University Is More Efficient With Asset Management

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2014-11-17 Email Print this article Print
asset management

The University of San Francisco turned to asset management to generate reports with detailed asset data, giving it a clearer picture of needs moving forward.

Managing assets is a growing challenge for IT departments. Not only must organizations track computers, storage devices and other equipment, there's a need to manage BYOD and other initiatives that frequently extend the reach of IT beyond the traditional four walls of the enterprise.

At the University of San Francisco (USF), asset management has posed more than a few challenges over the years. "It's an area in which we have been particularly weak," admits Jim Uomini, service level management for information technology services at the private school, which boasts 6,400 students and is ranked among the top universities in the United States.

"In the past, we spent a lot of time putting out fires and reacting to messes," he recalls. "We had all sorts of discrepancies and holes in information. We knew we needed to make some sort of change."

The school, which uses a cloud-based Information Technology Services Management (ITSM) platform from ServiceNow, plugged in an asset management module from BDNA about a year ago so that it could rein in the growing chaos.

"We had to sort out the inconsistencies and eliminate duplicate data and other issues," Uomini says. "The software, which includes data about hundreds of thousands of devices, allowed us to match everything up and end up with an accurate inventory."

For example, USF can now identify exactly how many Windows and Mac computers it uses, as well as tablets and smartphones; the manufacturer and age of each device; which operating system and software applications are in use; and other important data. That alone solved a huge problem that drained time and resources.

"In some cases, we found that we had three different generic names for the same model number or type of device," Uomini explains. As a result, "We couldn't provide the CIO and other business leaders with the specific information they requested."

The USF IT staff is now able to generate reports that show detailed asset data, including purchasing and usage patterns for IT resources. This, in turn, is helping the school gain a clearer picture of needs and requirements moving forward. It also gives staff a better understanding of the operational efficiency, cost structures and models, warranty information, licensing requirements and more relevant information.

"It is a lot easier to maintain accurate data because the software matches assets with the database every night," he says. "It's something we no longer need to worry about."

The net result has been a 75 percent reduction in implementation time for IT assets. The BDNA software also helps streamline special requests.

Uomini says that this is just the beginning of a more robust approach to asset management. The university is now in the early stages of adding a software asset management module that will help track applications and licensing.

"Managing assets is a difficult task," Uomini points out. "The ability to identify what we have in place—and how we are using it—allows us to be more organized and proactive. We are able to provide the CIO with data that helps the university operate more efficiently."

Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).

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