Federal Government

FITARA Ready IT Asset Management

FITARA set forth some much-needed IT acquisition standards and empowered CIOs to take on a more “significant role” in overseeing IT budgets and programs. Yet most agencies have been struggling since then to reach full compliance and achieve the desired level of CIO engagement. While government agencies would certainly benefit from more centralized budget control in IT programming, the problem remains that most CIOs still lack adequate visibility over their agencies’ project and technology data to make informed decisions.

Take a common case, for example: an organization that’s looking to upgrade its PCs, of which they have over 100,000, to deploy a new, more up-to-date operating system across the department. First, it must take an accurate inventory of eligible machines and make note of current configurations. Then, the organization must determine an upgrade process that will take a reasonable amount of time to complete without interrupting the workings of their thousands of military and civilian employees.

While this is just an example, it represents real situations that federal IT leaders are facing when it comes to FITARA reform. It’s clear that meeting the management, not to mention reporting, requirements of FITARA is an exceptional challenge for government CIOs. But how can CIOs take on more responsibility for their systems unless they fully understand what comprises those systems?

For many CIOs, managing increased responsibilities can be challenging, but a combination of applications, deployed in tandem on a single platform, can significantly broaden a CIO’s oversight to inform their decision-making. Four programs, including IT Asset Management (ITAM), IT Service Management (ITSM), Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and Software Asset Management (SAM), can work together to provide the visibility CIOs need to realize FITARA goals. Each of these tools provides a wide scope of benefits:

  • IT Asset Management – ITAM tracks information about assets that are requested through the service catalog to enforce standards. It is a repository to track the financial, contractual and inventory details of hardware, software, virtual and non-IT assets.
  • IT Service Management – ITSM is closely linked to ITAM; it feeds the demand, maintenance and performance history that ITAM needs in order to drive standardization and increase the quality of services over time.
  • Configuration Management Database – the CMDB should be separate from the ITAM – as they have different goals – but remain closely related. The ITAM repository tracks financial information of property, while the CMDB tracks configuration item (CI) details and relationships that support business services.
  • Software Asset Management – SAM tracks, evaluates and manages software licenses and usage as part of the ITSM and governance processes.

These powerful tools can transform the way a CIO approaches their job in ways never before imagined. Bringing these four technologies together into a seamless system provides CIOs access to all of the data needed to make strategic investment decisions. Together these solutions automate processes and reduce costs by eliminating wasted resources and consolidating vendors; they also improve compliance, mitigate security risks and drive standardization. To read more about how to integrate these technologies, download this paper from ServiceNow.

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