The dynamic IT infrastructure of modern businesses requires a number of management disciplines to track assets and products as they advance through their lifecycles. As these assets go through different stages of usability or functionality, the IT team must understand the best practices in managing the process and use the most effective tools to cut costs and increase efficiency.
Lifecycle management involves a number of important disciplines, and together they all work to form a bigger picture of efficiency, productivity, and cost reductions. While every business is different, and has its own set of unique requirements, there are a number of disciplines that, when put together, can provide the most effective solution for lifecycle management. These include:
- Asset Management – This involves the discovery of hardware and software assets throughout the company. The process can be automated to free up time for the IT team, and it should be able to correctly identify the types and locations of assets that are connected to the network.
- Inventory Management – The IT team needs to know exactly what is in inventory at all times. This will let them reuse existing systems rather than buying new assets. It will also reduce the licensing costs, hardware upgrades while reducing the risk of compliance issues.
- Bare Metal Installation – The ability to provision new software into a system that doesn’t have an operating system or boot agents can help to reduce on-site visits and let new users start using their systems right away.
- Software Distribution and Provisioning – The IT team needs a simple and effective way to install software without manually doing so on every system. A centralized system can give the team the ability to distribute the necessary software at the most effective times (without disrupting work).
- Security and Patch Management – Security risks are a major concern for most companies, and effective security measures on the network must be maintained at all times. New patches must be installed to eliminate new vulnerabilities, and unauthorized software needs to be banned from the network.
- Configuration Compliance and Remediation – The software versions, settings, and patches must be tracked throughout the network, and companies can help their compliance by detecting, preventing and removing unwanted software and correcting malicious changes.
- Process Automation – One of the most effective ways to increase productivity and reduce costs is by automating and connecting IT management processes. This can reduce software deployment time and make patch management more effective.
- Service Desk – It needs to be easy for users to report problems and an integrated service desk feature can improve response time and reduce administrative issues. This can reduce the time spent on several calls and the costs to maintain a large help desk staff while simultaneously improving the automated features of the process.
- Reporting – There must be a way for businesses to identify and avoid problems before they become a serious hindrance, and effective reporting measures deliver the necessary information in a timely manner. Also, in a regulated industry these reports are extremely important to show compliance and make sure that the company is adhering to best practices.
- Alerting and Messaging – A quick response depends on getting the right information at the right time, and with the right alerts and messaging system the IT team can act to reduce exposure, unnecessary costs and downtime. Alerts can also keep administrators in the loop so problems can be corrected before the end users are aware of the issue.
There are a lot of different parts to this, but by using a solution that integrates and connects these measures the business will have the solutions it needs for cost accounting, planning for provisioning, managing security and software license compliance issues, and increased efficiently. Solid lifecycle management isn’t a matter of doing one step at a time, but understanding how each piece supports the others in the bigger picture.