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Strategies for efficiently managing IT assets

When asset management becomes core business for you as a service provider, it is imperative to find out innovative strategies to improve customer relationship by quicker turnaround times and providing benefits in cost.

A key strategy worth exploring is to maintain standby assets at service provider sites nearest to client location. When a service request comes for a critical asset and if the diagnosis takes times, you can replace the faulty asset by a standby asset. This helps to reduce the downtime on the client side, reduce the pressure on the logistics team of service provider and provide a buffer time on the procurement side (in case of part replacement). This strategy becomes beneficial if your branch or site is closer to one or more client locations so that you can use the same standby asset for multiple locations or multiple clients.

Another key strategy is to analyze the part failure history from immediate past (can be months, quarters or years) to arrive at the demand for frequently failing parts. Say, if a specific part fails frequently; the problem can be poor part quality, usage issues by the end user or merely diagnosis errors. You can reduce the part quality issues by inspecting the vendor supplies before receiving the stock into warehouse. You can monitor the usage issues closely and can provide tips to the client to avoid frequent failures or can provide a report to client about part failures due to usage issues. For diagnosis issues, it can be training the service engineers and explaining the cost implications for service provider. In addition, you can educate the service engineers about correct diagnosis of service requests and the subsequent cost benefits to client by reducing parts replacement costs.

I would continue this topic in my next blog by covering other key strategies including replenishing parts based on failure history so that you can meet the SLA for most of the service requests and forecasting long time spare parts in advance so that you can have minimum required stock in hand to meet those SLAs.

Comments

Going forward to what Jamuna said about IT Asset Management strategies, we should segregate IT assets based on their relative business criticality, cost parameters and down time which the business can afford. For critical IT assets like databases and servers a considerable amount of redundancy has to be designed in the IT system and synchronization be done at regular time periods between hardware stacks, what I mean here is balancing of load between the servers and always having a standby severs in up and running condition at some other location. For critical data assets, migration to vendor’s latest version is beneficial as vendor will always support it.
IT assets unlike other assets age out in as small period of time. We see a large number of desktops, laptops, switches and other hardware getting outdated and their performance deteriorates over a time period. Maintaining these will be a costly affair at their existing configuration. The best strategy is Replacement Strategy with latest configurations. Now if we keep inventories which themselves will be outdated, we are actually not reducing the maintenance cost as recurrent failures can be expected in near future for the same asset. For a service provider company, it is really tricky on type of inventories it holds and the economy of scale he gets. If for a location there is only 1 or 2 client, you may land up in holding inventories for more than a year or so! New part replacement is always the best way to keep maintenance cost down as we see what DELL does in its service.

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