• Inok Systems

Why you need a Automated Asset Discovery and Inventory Solution Part 2

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Implementing an automated asset management solution

If your IT department isn’t overtaxed with an ever-expanding deployment, then you probably don’t need an automated discovery and inventory management solution. However, that is not likely the case. With proper planning, implementing an automated asset management solution does not have to require lengthy or costly services engagements. Generally, the rollout plan and size of your organization determine the level of planning and the time it will take to deliver a solution that aligns with your network topology and architecture. Leveraging relay servers will reduce the impact on your network bandwidth, and a single agent technology limits the performance impacts to your end points. The business side might resist implementing an automated asset inventory management solution because of its initial costs. However, the efficiencies an organization can realize with such a solution can save hardware and licensing costs, making it an investment for the long term. These efficiencies and the return on investment need to be part of any business case for an automated asset inventory management solution to gain executive level support for the project.

Preparing for an automated asset management solution


Once you have management approval for an automated asset management project, some upfront analysis will help ensure that the deployment goes smoothly. One of the first questions to address is the approximate number of end points (laptops, workstations, and servers) that your organization is looking to manage. Be sure to factor in office locations, roaming end points (generally home office workers and field sales), network implementation diagrams, and the connectivity between headquarters and the various branch offices. Bandwidth is another planning area to consider. Bandwidth planning should include determining roughly how many network users access products and product functionality, and require software distribution. Use your Active Directory server to view and define roles, and activate the appropriate rights and capabilities for employees. For example, Active Directory information can determine machine images based on an employee’s department or role within the organization. IT also needs to consider processes around and ownership of reporting, patching, deployment, updates, and retirement, to name a few. Having these processes mapped out will save significant time when it comes to setting up operational rules that will enhance IT’s use of their automated asset management solution. Integrating asset management data with the service desk enables help desk staff to resolve issues more quickly without escalations. Service desks can also benefit from remote control capabilities, automated feedback, incident tracking, and options for integrating an asset inventory management solution across other departments in the company, such as accounting and facilities management. The threshold at which companies decide that manually tracking IT assets is no longer feasible and an automated inventory solution is needed varies. Outside of the obvious management savings, software distribution is another reason to deploy such a solution. Asset management solutions are ideal for updating applications on a single device or multiple devices simultaneously. Automated software deployment adds exponential value as the number of end points being updated increases. When distributing packages to 50 client devices requires the same level of effort as 10,000, it is easy to understand the value proposition an automated asset management solution can deliver. IT staffs can spend more time focusing on business critical tasks and strategic projects rather than becoming bogged down in repeatable and routine maintenance.

Random Blogpost

1. LISTEN and do not jump to conclusions

Always let the customer finish explaining his issue and take down notes along the way.

Customers never like to repeat themselves and it never fails to frustrate the customer when the agent doesn’t understand what he wants or an over-confident agent who wrongly assumes what he is explaining.

 2. Repeat his requests or problem

Similar to a simple gesture in any decent restaurant, where the waiter will repeat your order, repeat your understanding to him.  In the case that it is a complicated issue, break it up into major points so that you can tackle them one by one.

This will assure him that you understood his problem and at the same time set you towards the right direction of resolution.

 3. Be polite when you need the customer to perform certain tasks

Analyse his problem and if investigation or more info is required, be polite and ask for his help to "check" on certain points (log files, re-try, reboot or tests). No matter how simple the task is, take note that he is actually doing you a favour. He has all rights to say "I don’t have time, send an engineer down now to get this fixed". And there you go, wasting traveling time and another resource instead of getting First Call Resolution. Go along the line: "I am sorry to trouble you sir, can I have 5 seconds of your time to help me click on that restart button for me please?"

 4. Do not spend time finding out what is wrong, but focus on resolution

As per the ITIL process, leave the RCA to problem tickets. In an incident process, your main priority is to resolve the incident at hand. Customers call because they are having problems performing their job. In situations of a complicated issue, offer the customer a replacement notebook to "resolve" the incident so that he can proceed with his work and then take your time to "investigate" on the problem.

 5. Standing in his shoes (what will you do if you are the one facing the problem?)

There was once I stayed in a hotel and I called the helpdesk asking for a pen knife.

Helpdesk: "We don’t have a pen knife, but we do have scissors. May I ask what is it for?"

Johnson: "I bought a painting but I think it’s too big to check-in. I am thinking of carving it out from the frame and rolling it up."

Helpdesk: "That might damage the painting, why not let me check the check-in size for you with your airlines?"

A few mins passed and a bellboy came up to my room with a pair of scissors, wrapping papers and bubble wraps. He explained to me about the airline check-in regulations while he starts wrapping up my painting for me.

Instead of just replying a simple "no" to a penknife request, they looked at the issue from my angle and managed to solve my problem with a better approach! I was really impressed by the service and gave a $10 tip to the bellboy (which is considered alot in my books).