Abusive inventory management



  • Got an email this morning that our corporate IT is starting another one of those hugely annoying maintenance things that are going to bug the shit out of most of us.   They're starting a new automated hardware inventory management program.  Using the management SMS stuff that they push Windows updates out with, they're going to push out this new program.  When it pops up, we need to fill it out with the property tags on our laptops, monitors etc.  Says we can't reboot the machine or close the program until we fill it out and click OK.  That's not the WTF since I understand the need for easier inventory management.  This is the WTF:

    At the bottom of the email is "Please note:  Once the screen is initially filled out, the information will be re-displayed each month.  You will just need to confirm or adjust the data each month."

     



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    At the bottom of the email is "Please note:  Once the screen is initially filled out, the information will be re-displayed each month.  You will just need to confirm or adjust the data each month."
     

    It isn't entirely clear to me what the WTF is for that... Is it that it is probably better for the IT people to perform the deltas as they maintain the company hardware?  Although I do see this as a neat way to quickly populate a database with relevant information, I imagine it would be a PITA to go through the database and change all the different ways to represent the same thing (i.e. - "hp" and "HP" or whatever).



  •  I don'tview this as a WTF at all.  It's simply just a way for the company to cover their ASSets...



  • @WeatherGod said:

    (i.e. - "hp" and "HP" or whatever).
     

    Agreed. .ToUpper() and .ToLower() always stumps me.



  • Unless automated means that the IT dept doesn't have to do anything, that's not very automated, now is it? Of course reality will sink in in about 6 months when they realize that no one will fill these out.



  •  @skippy said:

    Unless automated means that the IT dept doesn't have to do anything, that's not very automated, now is it? Of course reality will sink in in about 6 months when they realize that no one will fill these out.

    I would.

    Computer name: Go

    Operating System: Fuck

    Keyboard: Yourself

    Office installed?: Below

    Wireless mouse?: Me

    ...



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @WeatherGod said:

    (i.e. - "hp" and "HP" or whatever).
     

    Agreed. .ToUpper() and .ToLower() always stumps me.

    eh... bad example... how about where some people would just say "Dell" for their monitor while other would give a model number?



  • Sorry, I think the WTF is the frequency.  As I said, I'm all for inventory management, and I absolutely love automating things.  But ONCE A MONTH?  Once every quarter is alot more reasonable, I think.



  • @WeatherGod said:

    It isn't entirely clear to me what the WTF is for that... Is it that it is probably better for the IT people to perform the deltas as they maintain the company hardware?

    "As they maintain the hardware" usually isn't good enough.  In asset management, you can't assume that "what the company owns" and "what is on the network" are the same thing... to do asset management well, you need discovery (preferably automated and not susceptible to id-10-t errors!) as well as ownership information, and the two data sets need to be reconciled (again, preferably in an automated way).

    @WeatherGod said:

    ... I imagine it would be a PITA to go through the database and change all the different ways to represent the same thing (i.e. - "hp" and "HP" or whatever).

    Any sane asset tracking system would provide a way to do fuzzy matching, if only by providing a translation list feature.



  • @WeatherGod said:

    eh... bad example... how about where some people would just say "Dell" for their monitor while other would give a model number?
     

    There are these things... called drop down lists... 



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Sorry, I think the WTF is the frequency.  As I said, I'm all for inventory management, and I absolutely love automating things.  But ONCE A MONTH?  Once every quarter is alot more reasonable, I think.

    Doesn't really matter, could be every day or every year. People are just going to hit the confirm button, whether their hardware has changed or not.



  • Yep.  And even people who are in favor of the system in principle will do it accidentally after they get used to quickly confirming it every month for 2+ years just to get it out of my face.  Our hardware doesn't change that often. 

    Actually I've heard several times over the 7 years I've worked here that there is someone in IT responsible for maintaining the list of hardware and purchasing new hardware when it gets too old - however, this has NEVER actually happened the entire time I've been here.  In practice, we don't get new hardware until the old stuff breaks and we call it into the helpdesk who then says "this is too old for us to support, please request a new machine".  So then of course we're like "request it from who?"...



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @WeatherGod said:

    eh... bad example... how about where some people would just say "Dell" for their monitor while other would give a model number?
     

    There are these things... called drop down lists... 

    But, that requires prior knowledge of the available hardware.  Even if you provide a drop-down list with known hardwares, and then allow people to enter in values for unaccounted for hardware, you still have raw input in your database.  Please do note that the most exposure I have had with IT inventory has been an Excel spreadsheet, which was an absolute disaster for the reasons I stated before.  I guess the point made earlier (the fuzzy input translator) probably applies most to this case, given how sophisticated this system is.



  • @WeatherGod said:

    But, that requires prior knowledge of the available hardware. 
     

    Yeah, options like: Dell, HP, Toshiba, Compaq, etc would be too hard.

    I agree.



  • Another fun thing is that lots of times the asset tags are stuck on the bottom of laptops.  Since you can't abort the program or defer it, you have to just leave it running while you un-dock it and flip it over, and hold it with one hand while you write the number down with the other one.  But that's just inconvenient, not really a wtf.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @WeatherGod said:

    But, that requires prior knowledge of the available hardware. 
     

    Yeah, options like: Dell, HP, Toshiba, Compaq, etc would be too hard.

    I agree.

    I know we had an article or something posted recently describing what I am talking about... but I can't seem to find it. 



  • @WeatherGod said:

    I know we had an article or something posted recently describing what I am talking about... but I can't seem to find it. 
     

    Found it: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/t/9092.aspx



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @WeatherGod said:

    I know we had an article or something posted recently describing what I am talking about... but I can't seem to find it. 
     

    Found it: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/t/9092.aspx

     

    Hardy, har, har... 



  •  @WeatherGod said:

    Hardy, har, har... 

    Whoops, sorry, here you go: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/t/5643.aspx



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

     @WeatherGod said:

    Hardy, har, har... 

    Whoops, sorry, here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBGIQ7ZuuiU

     

    Do you really think I blindly click on links...? 



  • @WeatherGod said:

    Do you really think I blindly click on links...? 
     

    Seems to have worked so far...



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @WeatherGod said:

    Do you really think I blindly click on links...? 
     

    Seems to have worked so far...

    Nope



  • @WeatherGod said:

    I know we had an article or something posted recently describing what I am talking about... but I can't seem to find it. 

    Found the article I was talking about: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/t/8845.aspx 



  • @WeatherGod said:

    @WeatherGod said:

    I know we had an article or something posted recently describing what I am talking about... but I can't seem to find it. 

    Found the article I was talking about: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/t/8845.aspx 

    Ha! You think I'm falling for this stuff a third time? No way I'm clicking that link!



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Says we can't reboot the machine or close the program until we fill it out and click OK.
     

    I'd love to see them write a program that prevents users from pressingthe power button. On a laptop you can just close the lid and hope that the standby/hibernate kicks in while you copy the information from the bottom of the machine.



  • @bstorer said:

    Ha! You think I'm falling for this stuff a third time? No way I'm clicking that link!
    Damn! You are too smart for me...



  •  Nobody else seems to have asked this yet, but exactly why do they need to know which make and model of peripheral you have anyway? All they need to know is how many they've got left and how many have been junked as beyond economic repair, which could be accomplished quite easily by having the user and/or the technician who makes the decision to replace sign for each new one taken from the stores. I'd also like to know why they can't migrate their existing inventory data to the new system instead of starting from scratch like this.



  • Refer briefly to my previous comment about somebody being in charge of monitoring hardware "life" and ordering new stuff for us which never actually happens.... so my cynical answer is that perhaps this is another attempt to make the asset inventory/management system work properly.  (I have lots of customers who are too spineless to make their employees adhere to proper procedures so ask me to make the computer do it for them... so why not my company be that way too?)  The people who are supposed to be managing the inventory seem unable to do so, so maybe automating it will work better.

    I don't know if this makes a difference, but we're a ginormous corporation, so there are no hardware "stores".  When new hardware is needed, it is requisitioned government-style, purchased from Dell or whoever, shipped to and preconfigured by some central IT group in New York and then finally shipped to the employee.  Also because of our geographical diversity, it's a challenge keeping track of what hardware is where, what's running on it, and how old it is.  So it's not a bad policy in principle.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    I don't know if this makes a difference, but we're a ginormous corporation, so there are no hardware "stores".
    Waaaait a minute. You do mean that in the context of entire computers, or things like spare projector bulbs, don't you?



  • if you didn't care for the manufacturing name (since most companies buy from one place anyway), Could it just be possible to read the system information provided through a web service ? Then they can run an inventory check every month to query for some bits of information. Most average employees don't manage the hardware perspective, they simply use the computer.



  •  Well if it was me, I would just write a small app to probe the hardware and have that information put in the database instead, much easier for the end user(they don't have to do anything), much more accurate(the hardware isn't exactly going to lie to you, or make typos, is it?), much more relevant(knowing specifically what processor, type and speed of ram, the mobo, etc... is going to be a lot more handy to know than trying to figure out what type of hardware is in a Dell Dementia 4096).


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