This article is part of a blog series!

Part Title
1 JIRA for asset management: Overview
2 JIRA for asset management: Inventory setup
3 JIRA for asset management: Workflow setup
4 JIRA for asset management: Reporting setup
5 JIRA for asset management: Physical implementation

 

IT organizations have the challenge of ensuring system uptime, supporting users, and managing inventory of both hardware and software. IT teams gain significant efficiencies when one tool can support multiple business operations. According to Gartner, mastering the discipline of effective asset management is a huge cost savings for companies:

“Gartner clients who successfully execute ITAM as a discipline typically achieve 30% cost savings in the first year of their initiatives, and at least 5% cost savings in each of the subsequent five years. Given that software and hardware spending often accounts for 20% of IT budgets, this is a crucial discipline to master.”

-Source: Gartner, IT Asset Management Key Initiative Overview, June 18, 2013

As this is an important topic, we’ve received a number of questions on how we use JIRA for asset tracking at Atlassian. I met up with Dan Horsfall who pioneered our system for asset tracking.

JIRA is widely known as an effective issue tracking platform. JIRA is a rich workflow management platform used by over 23,000 companies worldwide to track everything from software, help desks, project work, and even inventory. JIRA Service Desk brings the power of JIRA to the IT team. JIRA’s flexible configuration can easily help IT teams track inventory as well as user support in one place. This will be a five-part series starting with an overview then covering inventory setup, enabling workflow, reporting, and a bonus article on how we tag and scan devices.

The great thing about JIRA is that all of the activity around an asset can be stored in one place. We know the reason for acquiring the hardware, who it’s assigned to, and what its past history has been.

Work is a collaborative place. Whether it’s a trouble ticket, new hire requisition, or a purchase order, JIRA makes it easy to build an effective history on every asset.    asset_tracking_links
By default, JIRA has an assignee field that lets everyone in the organization know who’s responsible for that particular asset. If it transitions from in-service, to needing service, it’s easy to update who is managing the repair order for that particular item.asset_tracking_jira_assignee

 

Customizable workflows are one of JIRA’s core strengths. Teams of all types are able to build their ideal work culture in JIRA which allows them to efficiently scale. Here at Atlassian, we’ve developed a workflow to help us track our inventory inside of JIRA.

asset_management_workflowJIRA keeps a rich audit trail so it’s easy to know the story behind each asset. As fields get updated or are transitioned between statuses in the workflow, JIRA records each of those changes. Have a computer that needs to be sent for service multiple times? With JIRA it’s easy to track major events in asset’s lifetime for future review.

asset_management_activity

We also need to make it easy for those managing inventory to update status in JIRA. Each asset has a label on it with our corporate logo and a QR code.

jira_asset_management_qrcode-1
Our IT team uses the Motorola DS4208 QR code scanner to read the QR code. That way, they can quickly locate the correct JIRA issue and update that item’s status. Be sure to read part five to learn more about the physical side of our asset tracking program.

Many solutions are able to track and manage inventory effectively. So why use JIRA? Work is an increasingly connected place. Software teams deeply interface with IT teams. IT often works with HR. JIRA’s deep support for linking issues makes following a problem to resolution easier. If the software team finds that a particular server is malfunctioning, they can easily link that server’s tag number directly into a bug report to make it easy for everyone to stay on the same page.

What’s next? I’ll go into detail about how to set up your installation of JIRA for asset management with custom issue types and workflows.

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About Dan Radigan

Software has been a passion since the days of the floppy disk (you know, the actual 5.25 inch floppy ones). Agile has had a huge impact on me both professionally and personally as I've learned the best experiences are agile, both in code and in life. You'll often find me at the intersection of technology, photography, and motorcycling. Find me on twitter @danradigan.

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