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How to apply Project Management Standard ISO 21500:2012 into ITAM Inventory Implementation

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How to apply Project Management Standard ISO 21500:2012 into IT Asset Management Inventory Implementation. Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM) is nowadays a highly essential area within any organization. With the frequent increase of use of technology to digitally transform any industry, is extremely important for every organization to procure the adequate equipment and software in order to improve operations, while maintaining high quality standards within a cost effective budget that will result in a better Return on Investment (ROI).

Provided that there are currently many different products and services available, the need to identify the ones that will achieve the desired results while maintaining compatibility with the existing equipment and software is quite essential. Having a clear visualization of already existing equipment and software within the organization and how it will interact with new technologies is extremely important.

Performing an Inventory Assessment will help visualize the existing equipment and software within the organization as well as provide the data needed to analyze compatibility as well as compliance. But, how can an Inventory Assessment be performed within an organization that is practically new to ITAM best practices and has little and virtually unreliable Inventory data?

In this case a physical Asset Inventory is highly recommended, and due to its various aspects the best way to approach this task is by mandating a new project. Once the need of a project is identified, it is important to apply methods, techniques, tools and competencies that will assist with the integration of different phases throughout the project life cycle. This is known as Project Management, and one of the best ways to maintain a structured and organized workflow from beginning to closure is by applying standards, in this case, ISO 21500 standards.

First a Project Charter, consisting on Business Case, Goal statement, Project Plan and Roles and Responsibilities definition, should be prepared. Analysis of opportunity and benefits of this project, short term as well as long term, needs to be assessed within the Business Case. Also, impacts on stakeholders (such as other business units and employees) and any risks involved must also be addressed.

In this case, the opportunity has been identified as an actual organizational need to have a better understanding, accountability and governance of their existing assets that will, in the end, provide structural, economic and procurement benefits.

Once this has been established, external and internal factors need to be taken into consideration so that an appropriate structure, policies and process, as well as authority limits for decision-making can be applied.

The Goal Statement needs to specify critical success factors, key performance indicators and the estimated time to see results and it should be congruent with the Business Case. These goals should be specific, relevant, achievable, time-bounded and measurable in order to be effective.

Let’s say, in this case, the goal is to gather the total amount of existing assets within the organization, as well as relevant data such as type of equipment, manufacturer, model, serial numbers, location, tag numbers, purchase/lease and warranty information, among other aspects that are directly related to the assets, within, let’s say, three months.

It is extremely important to identify in the Scope of the project which types of assets will be accounted for and which will not, since this will greatly contribute to better time and schedule management, providing a clear insight of what equipment and data should be gathered.

Once the goals are defined, timeline and milestones will be shown within the Project Plan; roles and responsibilities should be identified and defined, in order to have clarification of who will be doing what, and the Statement of Work defining the work breakdown structure and activities, as well as assessing resources and budget for the project, must be prepared.

Also, it is important to have control measures throughout the duration of the project as well as reliable quality assurance, which will help ensure all risks are taken into consideration and there is a plan to manage any needed changes based on lessons learned throughout the process.

Given that roles and responsibilities of process groups are different, constant and effective communication must take place at all times. This is why a communication plan must be established and followed through the duration of the project. Once the project is completed, it is very important to document every lesson learned, so that it can be taken into consideration and implemented as necessary.

To conclude, having clear organization, methodology and guidance on how a process should be done, greatly contributes to the success and timely completion of any project, and this is precisely what ISO 21500:2012 Standards are: A Guide to Project Management Best Practices.

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