The Digital Solution that can do much more than just create lists
The inventory of hardware and software in companies is comparable to herding a swarm of bees. Time and again, something steps out of line, disappears and unexpectedly reappears in places it was not expected at all. Listing the individual elements is already Sisyphean work, but a systematic inventory, which is still integrated into the digital business processes, complicated by a rapidly increasing number of employees, results in an exponential effort.
This is exactly the problem that affected PROMATIS. International projects, numerous locations and increasing tasks require constantly growing resources, especially in hardware and software. In order to be able to manage these resources systematically and in an integrated manner, PROMATIS opted for an internally developed solution that would map exactly these requirements. But before the decision was made, the requirements of all parties involved were recorded, evaluated, analyzed and then systematically defined in a mandatory specification in workshops. The accounting department (for the accounting legality) and the system administration department (for the technical provision) were actively involved. The result is an integrated, workflow-based solution, which was developed and implemented within a very short time by PROMATIS’ IT experts.
The difficulties, functions and also benefits this project brought with it will be explained by two of its driving participants: Steffen (employee in General Administration, Finance & Purchasing), who represents the user side of accounting, and Paul (Digital Infrastructure Expert), responsible for all IT-related areas.
Why was this solution developed in-house?
Paul: The solutions available on the market were not suitable for PROMATIS. Either too complex or equipped with too few functions to cover our requirements. Since we, as an Oracle partner, are of course also familiar with these solutions, we used the already existing know-how and then implemented the special requirements.
Steffen: Our system should, as much as it can, bring all hardware and software components - including not only laptops and screens, but also presentation equipment and, above all, the special software applications that are needed - into a systematic form. In addition, we had to provide a process-oriented link to our ERP system so that we could retrieve a valid inventory of our analysis assets in the new IT inventory.
What were the decisive reasons for digitizing the IT inventory?
Steffen: Prior to the introduction of our new IT inventory, the hardware and software inventory was maintained using an Excel list, which was confusing and difficult to maintain, especially as the list grew larger, more complex, and more confusing for employees due to new requirements or additions to the accessories.
Paul: Likewise, anyone could edit anything in the list, which increased the susceptibility to errors and generated extra work as a result.
Steffen: In addition, the manual maintenance of the IT inventory also meant that there was no direct comparability with our ERP system NetSuite, so that fixed assets in accounting and IT inventory did not match.
What does the process look like now with the new digitized inventory of IT assets?
Steffen: The entire solution was designed to be process-oriented. This means that new devices are recorded in the fixed assets in NetSuite, transferred to the IT inventory with the associated asset number (from NetSuite), assigned to employees there and managed. A device is also taken out of service in this way, so the IT inventory and fixed assets are corrected accordingly.
Paul: All information is stored centrally in a database and the entire maintenance of the inventory is now authorization-controlled via an APEX mask in the web interface. When changes occur, they can be entered in an orderly manner and, if necessary, at the same time.
What advantages are already apparent after the short term?
Paul: Many! We can now call up a report on the current stock of hardware and software in all branches at any time and plan future requirements in good time. Maintenance information is also stored for each device, so that we can quickly access the right information in the event of problems. The authorization concept now also allows task-based processing along the entire lifecycle of the components, which makes our work much easier and minimizes any possible errors.
Steffen: The big advantage is the connection with NetSuite. The authorization concept results in fewer errors, which means that the data in "IT inventory" and "NetSuite" match better. With the new masks of the APEX application, management and monitoring become more transparent.
The conclusion of this PROMATIS solution is that the digitization of the IT inventory is much more than a listing of devices. Controlled by the practical workflow and optimized by software applications, an application was generated that represents a real benefit for the multi-layered requirements.
Author: Sabine Rudolf
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