10 Tips to make ITSM and ITAM Work Better Together

IT service management (ITSM) and IT asset management (ITAM) are often spoken about, and invested in, as two separate corporate IT disciplines. But this is wasteful, and suboptimal, with there being much commonality of focus, and the opportunity for them to be brought closer together to deliver greater business value than if they were to be kept in their respective silos. To find out more, please read the following 10 tips for making ITSM and ITAM work better together.

  1. The opportunity is about better collaboration not the merging of teams. Starting is as simple as both parties understanding that they’re both pulling in the same direction – to offer high quality IT services at an optimal cost – and identifying ways in which each party’s existing operational activities can assist the others.
  2. Break down the operational silos through cross-discipline education. Your organization’s ITSM team might know very little about ITAM, and vice versa. So before trying to find opportunities for the two teams to help each other there’s a need for each party to fully understand, even if only at a high level, what the other does (and why).
  3. Start the collaboration in a small, focused way. As with many attempts to change existing ways of working, people want (and need) to know why the change is happening and that it will benefit them in their work lives. So, rather than trying to launch multiple collaborative improvements, instead look to start with one, maybe a few, changes that significantly help both parties. An example might be integrating ITAM software license data in the ITSM (and IT service desk) service request process such that recovered software licenses can be reused – saving both time and costs and potentially delivering a better customer experience. Of course, this might already be available via the configuration management database (CMDB) in some organizations.
  4. Understand that ITAM is not the same as configuration management. But that, while configuration management might be too hard for many IT organizations to undertake, ITAM capabilities and data can fulfil a number of ITSM needs that would be otherwise supported by configuration management capabilities.
  5. Look to share system data to improve the quality of each other’s data. The data and insight from the corporate ITSM tool and ITAM tool (or spreadsheets) might be unintentionally kept apart. However, with minimal effort, each data set can be used as a minimum to improve the quality of the other. For instance, IT service desk data can be used to verify the ownership and use cases of IT assets that haven’t recently been picked up by network scanning tools. ITAM tool data can be used by the IT service desk to better understand where they could be supporting assets (and their owners) that aren’t desk customers.
  6. Let the IT service desk leverage ITAM data to improve resolution times. A service desk agent armed with additional information about the IT asset(s) related to a reported issue is better positioned to quickly understand the root cause and potential remedies. This might be related to a device and level of RAM or the installed software – such that they can quickly determine that two installed applications conflict or the level of RAM is insufficient for a given application.
  7. Well thought out ITSM processes can help ensure that ITAM data is accurate. It’s not rocket science, if incident management, request fulfilment, or change management activities either add to, reduce, or change IT assets, then having a robust mechanism for ensuring the ITAM tool reflects the changes will help. Of course, network monitoring tools will help here – but not when assets aren’t connecting to the network. For instance, with leavers, where the IT service desk is asked to remove access privileges, but the physical asset gets overlooked.
  8. Leverage the IT self-service portal for employee self-auditing of IT assets. It’s as simple as requesting that an employee ticks boxes related to a list of IT assets (for which the ITAM team has them as the owner) at a certain frequency. This can either be invoked through a notification or embedded within the self-service process. It’s not too different to the IT service desk requesting IT asset details when end users contact them regarding an issue.
  9. Gain better insight into incident, problem, and change impact and risks. The three most popular ITSM capabilities/processes can all be uplifted through the availability of ITAM data. For instance, the potential impact of a known security risk can be quickly quantified such that suitable resources can be applied to its remediation.
  10. Leverage detailed ITAM data for technology refreshes. As and when certain types of assets are subject to company-wide refresh projects – for instance, where one third of laptops are upgraded each year across a three-year period – there’s an opportunity for both ITSM and ITAM teams to benefit from collaboration (and the more effective use of the refresh staff/automation). Not only does the ITAM asset data allow the full scope of the refresh, including hardware and software costs, to be known, it also presents the opportunity for ongoing savings to be made. Hardware can’t be replaced if insufficiently used (identified by monitoring data) and software can be uninstalled (or replaced with cheaper alternatives) rather than being upgraded. It also leaves fewer assets to be supported (ITSM) and managed (ITAM).

So there you have it, our 10 tips for anyone looking to know how to make ITSM and ITAM work better together. Would you have included any others? Please let us know in the comments.