Real SMB IT – Asset Management Through Problem Management

July 21, 2008

On this blog I have posted many summaries of how even SMB managers can save time and money utilizing ITIL processes . This post is not one of those summaries, but a real world example of how “practicing what I preach” has just saved me an inordinate amount of time.

This is one small example – but scale this small example over time, and you begin to see where the time and productivity savings start to accrue.

The Incident

At my organization we use many of the same make and model of laptop computer. Approximately 6 months ago, one of these computers died. The symptoms were extreme corruption of the video screen and then a failure to boot up properly.

My home built Asset Management system told me that the unit was under warranty, So I called the vendors warranty support line.

The support issue lasted almost 2 weeks and took hours of my time, on phone calls, repair work and shipping;

* the support representatives shipped a new hard drive for the laptop. I had to remove the old drive, return it to the vendor, install the new drive, and start to reinstall the operating system. No luck – still dead – The operating system install died halfway through.

* they then shipped new memory (RAM) chips – I had to remove the old memory and install the new chips – Again no luck – still dead.

* Finally they sent a service technician to replace the Video Processor and Main Board – voila – it was actually the video board that was the problem

So the ITIL Incident Managememt Process has a “failure to boot” of that particular asset

The Problem Management Process documents that the Video Processor card was the culprit that caused that incident.

The Benefit?

I just had another laptop of the same Make and Model fail with the exact same symptoms. Will I have to repeat that 2 weeks and countless hours?


I will be calling the Warranty support line again, but due to my documentation from the first incident and problem, I can reference that first “service Ticket” with the vendors support staff – we know what the fix will be.

They will still have to replace that video processor – but we will avoid the days and days of shipping new parts and hours on the support line.

Duuh Can’t you remember that?

Of course – I personally could remember that first incident – but the point is that regardless of your IT being supplied by a provider, or internally – anyone could avoid that wasted time and effort.

The Caveat

I have written in the ITIL summaries that the process of managing the ITIL framework can be the most difficult. If staff do not follow the framework, all the knowledge captured in that first incident and problem resolution is wasted if the second time it happens some tech just ignores the historical information and picks up the phone to repeat it all over again.

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