For IT asset managers, maintaining an inventory of all the assets in operation is crucial. But it’s just step zero. If you need to chase down people or dig into huge spreadsheets every time you want to find out where an asset is located, soon the whole process becomes a nightmare.
If you’re looking for a new asset management software, asset tracking is a key aspect you should consider. You’d want the asset tracking software to be able to track hardware devices as well as software applications. It needs to draw a clear classification since different types of assets need to be tracked differently. For instance, while tracking a hardware device, you might need details like its user, OS version, and other devices connected to it. For software apps, you might need to track, say, the expiration dates of licenses to ensure timely renewals.
A CMDB is a must-have for asset and configuration management. Most asset tracking software applications will come with a built-in CMDB. A good one will provide multiple options to populate the CMDB, so you can choose what best suits your business requirements. Ideally, the CMDB will help you manage the entire lifecycle of the assets and CIs (Configuration Items). It will provide details like the user, manager, physical location etc. so you have all the context you need when a ticket or request pertaining to the asset comes in. It will also maintain historical data for audits and upgrades.
The asset management module in Freshservice, for instance, lets you import your assets using a number of ways. If you’re currently using spreadsheets for managing the inventory, you can import it directly into Freshservice. Even if you use another asset tracking software, you can export the existing list in a .csv format and import it into Freshservice. If you use microsoft SCCM, you can integrate it with Freshservice to sync your hardware and software inventory and even user information.
Another way of tracking your assets in Freshservice is by using the Discovery Probe. You can install the Probe on one (Windows) machine in a network. The Probe then scans all the machines in the network and populates them in the CMDB. It then sends updates about the devices and updates their CMDB entries periodically without requiring any effort from either the IT team or the respective users.
If you’d like to get a little more granular, you can also use the Freshservice Discovery Agent. You can install the Agent on all your (Windows, Mac and Linux) machines. You can easily deploy it to all machines in a domain using GPO (Group Policy Object). Even for a workgroup, you can use the PsExec tool to install it on all the machines.
The Agent then collects the machines’ hardware and software information and updates Freshservice automatically on a regular basis. The upside of using the Agent over Probe is that the machines do not need to be a part of a network to run the agent and that it updates the CI record of the machine dynamically. What that means is, it detects all changes made to the machine it’s installed on, and send the data to Freshservice in real time. This includes changes to hardware or installation/uninstallation of software.
An important aspect of tracking assets is understanding their relationships with incidents, problems, changes etc. and their relationships with other assets.
For the former, Freshservice allows 2-way associations between assets and other modules so anyone working on an issue, problem, or change knows what assets are involved and vice versa.
For the latter (assets’ relationship with one another), the Freshservice asset management module includes visual relationship maps. For any asset that you need to modify due to a change request, you can first check its relationship map to see what other assets may be affected. You can add new assets to the map as the network grows, so you can always check what your IT infrastructure looks like at a given time.
Tracking assets from a CMDB is helpful. But what about when you’re on the go, and need to look up asset details for a device that needs fixing? The Freshservice mobile app comes equipped with a barcode (and QR code) scanner. With a single scan, you can find the details of an asset from the CMDB. If the asset is not already in the database, the app populates the asset tag, lets you fill any additional details and add it to the CMDB right there.
Finally, all the work you put into tracking assets needs to be measured so things can be improved on a continuous basis. Freshservice provides advanced reporting for assets to help you make better decisions on procuring assets, managing their lifecycle, and retiring them. The reports also help you understand the health of assets so you can minimize the number of recurring issues by addressing the root cause of problems or replacing the assets when required.
If you’re responsible for managing the entire asset inventory at your organization, you need a solutions that makes your core job easier. And the asset management module in Freshservice can make things simple.