Device Visibility Across the Product Lifecycle

 

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Maintaining device visibility at all times is critical to the effective management of an organization's fleet of devices. As shelter-in-place orders force the workforce to become remote, device visibility and tracking have become even more important to IT management.

With a remote workforce, new devices are being shipped to any number of remote locations, rather than a centralized hub. This increased amount of movement and the decentralization of the use of devices creates exponential increases in opportunities for an asset to slip through the cracks. A poorly tracked asset can easily fall off the radar, and opportunities to reclaim it may be slim. To make matters worse, there are significant regulatory and compliance fines that are now applied to the loss of devices with personal information. 

To combat this, Oomnitza allows organizations to precisely track the movement of assets, and create vital reports, alerts, and lifecycle automation processes to minimize these hazards. Below, you'll find some helpful tips and practices for maintaining top-tier visibility and keeping your devices secured as we navigate these turbulent waters. 

Create Device Data at the Time of Purchase

With the change in ship-to locations, creating asset records during receiving becomes more of a risk. By creating records at the time of purchase, you can simultaneously minimize the risk of losing track of an asset before receiving it, while creating a valuable tool for reconciling shipments as they're received.

Partnerships with Vendors provide an excellent tool for creating device data quickly and easily at the point of purchase. Examples of this include:

  1. SHI already offers an Oomnitza EDI Integration and CDW has one underway.
  2. Other vendors may be willing to build an integration with Oomnitza's REST API.
  3. Others still may be willing to upload spreadsheets of Assets using Oomnitza's Import Manager.
  4. Finally, Vendors should be able to provide a spreadsheet of purchased assets to enable uploads through the Import Manager.

When creating devices through these processes, they can be assigned a status of “Purchased”, and even a “Ship To Location” to aid in tracking.

To monitor these, users can create dashboards/reports in Oomnitza to ensure that the device reaches its destination. For example, a report or dashboard that shows “devices that are in the “Purchased” status for more than 3 weeks” allows IT managers to keep aware of, and track down, un-received assets.

Use Assignments and Statuses to Provide Detailed Asset Knowledge

Wherever an asset is, it's vital to understand what's happening with that asset, and who has it. By maintaining detailed and up-to-date Assignment and Status information, you maximize your knowledge of that Asset.

  1. Upon receipt of a shipped asset, the end-user should provide proof-of-receipt to the IT manager, who can store that proof in Oomnitza using the Media tab of that asset.
  2. If using Device Managers like JAMF or SCCM, the Oomnitza connector can be used to pull in data from those systems. This allows for timely information on the asset's assignment, and the status of the asset.
    1. Assignment can be achieved by creating a connector mapping between the Assigned To field in Oomnitza and the corresponding assignment field in your MDM.
    2. Status can be automated through a workflow. For example, a status can be created that changes an asset to Assigned when the Assigned To field is changed.
    3. Finally, exception reports can be created on Assets that have a user in the Assigned To field, but aren't in the Assigned Status, and for Assets that are in the Assigned Status, but don't have a user in the Assigned To field.

Automatically Track Dates to Understand When Changes Happen

With its high degree of flexibility, a highly effective Oomnitza account often has many different elements moving simultaneously. Workflows that record event dates can help track these changes.

To help, Oomnitza has created a guide on How-To Automatically Populate Date Fields.

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Use Status and Assignment for Remote Offices

If your organization is operating out of remote offices (e.g. devices are shipped to an IT manager, who configures the laptops and then sends out to the end-user) additional detail in the Status and Assignment fields can provide valuable insight.

  1. When the IT Manager receives a shipment, the status of those Assets should be updated to “Received” or “Inventory.” The Assigned To value can be set to that specific IT Manager to maintain accountability.
  2. Alternatively, if the IT manager enrolls the device into a system like Jamf or SCCM as part of this setup, the Status and Assigned To fields can be set to the anticipated user when the integration runs.

Use These Processes For Other Elements of the Asset Lifecycle

We can similarly use Status and Assigned To values for our repair processes, loaners, retrieving assets from offboarding employees, etc.

  1. Devices that come in for repair can be set to an appropriate Status, (e.g. “Repair”.)
    1. An additional field called Repair Status with values such as “Needs to be collected”, “Holding/Analysis”, and “Out for Repair” can be used to track movement of the device during the repair process, and allow for further reporting.
    2. Because we already have Assigned To values for the device, you’ll know who to ship it back to.
  2. For replacement devices or loaners, you can update the Assigned To to the end-user and also update the Status accordingly.
    1. Workflows can be used to easily track Loaners.
      1. When the device is loaned out, populate a loan return date, or set a workflow to populate a standard duration for this field that triggers when the Status is changed to Loaned Out.
      2. When the Loan is up, another workflow can be used to notify the Loanee that it's time to return their device (and notify the IT Manager that it's time to reclaim it)
    2. When their device comes back from repair, a workflow can Notify the owner that it's ready for pick up or delivery to that user.

Offboarding remote employees offers a set of challenges all its own. Effectively tracking in Oomnitza, however, can help simplify the process, and give IT Managers the necessary visibility in order to retrieve offboarded users’ devices with minimal effort.

    1. The employee's status in the people module should be set to "Terminated," "Deprovisioned," or whatever status appropriately reflects their status as they offboard.
    2. When their status changes, a workflow can be used to set an "Offboarding Date".
    3. Between the offboarding date, and the status itself, there are numerous possibilities for creating timely automation as the employee approaches the end of their tenure.
      1. For example, notifications can be sent to the employee and the IT Manager as their last day approaches, asking them to complete offboarding tasks, and return their equipment. 

For any questions, or if you need assistance implementing strategies to manage your growing remote workforce, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager or support@oomnitza.com

 

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