IT is taking on more and more strategic responsibility and as a result, innovation must advance. The necessary freedom can only be obtained by those who automate routines as much as possible. In IT service and software asset management, there are a number of levers:
1. Inventory: Decentralized, Centrally Managed
For security and license management reasons, IT needs an overview of all hardware and software used in the company. However, the acquisition and installation is increasingly carried out without the knowledge of IT by self-ordering departments. The much needed 360 degree view ensures continuous, software-based inventory – with and without agents. Without any manual effort, it regularly creates a complete picture of all clients, servers and network components, including the programs installed on them.
2. License compliance: Daily Review creates more IT service
A complete and regular inventory is the first step towards an optimized IT service. Step two involves comparing the outcomes of a valid software recognition catalog and asset management database, as well as the analysis through the use of clear dashboards. This is the only way to quickly derive the right actions. Instead of painstakingly handling manual tables, a Software Asset Management (SAM) solution creates a daily license balance at the touch of a button. Ideally, this is already done in the format required by software manufacturers: In the case of a true-up, it is only necessary to press on the buttons.
3. Safety: Nothing Stays Under the Radar
In addition to compliance, automated analyses also strengthen security: “Shadow IT” can be identified, checked and removed immediately if necessary. Inadmissible devices and unwanted software are directly revealed. A daily dashboard should also list the patch and release statuses and highlight any canceled versions.
4. Patching: Put Action on Direct and ensure more IT Service
For security reasons, patches should be recorded as fast as possible. In this case as well, there is less burden for IT thanks to the process in which new software updates are distributed automatically. Patches for PDF readers, browsers and other similar softwares are kept as up-to-date as industry-specific applications or any in-house developments. Hackers, ransomware etc. then have a significantly worse chance of reaching their target. “Blind” automation, however, has its pitfalls: Manufacturers often add unwanted toolbars or adware to their software updates. In order to install only the required program elements, the software packages must be cleaned up manually. Some SAM tool manufacturers take this on as an additional service for their customers and provide ready-to-share, cleaned packages.
5. Help desk: Seamless handover for more IT service
The “IT-backend” is mitigated significantly when the IT help desk is integrated on the system into IT lifecycle management and becomes able to access all relevant asset and user information. This also allows software installations to be initiated out of the ticket. If the installation fails, a ticket can be re-generated. These event-driven processes relieve the burden on help desk employees and create space for more demanding tasks.
Human controls machine
Each automation is based on a control mechanism that is tailored to the company. Under whichever conditions and steps take place, people still have to decide –at least today– whether or not to turn them into workflows. “IT administrators need the convenience and functionality of graphic editors,” said Benedikt Gasch, Director of Product Management at DeskCenter. Ideally, IT can access existing security groups as well as organizational and commercial information to control software distribution. Packages and distributors must also take license checks into account. Otherwise, says Gasch, automated under-licensing becomes another pitfall.