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[How-to] Enable Advanced Custom Substates to Enhance Your IT Asset Management

Enhance Your IT Asset Management With Custom Substates In AssetSonar

Large enterprises have complex processes. Their IT infrastructure is used in various ways and is often spread throughout multiple locations, departments, databases, and workflows. Some of these workflows are even subdivided into more granular tasks and call for detailed IT tracking.

AssetSonar enables granular IT asset management with its Custom Substates module. With it, you aren’t restricted to default asset states. You can create customized substates within the existing states to suit your organization’s unique workflows.

1. What are Custom Substates?

Custom Substate is a customized subdivision of a parent state that you can use to identify the exact status of your IT Assets and Asset Stock. It offers greater visibility into your operations and allows you to track relevant data points by mapping the unique language of your organizational processes onto our system.

Listed below are some key terms related to the Custom Substates module:

  • Parent state: This is the main state that an item belongs to. Custom Substates can be linked under a Parent state to represent the hierarchy of organizational workflow. Let’s say, a company can choose to have substates such as In transit, Returned to sender, or Delivery in progress for the Parent state ‘Available’.
  • Name: This is the title that you give to a Custom Substate.
  • Item type: This specifies the type of item that the substate will apply to e.g. IT Assets or Asset Stock.
  • Description: Detailed explanation of what the Substate is about.
  • Substate transitions: These are all the substate(s) that a substate can transition to. For instance, a Custom Substate can move from Available: In shipping to Available: In stock. AssetSonar also gives you the option to quickly add new substates if you haven’t created them already.
  • Substate actions: These are the list of actions that can be taken on a Custom Substate to move it from one substate to another.

2. Use cases in the ITAM industry

IT-intensive companies can make use of Custom Substates in the following ways:

Use cases in the ITAM industry

3. Custom Substates for IT Assets

3.1. Enabling the Add On

To enable the Custom Substates module in your AssetSonar account, go to Settings → Add Ons → Custom Substates and and contact the support team to enable ‘Advanced Custom Substates’ for you. 

Custom Substates for IT Assets

Select the ones relevant to your workflows and hit ‘Update’. Once you enable the advanced substates, you will be able to choose the transitions that staff users are allowed to perform as shown above. 

Note: If the Custom Substates Add On is not visible in your AssetSonar settings, please contact our team at support@ezo.io and they’ll update it for you.

3.2. Creating Custom Substates

Let’s begin with creating a Custom Substate now!

Navigate to More → Custom Substates from the dashboard.

Creating Custom Substates 01

This will direct you to the Custom Substates page where you can add and configure the substates of your choosing. To proceed, click on ‘Add Custom Substate’. (Note that there are two separate tabs for Asset and Asset Stock substates).

Creating Custom Substates 02

Now, specify the Parent state from the dropdown menu and name the substate. Let’s say, you want to create a substate titled Available: In shipping, you will nest it under the ‘Available’ Parent state and label it as ‘Available: In shipping’.

Creating Custom Substates 03

Next, add Substate Transitions. These are the substates your current Custom Substate can move to. For instance, if you want to implement the IT procurement workflow, you’d want the ‘Available: In shipping’ substate to move to the ‘Available: In stock’ substate.

To do so, click on the ‘Add new substate’ button as shown.

Creating Custom Substates

Enter details of the new Custom Substate you want the existing substate to transition to and hit ‘Create Substate’.

Creating Custom Substates

The transition data field is now populated with the new Custom Substate. To make the transition successful, you must specify which Action the user must take in order for the existing substate to transition to the new substate you just added. For instance, taking the Action ‘Received in stock’ will move the substate Available: In shipping to Available: In stock. You can keep on adding more transitions based on your workflow. Hit ‘Done’ once you’re finished.

Creating Custom Substates 07

Here’s how the Custom Substate ‘Available: In shipping’ looks once you’ve created it.

Creating Custom Substates 08

Note: You will not be able to transfer assets to the required substate without adding the substate transition.

You can add multiple substates for each Parent state. For example, the image below shows substates for Available and Checked Out states.

Creating Custom Substates 09

3.3. Editing Custom Substates

You can make changes to a substate by clicking on the ‘Edit’ button on the Substate Details page.

The following window will pop up and you can make the required changes. Here you can set up transition substates as well. The image shows

  • Parent State: Available
  • Substate: Available: In stock
  • Substate Transition: Available: For checkout to user

Click on ‘Update’ once done.

Creating Custom Substates 10

Note: You can edit the substate transition name to change its name if needed. Changing the name of the custom substate will not change the transition name.

3.4. Setting a default substate

AssetSonar gives you the option to set a default substate for each Parent state. This is the substate that an IT Asset will fall in once you move it to the Parent state. To do this, select a preferred substate from the Default column as illustrated.

Creating Custom Substates 11

With a default Available substate, every time you create a new IT Asset in the system, it will be registered as ‘Available: In shipping’. For instance, if you add the details of an HP Probook in AssetSonar when you place its procurement order, its default substate will be set to ‘Available: In shipping’.

Creating Custom Substates 12

3.5. Assigning Custom Substates to IT Assets

You can change the substate of all IT Assets as per your business requirements.

Let’s say you want to check out an asset. According to the substate feature, you can assign any substate created under the ‘Checked Out’ Parent State. Here we have an HP Probook that has a substate Checked out: Delivery ongoing. 

To check it out under a different substate go to More → Change Substate to → Mark as Delivered/Returned. 

assign custom substate to IT assets

Note the following:

  • The Substate Transition buttons that appear on the Asset Details page are the Substate Actions that you specified on the Create Custom Substate page.
  • Assets/Asset Stock that was added to AssetSonar before creating substates will not have a default substate unless you assign it to them from Substate Listings page by clicking on the button ‘Move Available Assets to In shipping’.
Creating Custom Substates 14

Alternatively, if you simply want to check out an IT Asset, you can do so by clicking the Checkout button on the Asset Details page. However, in this case, the IT Asset will be assigned the default substate specified for the Checked Out Parent state.

Creating Custom Substates 15
Creating Custom Substates 16

Allowed Custom Substates for IT Assets

You must follow a couple of rules for moving IT Assets between Parent states and Custom Substates.

Parent state (Dropdown):

You can choose any Parent state to create a Custom Substates except:

  • Retired (for Assets)
  • Maintenance and Audit Pending (for Asset Stock)

To change substate transition:

  • Substate transitions cannot happen across modules i.e. Asset substates cannot apply to Asset Stock and vice versa.

3.6. Viewing Substate history

AssetSonar keeps a history log of all substate transitions that happen in your account. You can view this history from More → State History on the Asset Details page.

Viewing Substate history AssetSonar 1

This will reveal the State history of the IT Asset as follows:

Viewing Substate history AssetSonar 3

3.7. Deactivating Custom Substates

You can also deactivate Custom Substates that don’t have any substate transitions associated with them by clicking on the ‘Deactivate’ button.

Deactivating Custom Substates AssetSonar

4. Custom Substates for Asset Stock

4.1. Creating Custom Substates

You can also create Custom Substates for Asset Stock items that are frequently checked out to different locations. Go to the Asset Stock tab on the Custom Substate page and click on ‘Add Custom Substate’.

Custom Substates for Asset Stock 1

For Asset Stock, you can select four different Parent states namely Available, Checked Out, Retired, and Verification Pending.

Custom Substates for Asset Stock 2

Configure the remaining details of the Custom Substate for Asset Stock and hit ‘Done’.

This is how substates for Asset Stock will look like:

Custom Substates for Asset Stock 3

4.2. Assigning default Custom Substates to Asset Stock

There are two ways to assign default Custom Substates to Asset Stock items in your AssetSonar account.

For Asset Stock added prior to Custom Substate configuration

If you already have Asset Stock items in your account prior to creating Custom Substates, you can assign substates to them by clicking on the ‘Move Available Asset Stock Quantity to In Transit’.

Assigning default Custom Substates to Asset Stock 3

Note: The system assigns the default Available substate to Asset Stock items.

Clicking on the button displays an overlay. Here, you can specify the location whose Asset Stock you want to move to the Available: In transit substate. The Asset Stock quantity gets updated based on the location you choose.

Assigning default Custom Substates to Asset Stock 3

If you do not select any location from the dropdown, AssetSonar updates the Asset Stock quantity to reflect all Available Asset Stock items, regardless of the location.

Note: Moving old Asset Stock to a Custom Substate is an irreversible action.

For Asset Stock added after Custom Substate configuration

Any newly added Asset Stock items will be assigned the default Available substate, Available: In transit in this case. You can add new Asset Stock items from More → Add Stock on the Asset Stock Details page. The new stock added will be automatically assigned the default substate under the Quantity by Locations tab. 

Assigning default Custom Substates to Asset Stock 4

You can also change Custom Substates of new Asset Stock items from More → Substate Transitions on the Asset Stock Details page.

Assigning default Custom Substates to Asset Stock 5

This will display an overlay asking you to select the Stock Quantity that you want to move to the custom substate.

This will redirect you to an overlay asking about the Quantity you want to transfer to the substate. To do this, select the location and click on ‘Line Item’. 

Once the substate transfer is successful, you will be able to see Quantity by Location in its respective substates. 

These transitions can be viewed from the Events tab.

Assigning default Custom Substates to Asset Stock 7

4.3. Adding Asset Stock to Carts

Asset Stock quantities in different substates can also be added to Cart(s). For this purpose, go to the Asset Stock Details page → More → Add to Cart.

An overlay will appear asking you to enter Location, Quantity, and State of the required Asset Stock.

Adding Asset Stock to carts 01

Once you select the relevant fields, Asset Stock will be transferred to a Cart.

Adding Asset Stock to carts 01

5. Custom Substates for Bundles and Packages

If you assign a Custom Substate to an IT Asset that is part of a Package, the remaining contents of that entire Package will be assigned that substate.

Let’s say, a Package labeled ‘Laptop and Accessories — HP Mini 110’ has an HP Mini 110 as one of its components. Since the Package is in the ‘Available: In shipping’ substate, its laptop is also in the same substate.

Custom Substates for Bundles and Packages AssetSonar 1
Custom Substates for Bundles and Packages AssetSonar 2

In the case of Bundles, individual items can exist in any substate regardless of the substate of their bundle. However, if a Bundle is checked out via Cart, the current state of the Cart will apply to all the items within the bundle.

6. Filter reports by Custom Substates

AssetSonar also gives you the ability to filter Asset and Asset Stock reports by Custom Substates. Go to Reports, pick an Asset or Asset Stock report of your choice, apply the Custom Substate filter as shown, and click ‘Update’ to get specific information.

Filter reports by Custom Substates AssetSonar  1

By following these simple steps, you are all set to create Custom Substates and utilize them to improve the visibility of your Assets and their respective states. 

Read more: [How-to] Configure Custom Roles in AssetSonar