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Empowering People, Process and Technology – Case Study of a Successful Game Changer in ITAM Data Quality and Affordability

By John McConnell & Karen Bryant, Kaiser Permanente

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In today’s world, IT hardware assets in every company are multiplying quickly, and the compliance requirements are multiplying just as fast.  To keep up with this evolving landscape, it’s critical to have efficient programs and processes to track each item from the day it arrives, to the day it’s retired.

An efficient, scalable IT asset inventory process was of great importance for Kaiser Permanente to be responsive to growth and changes in the industry.  The Kaiser Permanente IT Asset Management (ITAM) team successfully met this challenge and was able to rollout a new process that was quickly adopted by users, improved data quality, and resulted in a 93.2% reduction in scanning device remediation.  The new process yielded a decrease of 99% in the top 10 errors registered and savings of 75% of the scanning audit and remediation process cost!  How’s that for one project?

Implementing this new process took the systems from legacy to the 21st century with a single step. Below is a summary of the journey from issue to solution.

ITAM Team Needs

With over one million pieces of trackable hardware in the production environment, across eight regions from Hawaii to the east coast, the ITAM team quickly realized that the current process wasn’t sufficient to support future growth.  The compilation of the factors in Table 1 formed the business case to look into an alternative solution.

Figure 1: IT Business Case

Organizational Needs

In addition to the requirements on the IT side, it was also critical to reach out to other impacted business groups (procurement, supply & logistics and finance) to determine the entire scope of the project.  Skipping this step could have cost the business time and money in identifying a solution that was not comprehensive.

To do this effectively, all groups were asked to begin with the desired outcome in mind, and then backtrack to identify any gaps and develop a plan moving forward.  Strategies included:

  • Conducting process workshops:  because no one group was responsible for this end-to-end process, it was critical to gather all key players to discuss the global impact.  During these meetings, gaps were identified and a desired process was formed
  • Understanding reporting requirements:  each team had different needs for reporting, so the project team spent time identifying an actionable data set with new metrics and KPI included

Solution Requirements

After understanding the broader organizational needs, the project team fully defined the software requirements and decided which vendors to consider.  Requirements included:

✓ Scalability:  because of the organization’s size and the number of records, the solution needed to be able to process the volume quickly and accurately

✓ Mobile compatibility:  to ensure ease of use, the software needed to be compatible with company mobile devices, thus reducing the need for use and maintenance of additional scanners

✓ Integration into other systems:  because this solution collects the baseline data which feeds other applications (finance, asset management, request system), it was critical that the solution was compatible and could fit in with our architecture

✓ Reliability:  because this system would feed into other critical functions (procurement, financial systems, compliance reporting), it was imperative that the data was clean and formed a solid platform for other systems of record

Implementing the Solution

After the RFP stage concluded, the Kaiser Permanente ITAM team selected AssetTrack.  To ensure a successful implementation, the team took a comprehensive change management approach to ensure that all stakeholders were engaged and ready for the new tool.  Strategies included:

  • Partnering to determine timing:   to ensure the needs of all groups were met, the ITAM team partnered with all that were impacted to determine a mutually beneficial timeline
  • Identifying stakeholders thoroughly:  the change was fairly expansive, so the team planned time to determine each user that would be impacted, and the degree to which they would be impacted
  • Cascading communication:  because this initiative impacted several stakeholder groups across the organization, a detailed communication plan was compiled, targeting the essential messages by group.  This kept everyone informed and generated great buzz for the rollout, eventually leading to successful adoption of the new tool
  • Training:  every user was denied access to the tool until they attended training.  These sessions were configured to be accessible by all, and added to the ongoing training repository for future requests.  This was then followed up by in-person and additional ad hoc sessions for key users to ensure they were comfortable with the tool

The Outcome

The deliberate planning and careful implementation by the Kaiser Permanente ITAM team and their cross functional partners paid off.  In addition to reduced device remediation, near elimination of the top 10 errors registered and the significant total process savings, below are the significant wins for the organization.

Ease of Use

Because of the new mobile device compatibility, asset records are now being updated more frequently, and on the spot with just the scan of a phone.  Within the six months of rollout, asset record updates rose by 26%.  Users have overwhelmingly agreed that the tool is easy to use, and have adapted quickly to the change.

Reliable Automated Data

Now technicians only need to scan each asset one time.  Each record that is entered is full, complete, and tracked in one location that feeds other applications.

Physical Reconciliation

The ITAM team can instantly run reports on where the asset is expected to be vs. where it actually is.  The comparative data is then used to determine the appropriate next steps.

Financial Reconciliation

Purchases are now designed to integrate with our procurement and subledgers with just one scan.  Now both workflows can be tied to the same dataset to ensure that everyone is acting on the most reliable, up-to-date information.

Remote Troubleshooting

No more guessing what the issue is and trying to duplicate it during a troubleshooting session.  Using a managed image of the scanning hardware (built through a third party application), technicians are able to remote in and capture the user’s experience real time, step by step.  This allows for each issue to be resolved in minutes through user training or technical support.  This ability reduced the technical support needed by 66%!

As an organization, the Kaiser Permanente ITAM team has only just begun to realize the impact of this scalable solution.  The organization is now positioned to use this foundational hardware data to make more global business and process decisions to improve asset utilization.

About John McConnell

John McConnell is the Sr. Business Consultant for Kaiser Permanente.