Where an estate is outsourced, the service provider will be creating bills based on their view of the client’s assets. Either they will own and manage their own tools and databases for this, or they will use those belonging to the client. Either way, it is necessary to be able to validate the information. If an asset is not correctly billed for; it could be that it is not registered and therefore not supported, or it is marked as decommissioned and still being billed for. Both scenarios are equally as bad.
The IT asset data used for billing will also support a multitude of other functions within the business, such as refresh, service desk, procurement and software asset management/audits. It is therefore vital that there is complete confidence that the data upon which the billing is based is true and accurate. Using data reconciliation techniques, across multiple sources, will ultimately lead to improved data integrity, processes and confidence – further supporting the business and saving time and money.
A London based company was taking back ownership of the server and end-user computing assets from their existing IT outsourcers. To date there had been little ongoing validation of the service billing figures or of the physical estate numbers in general. The already deployed discovery and operational tools (e.g. AD, AV, CMDB) had been under the management of the outsourcer too, so there had also been limited day to day involvement with the asset figures.
An initial consultative assessment was proposed to determine the scope of the transfer and discuss the impact to the company in terms of the required refresh, software licensing, service design, roles and responsibilities and how the future mode of operation would operate. In this case, the billing figures would have been used to understand the estate and plan the above activities. However, lack of confidence in these figures, or the data held within the sources led to further action being required. This work would have been equally as important if the outsourcer was to continue billing and there was not an ongoing transfer. It is also worth noting that a change in Outsourcer agreements will often give rise to higher software publisher attention – compounding the issues already being faced
The sources needed to validate billing were identified and used to populate a “Data Hub” and carry out a targeted reconciliation. Further analysis identified where data was incorrect and in which sources the processes needed to change to remediate and update existing information, and to put in place actions so the data did not deteriorate; support was provided in this area. Benefits were realised such as: correction of asset status, removal of duplicates/invalid assets and populating missing fields. This supported more accurate billing and the transfer of the asset ownership. The client had more confidence in the figures and would be able to more accurately predict the refresh and manage it. The transfer of ownership is now in final stage of completion and the Client is actively considering an ongoing data quality process to perform regular check points and maintain a high degree of ongoing data accuracy.
If you have a question regarding any of the points raised, would like more information on ‘Data Hub’ our IT Asset Data Reconciliation Service, a demonstration of the capabilities of the service or to investigate a no risk no fee engagement, please call ITAMS on +44 (0)1582 464740 or email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.