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Used By field is pointless for CMDB

Has anybody else determined a workaround for the silly behavior of the Used By field in the CMDB? The Used By field gets updated to the last user to log into the device. So if you are using the CMDB to track what assets are assigned to which users, then your assets are going to move around if anybody else logs into the device. When you have a lot of assets, it essentially makes using the CMDB to track them pointless.


I looked at creating another custom field to store who the device is assigned to, but the Used By field is more of a "first-class citizen" for other areas if the system, like reporting. And you can't have a custom field whose datatype is "requestor". 


Any ideas? I asked Fresh Service support and were pretty indifferent about that glaring oversight.



Hi Ryan,


We update the used by automatically based on the user logging in to the device. You had mentioned in the support interaction that some users have to log in to perform some tasks on the device. Are these users admins from your team? If they are, you can add these users to the ignore list (Admin -> Discovery -> Settings -> Admin Users). Once you have included your admins to this list, the used by will not be updated if they log in to the devices. 


Please let me know if adding the Admin users works for you.


A broader note on the auto-update behavior - We believe that the used by should be updated at the time the device is assigned to the user by the IT Team. We are exploring introducing a new field called "Last Logged in User" which will be updated every time the logged in user changes while retaining the manually updated Used by. I'll update this post once I have more details. 


Best,
Sid

Freshservice Product Team



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No that is not the only case, there are two scenarios where this happens. One is that the device is a shared device, and doesn't actually belong to a specific person. It might be a loaner, or a shared terminal used by multiple people. The other is where it is assigned to a specific person, but somebody else logs into it for one reason or another. This is a perfectly typical use case in a domain. In both of those cases, the *ownership* of the device is getting changed when it shouldn't. 


Instead, your suggestion is much better. If you want the agent to update the last logged on user, then that is great. That is a nice to have, and very helpful. But the user logging in should not change who the device is assigned to. Assignment/ownership should always be a manual change, especially when you introduce things like asset depreciation. As it is now, a user can log in to a device and completely change where depreciation is assigned, which is really dangerous.


I know it has behaved this way for years, so I am not confident that you'll address it with any real priority. But it is a gigantic flaw.

the SCCM probe uses the Primary User option to set the used by field in Fresh. Issue we are facing is that is only is set once. if the primary user changes in SCCM its not changed in Fresh. This is very irritating as we want to use the SCCM probe to update fields like this.


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Hi Sid


Your suggestion sounds great.  I look forward to hearing more details.


I wasn't aware that the Used By field can be automatically updated.  If it did that in our environment, it would create chaos as our users are often logging into computers other than their own.  We only use the discovery agent.  Is the auto-update a function of the probe?


Simon

Hi Ryan, 


I checked used by auto update logic and here's what I found:


  • If the Asset State is NOT In Stock and if the Used By is Blank
    • The Used by is updated to the current logged in user
  • If the Asset State IS In Stock
    • The Used by is updated to the current logged in user
    • The Asset State is set to In Use
  • If any of the users who logs in is added as an Admin user, then this logic does not apply. 


Considering this logic, the used by should not be updating every time a user logs in to the devices, unless the Asset state was not set to In Use the first time. If that was the case, you might see the used by change twice. Can you please verify if the Used by is updating every time someone logs in to a device? 


@Simon de Jong, I guess in your case, the used by is not blank and we don't update it a second time if the used by has a value. I can understand that SCCM will be reliable source of information, but when you have a device being returned to IT, do you remove the Used by assignment in Freshservice? Or are these shared devices where multiple users use them? If that's the case, will having a Last Logged in User field help instead of updating the used by directly? 


@Simon Taylor, the auto-assignment works for windows devices scanned by both the Probe and Agent. The pre-req is that the requester information should be synced through the probe and the users should login to the devices using domain login.


Best,

Sid




Hi Sid


Thanks for your great explanation.


We're not syncing requester information through the probe (we're not using the probe at all), so that would explain why we're not seeing any auto-assignment.  Might be worth us exploring that.  Sounds like a useful feature the way you've described it.


Simon

I think you are over-automating- what problem does that solve? I creates more confusion and potential for breaking the inventory than it saves time. 


What if a device is In Stock and someone needs to log in and use it for a minute? IT must remember to open inventory and re-assign the device back to In Stock. I think the solution you mentioned is to separate the Used By and Last Logged In fields is the best behavior because those fields have fundamentally different meanings and workflows. While it is useful knowing the last logged in user, just because someone logs into a device doesn't mean they should have it assigned to their responsibility. And just because someone has a device assigned to their responsibility, doesn't mean they are the one to always log into it. Anything that affects the way assets are allocated should be something that changes manually or there will always be risk that FS is breaking the ledger.

Not all our devices return to IT before they are used again. So it would be ideal that when the primary user is changed in SCCM that it would change the Used By field and company field as well in Fresh. .We currently have the primary user set to whoever logs on 5 times in 10 days, its a bit more reliable than the last logged on user.


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