IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) are complementary disciplines with different views of the IT estate. Service management focuses on assets in the context of services, operations and business value. Asset Management focuses on costs, risks, compliance and security. Where ITSM deals with the life cycles of services and support cases, ITAM is responsible for the life cycles of the underlying hardware and software assets. Collectively, ITSM and ITAM form the backbone of IT Infrastructure and Operations (I&O).
ITAM and ITSM add value to the organization independently of each other but by aligning and combining people, processes, data and tools, the maturity and value of both programs can be greatly enhanced. Through the sharing of capabilities and data, and establishing a seamless flow of IT processes across both disciplines, IT organizations can break down silo walls and cultivate collaboration between ITSM and ITAM – driving greater productivity, efficiency and transparency.
Born of different business drivers and from different roots in the business, IT Service Management and IT Asset Management are closely related disciplines within IT Infrastructure and Operations (IT I&O) that are converging to solve the challenges of enterprise IT today.
Service management looks at the IT estate from a services and operations perspective. Asset Management looks at it from an accounting and risk perspective. However, viewing an IT asset from one angle in isolation is to ignore the bigger picture. If you consider the performance of an IT service without looking at the cost of supporting assets, you don’t get a true picture of value for money. Likewise, if you consider only the cost of an asset, without looking at the business value deliver, you get a very negative picture indeed – one which fuels the image of IT as a “black hole” cost center.
So, ITSM and ITAM are complementary disciplines; two sides of the same coin. They share many common objectives, procedures, data and technology requirements. As the two disciplines have evolved, the overlap between the two has reached a “critical mass” – where it is now difficult to ignore the potential opportunities for efficiency and cost savings that can be achieved through integration.
The task of making ITSM and ITAM work better together should be approached as if you are integrating complementary frameworks. Whether your ITSM and ITAM programs are based on a formal framework (like ITIL or the IAITAM Best Practice Library) or not, there will be people, process, data and technology angles to consider.
- PEOPLE: What do your ITSM and ITAM teams look like?
- PROCESSES: Which formal processes are in place in each framework?
- DATA: How is infrastructure and operations data captured and where is it stored?
- TOOLS: Which tools are used by ITSM and ITAM, and which (if any) are used by both?
The key to success is to systematically analyse these aspects and gain knowledge of how each framework operates in your organization. There is no “cookie-cutter” plan for integrating service and asset management. However, if you have previous experience with integrating frameworks (like COBIT and ITIL) then this experience will come in handy. Most of all, remember that integrating ITSM and ITAM is not a technology project.