Service Asset Management

Importance and benefits of SACM

 

 

Ralph Bockisch
29.06.2021

What does Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) mean? What are the benefits of SACM and how can corresponding processes be established in the company?

The infrastructure and system landscapes in companies are becoming increasingly complex. On the one hand, this is due to the use of increasingly different hardware and software, and on the other hand to shorter development cycles. In addition, there is often a lack of transparency in the area of IT services and assets. One consequence of this is that superfluous software and hardware accumulates that is not (or no longer) needed, but continues to increase IT costs and tie up capital. You can solve this problem with a Service Asset and Configuration Management, which we present to you in more detail in the following article.

Definition: Was ist Service Asset und Configuration Management?

Service Asset and Configuration Management, or SACM for short, brings together two different processes:

  • the management of technical assets (such as servers, software, licences, etc.) used for the provision of IT services, and
  • configuration management, in which the configurations, dependencies and relationships of the various components (the so-called configuration items or CI for short) are managed.

The SACM process thus represents an important sub-process in IT service management (ITSM) and is a central reference point for all other ITIL processes.
There are several terms that are of particular importance in the context of SACM:

  • Service Assets: These are resources that are required for the provision of the services. Such assets can be hardware, software, licences or people.
  • Configuration Items (CI): Resources that need to be configured in a certain way to provide a service or an IT service. Examples of configuration items are servers and other hardware, software and licences, contracts with suppliers, etc.
  • The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) stores information relevant to service delivery or billing for all CIs. For this purpose, each CI must be identifiable by a unique identifier.
  • The Configuration Management System (CMS) makes it possible to read out the data records stored in the CMDB and to evaluate the stored information.

What are the concrete tasks of Service Asset and Configuration Management in the company?

Service Asset and Configuration Management covers the entire process of providing IT services in the company and should present this as transparently as possible. This is not only necessary for large, internationally operating groups, but for every company that offers IT services. With an efficient SACM, you limit costs and minimise risks.

To introduce a SACM, the following procedure has proven successful:

  1. Define measurable goals: What benefits should the SACM bring? What exactly should be improved, and how can success be objectively measured?
  2. Define responsibilities: Both in the introduction phase and in the ongoing process, responsibilities must be clearly defined and communicated to all those involved.
  3. Choose the right approach for the introduction: How should information and records be brought together in the company? How will consistency and correctness of data content be ensured?
  4. Define the contents of the CMDB: Unless you are using a ready-made CMDB solution, you need to define the contents in advance. Typically, these are further attributes and relations in addition to the CIs, whereby the following applies: as much as necessary, as little as possible.
  5. Fill the CMDB with data: If possible, prepare all data in such a way that it can be automatically transferred to the CMDB. This way you avoid errors and need less time.

What are the advantages of a SACM?

1. reduce costs by identifying unused assets.
Unused licences and hardware create costs without contributing anything to the achievement of business goals. You may not be able to reduce all unused assets with immediate (cost) effect, but with an efficient SACM you will succeed in the longer term. It can also be used to assess and ensure the necessity and cost-effectiveness of new investments in advance.

2 Avoiding penalties
Licensing software offers companies advantages, such as lower acquisition costs and regular updates. However, licences need to be monitored and controlled - and if possible not only within the framework of a company audit by the software provider. Central storage and administration in the CMDB ensures clarity and supports IT managers in licence management. It also ensures that audits can be carried out more quickly and that no penalties are incurred due to missing licences.

3 Improving risk management
Outdated hardware and software is a risk you can avoid with SACM. This is because you store all used and required versions in the CMDB. Different versions can then be identified at a glance and updates can be rolled out in a coordinated manner throughout IT.

4 Determining the Total Cost of Ownership
For a complete overview of the costs of an IT asset, the key figure Total Cost of Ownership (life cycle costs) has proven itself. This information is important both for investment planning and for determining correct charging rates.

5 Company-wide standardisation
Last but not least, efficient service asset and configuration management standardises the administration of hardware and software assets as well as their configuration. SACM ensures that valid, complete and up-to-date data is used for all assets, starting with the recording of data, through administration and lifecycle management, right up to reporting.

How does EcholoN support SACM in practice?

EcholoN provides you with a powerful Configuration Management System (CMS) with an integrated CMDB. In the CMDB you can store and manage all IT assets and the configurations required for the provision of IT services in a structured way. In the EcholoN CMDB, the relationships of the individual assets are mapped in an intuitively understandable and transparent way. If desired, you can divide them hierarchically into business services (e.g. order entry), service elements (e.g. backup schedules) and base elements (involved hardware or software, personnel or other resources).

In the EcholoN CMDB, the type and category of a configuration item (CI) or technical attributes of a base element can be stored. In addition, it is possible to relate configuration items (e.g. changes, contracts, faults). In this way, you can use the EcholoN CMDB to control a CI over its entire life cycle - regardless of whether its data changes over time or not. At the touch of a button, you have an overview of all CIs and can filter and sort them according to different criteria.

You manage all assets, CIs and documents assigned to the items (e.g. audit reports) in the EcholoN Configuration Management System. This makes all relevant information and data available to you centrally, which considerably reduces the administrative and organisational effort in IT service and asset management.

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