ERPNext Foundation ERPNext Cloud User Manual Blog Discuss Frappé* Donate

Inventory Management like CMDB


#1

we as an it support company use a software called iTop in which we can manage our customers it infrastructures. The software iTop goes as far as issue handling and service level agreements as well as handling service contracts like a mobile plan of our customers. The main feature we are using in this software is the CMDB which stands for Computer Management DataBase. In the cmdb we can add all CI Configuration Items which can be computer, software licences, mobile phones, software installations, websites, networking switches etc. basicly you will be able to find all computer/it related inventory.

As we are already using ERPNext extensivly we would like to integrate this as the next step. Here is my plan:

  • Install a custom App into ERPNext
  • create and design a doctype “Configuration Item”
  • fill this item with the necessary fields and then go from there

Here I would like to start a discussion in where you would place this feature. For my understanding items like computers, mobile phones and software licences are part of my company inventory. As it is “in use” I don’t think the items should still be part of our Stock though we are doing this for some items for the moment.
If there is already a solution to managing my “low cost movable company assets”.

@woakes070048 have you made progress on this matter?

Looking forward to your ideas!

Best

Similar things:



#2

I had a quick look at “Assetmanagement” and can see that some requirements are already covered there. I can see, that it would make sense to put all movable things like computers, software licences and mobile devices, just as tables, chairs and other items into “Assets”. Also I saw, that I can already connect these to my company, customers or suppliers. Also Maintenance makes sense for some cases. This could be used to create maintenance batches later connected to SLAs…


#3

Hi @wojosc,
Thanks for raising this!
We are also an IT Support company and are in the process of looking at building an “IT Services” app - to include configuration management, ticketing (with timer like current Timesheet has - though it is not working as expected https://github.com/frappe/erpnext/issues/15162), agreements (i.e. subscriptions per time period which can easily be adjusted. I don;t believe Auto Repeat will be usable in this situation as it is based on an existing Sales Invoice) and also automatic invoice creation based on activity in tickets / agreements. Would be great to collaborate on this with others in the field.

I used iTop some time ago but moved on from it. I recently came across another open source project which is very modern and mobile friendly - Snipe-IT. Take a look here https://snipeitapp.com/demo.

In terms of the existing Asset Management, I would rather consider creating a standalone Doctype as there would be many additional fields / data relating to IT&T directly which would be confusing to non-IT Service companies. Likewise, other information like depreciation calculations and insurance details (in current asset module) is more applicable to internal company assets. Always good to hear other views on this though :slight_smile:

One thing that certainly needs to be addressed in my view before asset management is introduced is encryption of data at rest (local and offsite backups for example) and also a data field type in frappe for things like passwords. Until this is done, I would not be placing information into this especially given situations where data / backups are compromised and all clientele systems information is accessible.

Feel free to reach out via PM too.

Thanks
Owen


#4

For the moment we are good on this subject. We just do everything manually right now. As we are growing we know we will have the resources and need to have an eye on automatic this process. I will you keep you updated. We havent upgraded to v11 yet. I hope the “clock” feature will be usable.

I have also have had a look at this some time ago. It lookes pretty easy. What I am missing though is the ability to link several CI to one another. So for example, we have a doctor who has to burn dicom pictures to CD to pass on to his patients. For this opereation several devices and software installations are need. We use the group and application solution to solve this. Also IP management is important for our use. I have to say, that I find iTop pretty good, as it is very complete but there are some bits and pieces witch seem to be over complecated.

I had a closer look at asset management and agree. AM is for “slow” moving objects like big maschines, vehilces and buildings. An option would probably be to link the two though. So I also have a check box for “Is Asset” which would make deprication etc. available. Maybe CMDB or something like inventory could be a subcategory of Assets.

We also do not place any critical data like passwords anywhere in our ERP for the moment. Maybe there will be a “Vault” implemented in ERPNext some time. We are using KeePass for password management which is completely isolated as we can not afford to loose these or get them mixed up in any way. In future though, handling ssl-keys could also be part of cmdb?!.

For now I’d like to concentrate on creating a doctype “Configuration Item” and going from here. I will post my progress here asap.


#5

I have now had the chance to take some time looking at creating new DocTypes. Also I have put some thought toward how the DocTypes I need could look like. I figure it will be easiest to more or less copy iTop in its structure as it is already ITIL standard. A pretty good feature are the graphs I can have shown.


(the pictures shows a hardware server, its hypervisor and two virtual maschines running one this)
When using incidents in iTop these would be shown by the thumbsnails in the picture to indicate if there are open issues. This won’t be overly necessary in the first step though.

The most important things we need in CMDB are

And yes @OneiricIT I agree. It it probably best to have an own Modul for CMDB instead of trying to push this somewhere into an exsiting one. For now I will create all my DocTypes in the modul Support.


DocTyp Licence (Software)
#6

So I we have built a custom DocType for our purpose and very quickly changed to using it instead of the iTop we had running. We are only using this in read-only and transfer everything when needed.



We use the field “Type” for the following options:

Further information:
We make Configuration Items for pretty much everything we get our hands on.

having an IP-Phone for example there are loads of things that are interesting for us:

  • IPv4 and MAC-Address for static-lease from DHCP-Server
  • IPv4 for CTI software communicating to the Phone
  • Configured VPN-connection
  • SIP-account(s) registered to the phone
  • Admin-accounts for configuration
  • Person using the phone
  • Location in building or office
  • Make and model

As you can see there are loads of different aspects which are important to inventory management. This DocType now makes it really easy to just create an item and putting in the necessary information without having to make a specific decision on what it is (Server, Client, Solution etc.)

We are 4 poeple using this “cmdb” on an everyday basis and are all very happy.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress.


Tasks and Sub Tasks
#7

I had to laugh when I read this. It is just an uninformed position to take these days. Yes, I get it that IT infrastructure may change a bit faster than your other asset classes, but they share far more that you have bothered to see in reality.

For example:

And that was just a simple item. I think what you have failed to consider is that almost everything is now part of the IoT universe and many catagories that you thought to be ridiculously “slow moving” items are actually probably doing more than Cisco in the field of advanced communications and internet connectivity.

There are HVAC companies now that are installing large tower/building class air conditiojning systems that are controlled by embedded linux systems and wifi connect to each other on the same building through a proprietary router that has it’s own satellite link to the internet. These systems monitor themselves for service related issues and can call for their own PM’s without ever involving a human being. They also get constant anf frequent firmware updates through the link to keep their systems running. Ultimately some IT guy in some office in some part of the world has to maintain that software and all of those embedded linux controllers. It is no longer just a dumb air conditioner and the people that service this stuff now also need to have not only good computer foundational knowledge but also network debugging abilities and telecommunications backgrounds.

John Deere, Kubota, etc. agriculture equipment suppliers have automated almost everything in these pieces of equipment and even linked them together with CDMA or GMS cellular data links so they can coordinate with each other, with the local weather service, with the local EPA, and other entities in order to solve problems and keep production moving. Everyone of them requires a network specialist to also be able to understand the heavy equipment mechanics of their system.

I am sorry, but I believe that you have just been looking at your computer screen for way too long to understand that the world has changed around you and service providers as well as asset managers are begging for typical IT related items to be included in the standard software for asset management and service contract implementations.

Even basic home air conditioners are now looking for a wifi connection so they can report their own issues to their owners and even make the call to schedule their own repairs. My local HVAC vendor recently offered to replace my main unit with one that had a cellular connection built in with a lithium standby battery so it could call for automated instructions on what to do after a natural disaster! He said it would even receive disaster alerts and automatically go into a hibernation state so it would be easier to recover from if all was well later. Of course that also meant it needed a quarterly firmware update.

Please… don’t try to separate asset management from IT management. Find a way to make them work together in the same application. Yeah, maybe the guy renting tables and chairs to wedding receptions will not need all of the features but, we are rapidly approaching a time when even that may change.

So, by the time you actually get an application ready to deploy, I don’t want you to have spent all your time making something that may already be outdated and pigeon holed into a corner that you would have to develop your way out of again and in short order.

Just an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions :grin:

BKM


#8

Thank you for your thoughts. I am totally on your side on this subject and am also aware of the development on "everything having IoT capabilities.
Our goal will be coming from fairly easy computer networks and less complex PC solutions to be able to manage this first. As I said, this has already been a game changer for our company so far. Once we have this done for our needs we will be able to branche out and add more complexity just like the examples you gave.

My idea is to build from a collection of DocTypes to a cmdb section which is maybe part of an ITIL app with then again will have strings to asset management and thus to the initial sales order, the deprecation and end-of-life reminders.

For us as a young company ERPNext gives a good chance to learn and solve at the same time.

Please be patient, as you know rome wans’t built in a day…

…we are ready to take this challenge :slight_smile:


#9

This is true, but Vesuvius wiped out Pompeii in one night and Rome was afraid to rebuild afterward because their pride had been broken by the loss.

So, just plan carefully and consider all competing paths to make sure yours is the most successful.

BKM


#10

Damn. A lesson in history. :joy: