In today’s fast moving, highly automated data center, manual inventory simply doesn’t cut it. We’ve discussed in depth why Excel doesn’t work, and the same can be said for many open source tools, a majority of which simply don’t possess powerful and comprehensive autodiscovery — or any autodiscovery at all!
It’s likely you’ve experienced this yourself. Maybe you’re still struggling, but are having trouble swinging management’s views on the true benefits of automated asset tracking, inventory, and ITAM (and justifying a budget). Implementing an automated IT asset management / inventory process has many benefits; Today, however, we’ll cover 5 benefits you’ll see almost immediately by making the switch:
- Time Savings – You have more important things to do. Spend your time making the changes instead of documenting them.
- Built-in audit trail – Automatic documentation means changes are accurately recorded as soon as you make them, with an audit trail.
- Elimination of data silos – Fully centralizing your asset data, including physical, virtual, local, and cloud instances eliminates data silos across your IT infrastructure.
- Company-wide accessibility – A centralized asset database is easy to find, trustworthy, and accessible to all that need the data.
- More Agile IT – Power scripts and leverage ITAM asset data to run automation for a more responsive IT department and potential cost savings, too.
Let’s talk a little bit about each of these benefits of implementing an automated asset tracking and inventory/ITAM process.
1) Spend time making important changes instead of documenting:
You have a pile of change tickets, tasks, and even larger projects all fighting for your attention. They’re all important; wasting time at work isn’t your favorite thing to do, nor your boss’s favorite thing to have you do.
All the time you spend documenting changes you just finished making is time that could have been spent making more important changes, closing tickets, and working on projects.
2) Changes are recorded as you make them, accurately and automatically:
There are many benefits that come simply from adopting an automated inventory process. Of course automated is hands-off once configured, so it’s a time-saver – but automatic is far more accurate, too. Humans are prone to mistakes; it’s a simple part of being human that we’re all familiar with. It’s not that we can’t try really hard and eliminate most, most of the time. We can slow down and ensure we make very few, and can double and triple check our work to ensure we make *almost* none. At that point, however, we’re going really slow … and it’s still only almost!
Computers, on the other hand, are purpose built for repetitive tasks. A quality ITAM / automated inventory asset management tool can eliminate human error by turning the monotonous inventory task over to your servers. Once configured, the process is nearly hands off.
A side benefit of an automated inventory process is a complete audit trail: Need to know what changed recently? Check your discovery logs! Network went down? Easily find out what recently changed – Hone in on exactly what was added / powered off / recently came online / etc.? The audit trail generated by your automated inventory process can be leveraged to eliminate mystery happenings from your IT once and for all.
3) Eliminate data silos once and for all. Unify your data sources under one roof:
You’ve got excel spreadsheets all over the place. Different folders, different names, different years, duplicates, bad data … you name it: IPAM_3_2018.xlsx. IPAM_2013_old_sysadmin.xlsx. IPAM_2017_OLDSUBNET_ITHINK.xlsx. And then there are the Visio Diagrams.
Every time you move or change a few things, you need to recreate them, and it’s not a quick process! Not only is your data all over the place, but you’ve got an array of products that each solve a small part of your IT inventory problem (aka “point products”), leaving you to update the same overlapping data in multiple places, manually connecting the dots when it comes audit time. Your IPAM product may be completely decent when it comes to IP address management, but doesn’t hold the rest of your important inventory details (host names, locations, OS, installed software, etc.). Or maybe it has IPAM data and host-names – but so does the open source product your co-worker set up — it’s interface isn’t as nice, however.
…And so, it goes. You know the story, and you know how you got there. It’s time to end the suffering. All this data is related; you already know that. Put it all in one place, within the same UI. If you have a tool that you really like, it’s data should integrate, or at least be able to easily interact … Import those spreadsheets once and for all, and then send them to the recycle bin. There are good, quality products out there (like Device42) that will document all the details of your infrastructure, unifying your data silos centrally – under a single, modern UI. If you happen to really like one of your products (say, you’re IPAM product) – Device42 will integrate, allowing you to unify your silo-ed data without forcing you to abandon a product you’ve grown fond of.
Stop fighting with a dozen different spreadsheet tabs, or 6 different UIs, each of which have their own login. It’s just not worth it!
4) Centralized asset data is accessible to all:
We touched on it above. The side effects of unifying your data silos benefit more than just those who document. Your other employees who need to access IT asset info benefit, too. From the ones who do inventory to those in finance down to the yearly or twice-yearly auditors, everyone knows exactly where to go for ITAM asset inventory data. A clean, modern, centralized UI that everyone understands holds data they know they can trust, and everyone knows how to access it, and only needs a single set of credentials to do so (and no extra if LDAP is used).
5) Your up-to-date ITAM asset inventory data can be leveraged to power your other automation and custom scripts:
Implementing a proper, modern ITAM asset management inventory system that keeps CIs up to date automatically helps you run your modern IT enterprise systems, too. Heard that the latest versions of Apache or your ssh package is vulnerable? It only takes a second to query the API to get a list of servers running that version to run an update script.
You can use webhooks that are built into modern ITAM asset management software like Device42 to trigger automation to run based on just about any change you desire, from the discovery of a new server instance (or one powering off or being removed) to detection of a new software installation (auto-remove prohibited software).
Use the API to easily set machine status to offline during a deployment, and have your automation do the same to your monitoring system based on the setting in Device42. It’s a lot easier than it sounds, and can really refine your deployments (no more false alerts). The possibilities really are without limit, and offloading these tasks to automation means you can be more available to tackle more high-value tasks, and might even be able to save some money, too!
We hope you enjoyed reading about some of the benefits that and automated ITAM asset inventory management system has to offer. Ready to experience it for yourself? Download Device42 and get started today.
Device42 users already have first-hand experience with the benefits of an automated discovery, documentation and ITAM asset tracking inventory process. It’s a great time to put the manual Excel spreadsheet struggle behind you for good: Download a trial of Device42; it couldn’t be easier — Click here to get started!