May 25 2022

IT Asset Management Tools Help Agencies Run More Efficiently and Effectively

ITAM gives Army PEO STRI and other agencies the information they need to track thousands of IT assets.

As the new CIO for the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Nelson Maisonet had a pleasant surprise upon his arrival:  a centralized IT asset management solution.

PEO STRI began using the ITAM solution in early 2021. Before then, Maisonet says, the Florida-based agency — which develops state-of-the-art training capabilities for the Army — relied on an array of different systems to oversee its IT investments.

The old approach allowed his colleagues to do their jobs, but it also left much to be desired when it came to the team’s overall efficiency.

“It was one thing at a time,” he explains. “If you wanted to see the servers, you had to go to the server IT asset manager. If you wanted to see network devices, you had to go to the network device manager.”

Maisonet estimates that PEO STRI has around 13,000 IT assets spread throughout the buildings on its Orlando campus. “There was a lot of running around trying to figure out where things were and who had what. It was often slow and ­labor-intensive work,” he says.

The platform the agency has in place now solves that problem through consolidation and automation. Whereas prior systems were singularly focused on, say, tracking back-end ­equipment, “now we’re able to connect the dots and see everything in IT under a single pane of glass,” Maisonet explains.

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ITAM Provides Better Enterprise Visibility

If an employee uses a device to join the agency’s network, his team can instantly identify everything from that asset’s location to its software baseline. That same visibility helps with agency audits, ensuring that devices PEO STRI has procured are accounted for and used as intended.

Similarly, Maisonet says, because the new ITAM solution is integrated with the existing IT ticketing system, his team can now respond to incidents faster and more effectively. And when it comes to agency compliance with vendor agreements and the terms of hardware and software licensing, the platform has saved “countless hours” by automating much of the work.

“The way it used to be, you’d have to go out with a barcode scanner and add one device at a time,” Maisonet says. “Now, that’s a thing of the past, and we’re using the time we’ve gotten back to focus on providing better services.”

If Maisonet’s team at PEO STRI is ­reaping the benefits of IT asset ­management, it has plenty of c­ompany in that regard. Tired of dealing with multiple management systems, each with its own portal and specialized set of tools, agencies across the ­federal government are leveraging ITAM to keep their assets ­inventoried and under control.

“Having a consistent view of our IT assets across the enterprise has been especially helpful for optimizing service agreements,” says Tom Fellona, associate commissioner in the Office of Systems Operations and Hardware Engineering at the Social Security Administration.

The SSA rolled out its ITAM solution in parallel with the deployment of a ­configuration management database and as part of broader ­modernization effort, Fellona explains.

Now, because the agency has clear and current data showing exactly how its assets are being used, “we can ensure that our agreements reflect the service we need today, as opposed to when we bought a product 10 years ago.”

74%

The percentage of organizations that say cost reduction and avoidance is a primary driver for ITAM investment

Source: Deloitte, IT Asset Management (ITAM) Global Survey 2021, June 2021

ITAM Makes Compliance with Federal Regulations Simpler

The desire to get the most out of agency contracts isn’t the only driving force for ITAM adoption. First is the fact that ITAM has evolved from being mostly about hardware management to its current focus on software, says Sam Kapreilian, principal with Deloitte Consulting’s government and public services practice.  

“And then, on top of that is this huge proliferation of assets that we’re seeing in almost every organization,” he says.

The shift to remote work during the pandemic has been responsible for much of that growth, Kapreilian notes. “Agencies needed these new ­technologies so they could continue to function, and they needed to keep track of those assets, both on internal systems and in the cloud.”

Kapreilian also thinks support for the zero-trust security model is driving ITAM adoption. “There’s so much more complexity now, and you have to understand who has access to what,” he says.

Many agencies are using ITAM to comply with regulations such as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which is meant to reduce unnecessary IT spending. “It helps them know what they have so they can plan and budget responsibly for the future,” he says.

LEARN MORE: Find out why IT asset management is more critical than ever.

Man with beard and flag
We’re using the time we’ve gotten back to focus on providing better services.”

Nelson Maisonet U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation

A Unified ITAM Strategy Allows People to Focus on the Mission

One IT leader with his eyes on the future is Tyler Troutman, digital ­platform manager with the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“As a research organization, PNNL is full of people doing the things they’re passionate about, changing the world through courageous innovation,” he says. The job he has, he adds, “is all about making sure they have what they need to succeed.”

With that in mind, a top area of focus for Troutman’s team involves developing tools for effective asset management.

“People should know where their assets are,” he says. “We don’t want people looking for assets when that time can be better spent doing their work.”

A few years ago, Troutman and others in IT “sat down to figure out what we had for asset management and to decide how we could make it ­better,” he recalls. “There were 19 different systems tracking 19 different things, and many of them didn’t talk to one another.”

Determined to develop an integrated model that would better put information at researchers’ fingertips, Troutman and his team opted to build a custom asset-management solution on top of IBM’s Maximo ITAM platform.

“Maximo is a superpowerful program, exactly what we needed,” he says. “But we redesigned the front end to make it more intuitive for our users.”

They did so using application programming interfaces, Troutman says. “Now, when I log in to the system as a user, I can see very quickly exactly how many biologics I have or the number of available vehicles.”

In all, he estimates, the lab now has more than 44,000 items accurately accounted for in its new ITAM system. The “unified assets” management strategy at PNNL, he explains, “is not just about technology assets, it’s a ­holistic approach that includes all of our assets.” 

John B. Hansen

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