The FedITAM Framework, the GSA’s (rhyming) strategy for “ensuring that information, assets, people, and processes are adequately detected, protected and connected across the federal government” covers six IT asset management process areas:
- Approving software and hardware
- Managing the buy
- Managing contract compliance
- Monitoring inventory usage
- Complying with policies and standards
- Financial and capital planning
We’ve already looked into the approval process <link to previous post>, so let’s move on to purchase management (and in the public sector, there are a lot of purchases to manage: over $71 billion per year, according to a 2009 GSA report).
Three Questions to Help You Manage the Buy
Before you pull the trigger on a proposed purchase and when reviewing past purchases, the FedITAM Framework recommends asking yourself these questions:
What IT assets are good candidates for cost-saving SmartBuy, Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), and other Strategic Sourcing agreements?
Through aggregate purchase programs like SmartBuy and other acquisition programs like GWACS, governmental agencies can get their hands on commercial, off-the-shelf software (COTS, in govspeak) at significant discounts. Or at least those agencies can purchase some COTS in that way — visit the SmartBuy and GWACs pages to learn more.
What are relevant contract terms and clauses for enterprise-wide compliant use of assets?
This is primarily a software misuse issue, and while some software misuse is intentional, much of it is simply the result of ignorance — not knowing what rules apply to each of the myriad bits of software deployed in a typical organization or where those bits of software are hiding at any given moment. Here, it helps to have an IT asset management solution that automatically detects specified applications on any devices connected to the network and refreshes the database frequently.
Do our ordering practices reflect the actual depletion, deployment, saturation, and utility rates of my organization?
Call it the IT acquisition Goldilocks problem: do you purchase too much, too little, or just right (and at the right time — before the bears come calling, whatever form your bears take)? Getting to the Goldilocks Zone requires knowing your history and being able to apply fine-grained filters to the reports based on that history. But even with a well-filtered report, you can miss a lot. To help you get detailed and relevant answers to your depletion, deployment, and similar questions, look for an IT asset management solution that allows user-defined tagging, then make status-related tagging a habit.