Countering tunnel vision with discovery tooling (Part 2 of 2)

In part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of the scoping plan when drafting your strategic ITAM plan.

TIP #65 - November 2020:Discovery tooling can help to gain insight beyond the limited view of formal tooling and to prevent tunnel vision.

While creating that plan, it is tempting to base your scope on existing tooling such as the AD and the CMDB. An approach that is pragmatic, but also most certainly leads to tunnel vision due to incompleteness, poor data quality and limited coverage by those tools.  

If you want to implement successful ITAM processes, you need “zoom out” and look beyond the documented reality. Softline Solutions has created a model to help start the discussion, based on where and how information on assets is shared. 

TOTW #65

When looking at where information on IT assets is stored, there are several options:  

  • To start off, there are formal tools such as an ITAM or SAM tool and financial systems, that contain information on documented assets.
  • A somewhat bigger collection includes the assets that are still part of formal IT, but are not registered in any tool. There might be a valid reason, such as technological restraints why these assets are part of the discussion on IT, but are not registered. These assets are discussed in meetings, and may even be the subject of improvement plans, but are not (yet) registered in formal tooling.
  • Then, there is shadow IT. These are the assets that we know of, but close our eyes to or that are rarely officially discussed. Let alone registered. 
  • Finally, there are assets that are completely unknown to IT, but ARE part of the IT infrastructure. They include lost assets, business IT and integrated systems. We need to zoom out to the company level to gain knowledge of these assets.

Discovery tooling can help to gain insight beyond the limited view of formal tooling and prevent tunnel vision. In the last years, discovery tooling has become more mature and capabilities have evolved to include dependencies and relations that form the basis of service mapping, on top of existing capabilities for scanning individual assets. 

IT Asset Discovery allows companies to “zoom out” and gain knowledge on network segments, software and hardware that were previously not on the radar. This allows for informed decisions on the ambition of your strategic ITAM plan / scoping plan and provides the necessary insight for mature risk management.