April 30, 2020

The Future Asset Management Considerations for COVID-19

Peter Taylor
National Practice Manager – Technology Intelligence & Software Asset Management Solutions at Data#3 Limited
In our last blog, we took a look at the current state of asset management as organisations rapidly implement strategies in response to COVID-19. With careful consideration to IT Asset Management (“ITAM”), where does that leave organisations who are looking to a future beyond COVID-19?

What can organisations do right now?

If you have any asset data, static or otherwise, use it!

Right now, ensuring you know what you have and where it is will be is the most important thing. If you have a base of information to start from (purchasing records, Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager data, etc.) use it to help build a picture of your landscape. This baseline will be useful in ensuring there is a register to work from when ensuring the devices make their way back to the organisation beyond COVID-19.

If you have a technology intelligence solution, you likely already have all the information you need, and it’s being dynamically updated to keep your asset register true and correct during this pandemic.

Review your ITAM Policies and Processes- or build some!

Review current policies and procedures for ITAM and consider if updates or additional tweaks are required to enable the practice to function remotely. These processes will have likely been written while at work, with a mindset of being in the office all the time.

  • Are there improvements that can be made to the processes to maximise their effectiveness when working remotely?
  • What technology will be required and by whom, to enable these processes to be successful in their objective.

If you don’t have existing processes, now is the time to write some. You can speak with ITAM practitioners such as Data#3. Additionally, here are three fundamental starting points to consider;

  • ITAM Policy
    • Why the policy is important?
    • How assets are and aren’t to be used?
    • Scope of the policy
    • What will happen if the policy isn’t followed?
    • Related information/processes
    • Execution by CIO/CFO/CEO (as per your organisations authority matrix)
  • Procurement Process
    • What evaluation is required (i.e. multiple solution options, 3 quotes/RFP/RFQ)
    • Who can procure software and hardware assets?
    • What is the process to do so?
    • What are the dependencies to the process (i.e people, other processes and systems)
  • Asset Lifecycle Processes
    • Plan
    • Procurement
    • Deployment
    • Maintenance
    • Retirement/Replacement

As ITAM professionals, we still need to protect the organisation’s risk profile, regardless of where the assets are located.

Make ITAM a part of the Business Continuity Plan

Ensure ITAM is a key component of the organisation’s Business Continuity Plan (“BCP”). The organisation’s investment in IT Assets will form a large portion of annual budget, and the financial officers of the organisation will expect they are protected. Any BCP plans should include this element.

This inclusion helps organisations satisfy the ‘Asset Management’ component of a BCP, and will by proxy ensure that in the event of a crisis, the information is available to ensure quick and accurate decision making.

We already know organisations are struggling to manage what they have and where it is during COVID-19. Having trustworthy and accurate data helps maintain visibility during the crisis and supports future modelling of requirements.

Some key ITAM points to consider including in the BCP:

  • The scope (outline your critical business tools, followed by peripherals if necessary
  • The business areas involved (do I have areas that simply cannot work from home)
  • Critical applications/systems and who owns them
    • Include any dependencies you can identify
  • Success Measure (what does success look like and how do we know we achieved it?)

These things should form the ITAM component of the organisation’s BCP, which will likely be owned for IT by the Chief Information Officer (“CIO”).

If there is resistance to the inclusion of ITAM in the BCP, let’s reframe it for those who may disagree:

“Look at the impact COVID-19 had on many organisation’s abilities to quickly mobilise their workforces to work from home. Stock shortages led to rogue purchases at premium prices, and software spend increases were unexpected and unbudgeted.

If ITAM was a part of the organisation’s BCP, proactive plans would be ready to go (possibly including surplus asset stock arrangements) to quickly render the organisation operational. This would eliminate any scrambling to find devices and increase licensing subscriptions for critical systems in the eleventh hour, amidst multiple challenges. This monumental work from home event due to COVID-19 wasn’t even possible without IT Assets.”

Peter Taylor, National Practice Manager, Data#3

The clear answer is: ITAM must be in the BCP. An organisation’s IT assets are  truly enabling businesses to keep their employees safe and productive during a crisis like COVID-19.

Get the tools and support you need for the task at hand!  

If your organisation doesn’t already have a Technology Intelligence Solution, now might be the time to get visibility over the IT estate and prepare for the future. By investing in the right technology to gain the required visibility and control over your asset base, organisations will be able to see who has what technology, where it is and how it is being used.

Right now, during this critical time, it will also inform your BCP and ensure you can effectively support your organisation during this pressing time of uncertainty.

So, where to from here?

When the COVID-19 pandemic passes and it’s back to ‘business as usual’, you can rest assured the efforts you make now to improve your processes, policies and procedures will return dividends. Furthermore, it enables your ITAM function to operate smoothly and with certainty during a crisis. Trust me, it will be worth it long after COVID-19 leaves the news.

If you chose to improve your maturity around the solutions to help with tracking and managing these assets, it will demonstrate that you can adapt and respond to challenges quickly and manage an asset base that will more and more move toward a remote working environment.

We’re all in this together. Reach out to me any time if you need further guidance or information on how Data#3’s asset management solutions can help.

Stay safe out there!