMC™ Open API is very flexible and supports database-to-database interactions that can be scheduled or triggered by specific activities.
An import mapping facility enables scheduled or on-demand uploads of flat files or database elements. Its intuitive user interface supports mapping of source data to destination tables and fields and provides very detailed error checking. Color coded error messages are shown for any lines that have potential issues, and success/fail results are also shown after uploads to protect the integrity of your data.
Multiple web services integration methods are also supported, using OData, SOAP, WSDL and other formats.