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22. January 2019 Peter Pešta

Insight – Asset Management for Business

What systems, resources, services or assets do we have in our company? How are they related?

Why Insight?

Companies grow, increasing demands for competitiveness, increasing the number of clients and their requirements. For companies to meet these demands, they often must expand; to have more resources, a broader range of products, or services that now require more technical or physical means. As the money invested increases, the need for visibility of all company assets also rises. What systems, resources, services or assets do we have in our company? How are they related? We can answer all these questions in one word, “Insight”, the most widely used and most commonly used resource management form.

Insight is a management tool to help manage assets. But which assets? Computers, phones, printers, vehicles, company org positions, resources, operations, buildings. In fact, anything. All the resources that are important to your company, that you need to have an overview of. All resources can be saved as objects in Insight. Each object has its own set of properties. A computer has its parameters, a vehicle has its own SPA, a building has its address and an employee has his position, phone number and email address. How can such diverse information on such a large number of resources be available in one place? With Insight it can – this property is Insight’s great advantage.

Insight as a CMDB

The term is “Configuration management database”, but what does it mean for a business? To track all the equipment that is part of the business in a single place. An employee uses a laptop for their work or phone, perhaps makes car trips, perhaps handles the server yet is still a team member. The server has different systems, applications, or databases installed on it, each with its own license. In such a complicated picture, it’s easy to lose sight of all the resources, their characteristics, and their dependencies. This diverse collection is handled by Insight so you get a form in which you can quickly and easily orient yourself. By creating tree structures with interlinking objects, we get a complete picture of how they depend on each other and the impact any failure of one of the objects may have.

How to use Insight in practice?

So what does Insight really do? What can you do with it? You can manage Human Resources, manage Client Relationships, manage Internal IT Infrastructure; the back office has asset management capabilities (fleet and travel reports), the development department can manage software versions. Every department can probably be managed in Insight. Because of this flexibility, we have a partner who had long sought to solve the issues of managing his infrastructure and his customers. It was important for our client to see how their resources were used, as their own complete management system was neither easy nor straightforward: Many applications, software licenses, network elements, databases, and services, all run on different servers, which were further handled by various administrators.

For this client we created an object-specific schema. Since Insight supports custom object types, we were able to tailor the solution to the client needs. Each object type consisted of its own set of properties. Servers have their IP addresses, location, host, status, FQDN, serial number, model, manufacturer, technical parameters such as number of processors, RAM, operating system, file system, and also information on when the server was purchased, whether it is a physical or virtual system. The number of servers is not limited, so the client can add more as needed whenever they purchase a new server. Various apps are installed on each server, each license associated with its server to maintain validity. Server databases, database administrators, and server administrators were also assigned to servers.

What else does Insight offer?

One high value add for the client was the ability to print the digital QR codes used on printers. After the code is loaded, the employee opens a JIRA task that contains detailed information about the printer: its IP address, type and manufacturer. Using this, they can quickly identify the needed replacement toner whenever one of the colors is used up. The same functionality was transferred to projectors and laptops. Without a tedious physical search for the laptop owner, they can find the information they need in the Insight system.

Insight as a tool for HR

Insight was initially designed to manage assets (predominantly IT), but the unlimited possibilities of creating schemas, objects, and their properties all helped in defining requirements for creating a simple HR and CRM system that the client quickly adopted. The Employee Template was created to manage a person’s resources, including not only their company position and usual HR details, but also the assets that are entrusted to them. Notebooks, monitors, phones, and even vehicles that have been assigned. Based on various types of follow-up (eg, employee was assigned a specific notebook, monitor, and phone), Insight generates an image of each employee and all his assets; each resource has its own set of supplementary information (until when is the warranty, parameter values, etc.). For the purposes of identifying potential risks, specific risk analysis was used, to see the implications of a failure in a server. If a particular server fails, what applications will be affected or unavailable, what are the impacts on the internal and external environment.

Insight and ServiceDesk

By joining JIRA ServiceDesk with Insight, a set of very powerful tools has been developed to work well together. Employees have a tool in which they are able to work effectively, reporting outages on their own or shared tools, while the record of all reported outages remains in each object. The person in charge of the task has quick access to all the necessary information without having to ask others for it. What the notebook parameters are, what applications are installed, the history of what has been reported, solved, repaired, or replaced, applications or parts. You can read more about joining these two apps in the following blog posts.

If you are interested in easier yet more effective managing of your assets, we are ready to answer all your questions.

Peter Pešta

Atlassian konzultant

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