ServTrax™ defines lifecycle management as wringing the maximum value from a service asset at every stage of the equipment’s lifecycle - acquisition, usage, change, and retirement.
For example: A service asset associated with a new piece of hardware will typically need to be scaled back after being moved from a primary role, such as a critical mission support environment, to a testing or quality assurance environment. It will then continue to serve the enterprise, though at a reduced level and lower cost. Eventually, it will be discarded and its corresponding service asset will be retired.
Service asset administration ensures the flexibility to match the appropriate levels of service to the current state of the IT environment, thereby insuring that unnecessary costs are not incurred.
2.1) Starting the Lifecycle … Acquisition of Service and Physical Assets
New equipment and devices are purchased because of changes in technology or software needs, or because of inherent growth of the organization. In today’s budget-conscious climate, existing equipment are typically used as long as possible. When the time comes to replace an existing asset, its accompanying service asset record – if managed properly – will show its complete history: age, cost, function, service record, location, manufacturer or vendor, and expected useful life.
Aggregating and analyzing the service records of physical assets across the organization will highlight the reliability and performance of various types of assets, and yield information about which assets are due for renewal or replacement. Knowing this helps IT managers plan future acquisitions and make decisions about volume purchases. In turn, this drives cost savings as both service assets and equipment assets are purchased in bulk with volume discounts.
Savings through volume discounts vary. Purchase agreements between customers and vendors can yield savings of between 5% and 7%. (We are being conservative in our estimates.) In an environment like the COV’s, with its massive installed base of devices, these savings add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. The table on the next page illustrates these potential savings.
Volume purchase agreements can help prevent last minute, often expensive, rush purchases. In addition, such agreements serve as the basis for budgeting hardware expenditures.
One of the goals of acquisition planning is to standardize assets as far as possible. A limited number of platforms simplify training and support, which again reduces overall costs.
Volume discounts on service assets can save enormous costs as well. Negotiated service assets acquired at the same time as equipment assets assure up front savings. Aligning service assets to the use of the equipment through a lifecycle change management process becomes the second area of substantial cost savings. The lifecycle management process is discussed in greater detail in section 2.6.
2.2) Service Asset Management … Tracking Tangible and Intangible Assets
An accurate record of IT equipment is the first step in any infrastructure management program. Often, IT organizations will have tried various manual and automated methods of collecting asset data, only to meet with frustration and failure. The data may turn out to be incomplete, or wrong, or too general and unspecific. Or it may reside in a local spreadsheet and require constant manual updating.
It is imperative that a comprehensive audit includes manual and automated discovery processes. The key to successful, accurate, and cost efficient inventory management is an application that can standardize input, control access, and provide a complete history and audit trail of changes.
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