Inside the project: IT Asset Management

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A bang for its buck

CHALLENGE: When the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau became a standalone entity in 2003, it didn't have its own IT infrastructure. The following year, it had to build one from scratch. But with just five full-time IT professionals, TTB needed an efficient, cost-effective way of managing its brand-new assets.

SOLUTION: On the lookout for an integrated help desk and IT asset management platform, TTB asked contractor Booz Allen Hamilton to evaluate several solutions, including Heat and Remedy. The bureau eventually decided on Numara Track-It to manage its 4,000 IT assets.

MISSION BENEFIT: TTB was able to get the Track-It platform up and running for just $30,000 and has been adding capabilities since. Among the functions TTB uses most is the remote management module, which allows the bureau's modest IT staff to control dispersed systems around the nation. Ultimately, the software was the right fit for the 600-person bureau.

LESSONS LEARNED: Starting with a clean IT slate was liberating for TTB, but officials knew it also represented a chance to be selective about the products it chose. In adopting its IT management system, a few lessons came to mind:
  • Enterprise products such as Remedy and Heat were overkill for TTB. The bureau could probably double its assets and the software would scale to meet the demand.

  • Agentless software wasn't the right fit for TTB. Despite offering gigabit Ethernet connections to its clients, agentless required too much network overhead for TTB's liking.

  • Help desk software can be an effective tool for auditing systems. TTB wrote batch files to query assets then log the results in a work order to create a permanent record. This type of documentation can come in handy when auditors come to assess TTB's infrastructure.

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