Asset management - the art of wishful thinking

Where are my assets and are they active?

Where is our new projector and our new rendering pc with the expensive graphics card? Well, if you can’t find it, you will have to start guessing. Which department were the assets issued to and what staff might be using it? Along the way you might stumble into a handwritten and signed document that puts the assets in care of the marketing department. Now at least you have a place to begin your investigation.

Asset Management solutions are designed to avoid situations like these. But, as with all it-systems their value and performance are based on the quality of data it receives and the data management along the way. If nobody is responsible for data management, if data management is cumbersome and nobody has a stake in asset management, then asset management will never work. A lot of companies have acquired asset management solutions through the years, but don’t use them because the data is unreliable.

You can’t give up!

But hold on. Your accountant keeps nagging you about delivering comprehensive asset lists and your staff keeps wasting valuable time finding the assets in order to do their jobs. On top of that new corporate it-security policy means that all the routers that don’t support Software Defined Networks and all the company Chromebooks to be replaced by full blown windows pcs. Now you really need an asset management system to tell you the scope of the task and where to find the affected assets.

The mapping begins

A good place to begin your mapping is your network management system. You quickly identify the Chromebooks that have been active on the network lately. In your best estimate you have now identified somewhere between 95-99% of the Chromebooks. Unfortunately, your network management system has not been adequately merged with your WIFI management solution. Therefore, the location of the individual Chromebooks are not reliable.

After a couple of phone calls to your router vender you now know what routers to look for. Identifying the routers through your network management system is easy since routers don’t tend to move around too much. Having a couple of inactive routers in storage and undergoing maintenance is the least of your worries.


The transition begins

You have now gathered a team that will be tasked with replacing the Chromebooks and a team that will be replacing or firmware upgrading the routers. You have found most of the Chromebooks and routers so you unleash the teams. Since Sherlock Holmes won’t be joining any of the teams you instruct the teams to focus on the bulk of the transition and only look for missing equipment if they have a solid lead as to the equipment’s location.

Halfway through

The teams travel through your departments and company sites. The transition project drains valuable resources away from other it-projects that now urgently need your attention. This is not the first time a simple transition project has turned costly and you decide to avoid similar situations in the future.

Future asset management

Your takeaways from the project were that your network management system turned out to be useful while your companies attempts at asset management were wishful thinking at best. Therefore, you design a new process where:

1.       Reception of assets: Assets will be entered into the asset management system by scanning barcodes or the bill of sales. In the future assets will be entered into your system upon procurement in your ERP system and reception of assets will be confirmed by scanning barcodes. If no barcodes exist, new barcodes will be printed and manually placed on the assets.

2.       In-house location of assets: Assets that have network connections will be given a name consisting of a 4-digit asset type and an internal serial number. The location of the asset will be determined by the network management system. The network management system has now been upgraded with detailed floor plans and integration between WIFI and cabled networking. In the future some equipment will even be RFID tagged and triangulation will be added to the WIFI setup for even better dynamic locational management.

3.       Cost management: Having integrated your asset management with your ERP system you will be able to calculate the quantity and the present value of equipment that you want to upgrade or replace. If only you had that information at hand when you executed this infrastructure transformation project instead of managing cost overruns.

If you need further inspiration concerning asset management, network management or ERP, feel free to contact me.