A common question we get involves when to combine or split Assets into different Asset Types, and when to decide that a custom field should be its own Asset Type. Say you’ve got some printers; Some are network-connected, some are local. Some are printer-only, some are multi-function devices (copier/scanner/printer). Some are black-and-white, some are color. Some are ink-jet and some are laser. Add various manufacturers, models, and other variances, and you have quite the menagerie.
Your options are: (1) Create them as multiple, different (separate) Asset Types, with mostly the same custom fields, (2) Create them all under the same single Asset Type with custom fields that allow you to differentiate between them. For instance, a Yes/No drop-down box for Network; Format: Laser / Inkjet; and one for Function. The list could go on and on.
The question is “which way is better?” though… The answer is, likely “it depends”.
- First, how many do you have of each? Perhaps it’s not worth the effort of building two full Asset Types.
- Second, how do you want to reference them in your Service Desk queues?
- Ultimately, it probably comes down to Reporting. You can only get out of your Database what you put into it. So, the questions you should probably ask yourself when setting up Assets are:
- What are you wanting to do with them.
- What do you hope to get out of the relationships you setup between Asset Types?
Let’s pick apart one field for a moment. You will need a Manufacturer field in your Printer Asset Type. You also need one in your Phone, Router, Firewall, Vehicle, Monitor, Software, License Asset Types as well. Everything has a manufacturer almost, so this one is pretty easy. I’m not going to create essentially the same field and A, B, C, D, E, F drop-down list in every single Asset Type; I could make Manufacturer its own Asset Type (just like Vendor), and greatly simplify relating Manufacturer to my assets. That gives me ease of implementation, as well as ease of reporting; generating a list of every asset manufactured by Acme Rocket Corp. should make it easier to see how much money I’ve spent on Wile E. Coyote’s schemes.
While the thoughts above probably aren’t applicable to 100% of our customers, they should give you an idea on a decision making process that works for you.