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IT asset and configuration management: part of the ITIL 4 Service Value System

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Managing IT assets has been a natural part of business for decades: where is the asset? What are you paying for it and from whose budget?

From the service management perspective of “providing value through technology services” we rely on the assets to deliver the technology. Without one, you can’t have the other.

So, what’s new about the issue of IT asset management facing organizations today?

Technology is so ubiquitous it is introducing issues that organizations are starting to wake up to. The pain they’re feeling is commonly about two things: one, a focus on regulatory compliance and two, cyber security – you can’t secure what you don’t know you have.

If you don’t get this right, you risk hefty fines and expose stakeholders to risk.

ITIL® 4 – Planning and managing the IT assets lifecycle  

ITIL 4 has now recognized IT asset management as a critical management practice in service management.

Previously, there was a tendency to combine the concepts of asset management and configuration management, despite the fact that one came from the procurement/finance function and the other from IT, respectively.

Instead, ITIL 4 presents them as two separate practices, which is a critical step in the right direction as it outlines the benefits provided by each. Asset management tackles the changing nature of what an IT asset is, for example is a smart fridge an IT asset among the Internet of Things? It also examines the purpose, benefit, value, risk and exposure of bringing an asset into an organization; what is its depreciation and how do you manage it from a compliance viewpoint?

All that is about asset management, but how you use that asset to provide a service is where ITIL 4 service catalogue and service configuration comes in.

IT asset management benefits

Ultimately, it’s important to know where an IT asset is, the financial elements related to it and its current status (e.g. is it operational, retired or recovered?). Meanwhile, you also need to know about its installation, updating, moving and plugging into the network. Hence, that requires information that feeds both asset management and configuration management.

Theoretically, where there are redundant tools, separate databases and recovery of IT assets, an organization could be eliminating costs along with better management of total cost of ownership and return on investment.

The historical, siloed mentality in many organizations is something that has always affected asset management and effective service management. This is why it’s very welcome for ITIL 4 to say that we have to look at these elements as part of the Service Value System.