How to obtain and maintain reliable coverage of assets in your ITAM tool?

Installing ITAM tooling is not difficult, in many cases it is standard software or even a (part of a) Cloud product.

TIP #62 - October 2020: These are the necessary first steps in achieving reliable coverage of IT assets, according to Softline Solutions' best practice for asset identification.

More challenging will be the next step, 'filling' the tool with assets. Identifying and locating assets that can literally reside anywhere in the organisation turns out to be more difficult than it initially seemed.  

The goal however, remains to obtain reliable coverage of IT assets within your ITAM tool in order to compose reliable statements about the license compliance position. 

But, how to achieve this goal? Initially, focus on the “What” question, the “How” question is of secondary importance during this first phase. The necessary first steps to be taken according to Softine Solutions' Best Practice for asset identification are: 

  1. Gather people who can help you identify IT Assets, such as the configuration manager, security officer and infrastructure architect(s); 
  2. Try to retrieve an architecture overview or create one yourself; 
  3. Collect data from various sources. Good examples are: CMDB, AD, Software distribution tooling, Security tooling or tooling with discovery capabilities.; 
  4. Make an overview of the collected data with unique assets. If all goes well, the assets will appear in more than one source.; 
  5. Plot the data on the (self-made) architecture overview in an Asset Coverage Dashboard; 
  6. Check this overview within the organization at various departments and request confirmation. 

When the “What” question has been answered sufficiently, the “How” question can be addressed by 'filling' your ITAM tool by rolling out agents, identifying and connecting additional sources or using other (discovery) methods. 

The dashboard created (see the example below) can be used as a progress report during the implementation phase. Since the target (what is 100%?) is now clear, reporting on % of coverage will be possible. 

When the implementation phase is completed, the coverage of the tool needs to be verified against other identified and used sources on a regular basis as part of the IT Asset Verification process.