IT Asset Management: What Is It & Does Your Company Need It?
Efficient IT asset management helps you keep track of your IT inventory and saves money by avoiding unnecessary expenditures.
IT assets are crucial to most firms' daily operations. As such, protecting your investment and optimizing your infrastructure should be your top priority.
Many companies have adopted specialized IT asset management programs to ensure that all their hardware and software is accounted for and properly utilized. If your business has yet to take this vital step, now is the time to do so!
Not only will a specialized program help optimize your device usage, but it can also help you save money in the long run by preventing unnecessary spending further down the line.
What Is IT Asset Management?
IT asset management, or ITAM, is a process that helps organizations keep track of their IT assets and ensure that they are being used in an optimal manner. ITAM aims to reduce costs and improve decision-making by providing insight into an organization's IT inventory.
IT assets can include anything from computers and mobile devices to software and software licenses. ITAM programs help organizations keep track of these assets throughout their lifecycle, from purchase to retirement. In addition to tracking, ITAM programs also provide tools for managing, auditing, and reporting on IT assets.
IT Asset Management Process
The formal asset management process typically includes three key components:
- IT asset identification
- IT asset tracking
- IT asset maintenance
We will go over all of these in greater detail below.
IT Asset Identification
IT asset identification is the first step in setting up an ITAM program. This process involves taking inventory of all of your organization's IT assets and assigning each one a unique identifier. The identifier can be anything, from a simple serial number to a more complex barcode or RFID tag. Once all of your assets have been identified, you can begin tracking them, but what exactly should you track?
Hardware Asset Management
The hardware usually encompasses PCs, Macs, and laptops, but it doesn’t end there. Anything that can connect to the internet (handhelds, portable and regular printers, network devices, etc.) and peripheral devices used to operate such devices should be considered IT hardware and have to be accounted for and tracked.
You'll want to track basic hardware information for your IT assets, such as the make, model, and serial number. This information can be used to order replacement parts or troubleshoot technical problems. In addition, tracking hardware assets can help you keep tabs on your organization's carbon footprint.
Software Asset Management
Software assets are also extremely important to track. In addition to the name and version of the software, you'll want to track things such as licensing information and expiration dates.
This will ensure that you're always using up-to-date software and that you have the right number of licenses for your business’s needs. Cloud-based assets, such as cloud storage, backups, or any other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, are also considered software assets.
IT Asset Tracking
Now that we have everything categorized, we move to the second step of setting up an ITAM program, which is IT asset tracking. This process involves keeping track of all your organization's IT assets and corresponding identifiers. There are many ways to track IT assets, but most organizations use some combination of manual and automated methods.
Manual methods typically involve using spreadsheets or other record-keeping systems to track asset information. Automated methods, on the other hand, use software to track and manage assets. IT asset tracking software automatically tracks asset location, usage, and ownership. This information can be used to generate reports that can then help you optimize your IT infrastructure.
IT Asset Maintenance
Asset maintenance is the third and final step in setting up an ITAM program. This process involves regularly inspecting and maintaining your assets to ensure they’re in good working condition. Asset maintenance can help you extend the lifespan of your assets and prevent costly repairs further down the road.
Regular asset maintenance also helps you keep track of your assets' deprecation. This information can be used to budget for future replacement costs and make informed decisions about when to retire assets. When assets reach the end of their lifecycle, they must be properly disposed of to avoid security risks and comply with environmental regulations.
Stages of an IT Asset Management Lifecycle
An IT asset typically goes through five stages during its lifecycle:
The first stage of the asset lifecycle is planning. It involves identifying the business needs that the asset will fulfill. This stage also includes budgeting for the acquisition and obtaining approval to purchase it.
The second stage, procurement, is when the asset's actual purchase occurs. This stage also includes receiving and unpacking the asset and installing any necessary software assets.
The third stage, deployment/integration, is when the asset is used. This stage includes configuring the asset to work with your organization's existing IT infrastructure and testing to ensure it meets all the requirements.
The fourth stage, maintenance/upgrade, is when regular asset inspections and maintenance occur. This stage also includes updating the assets’ software and troubleshooting any issues that might arise.
The fifth and final stage of the IT asset lifecycle is retirement/disposal, which is when the asset is no longer needed and is removed from use. This stage includes appropriately disposing of the asset to avoid security risks, as cybercriminals can exploit deprecated assets to gain illegal access or to blackmail a company.
The Benefits of IT Asset Management Software
While you can implement an ITAM program on paper or with an Excel spreadsheet, things start getting more complicated as the company grows. At the end of the day, Excel is not meant to be used as a database.
When you reach that point, you should look for asset management software that can automate many of the tasks associated with tracking and managing your organization's assets.
Just like photo organizer software allows you to access and sort your pictures from one location, IT asset management solutions allow you to do the same with your company's IT assets.
This type of software can help you save time and money by reducing the need for manual record keeping. In addition, asset inventory management can provide valuable insights into your organization's IT infrastructure. It can provide many benefits, including:
- Centralized asset tracking and management - ITAM software can help you keep track of all your organization's assets in one central location. This can make it easier to manage and monitor your assets and reduce the risk of losing track of anything important.
- Optimized asset use - ITAM solutions can help optimize your organization's assets. This helps save money by reducing the need for new purchases and by maximizing the utilization of existing assets.
- Centralized license management - ITAM software can also help you manage and track your organization's software licenses in one centralized location. This type of software can help you track license expiration dates, identify which licenses need to be renewed, and make it easier to keep track of license compliance and avoid potential fines or penalties.
- Improved decision-making - The data collected by the IT asset management system can help asset managers understand which assets are used the most and which are not utilized to their full potential. This information can help asset managers make better decisions about which assets need to be replaced or upgraded and which ones can be left as they are.
Factors To Consider When Choosing ITAM Software
The first thing you need to do is gain an understanding as to what your organization's needs are before you start looking for software. This will help you find a solution that fits your needs best. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an asset management tool:
- Cost - As always, it’s important to consider the cost of the software. There is a variety of software solutions available, and the cost can vary depending on the features and functionality you need. Make sure to consider the total cost of ownership when making your decision.
- Features and functionality - Another important factor to consider when choosing the best asset management software for your company's needs is the features and functionality you need. A wide variety of software solutions is available, and each program offers a different set of features. Make sure to consider your organization's needs when making your decision.
- Integration - Another important factor to consider is whether or not the digital asset management solution you're considering can be integrated with your organization's existing infrastructure. This is important because it can help you avoid data silos and improve the efficiency of your asset management processes.
- User-friendliness - When choosing an asset management IT solution, it’s important to consider how user-friendly the software is. If the software is easy to use, your employees will be able to utilize it properly with minimal training.
- Support - Another important factor to consider when choosing inventory asset management software is the level of support offered by the vendor. This is vital because you want to ensure that you can get help whenever you need it. Make sure to check out the vendor's customer service and support options before making your final decision.
The Difference Between IT Asset Management and IT Service Management
The main difference between IT asset management and IT service management is that IT asset management focuses on the lifecycle of assets, while IT service management focuses on the delivery of services.
As we’ve established, IT asset management includes acquiring, tracking, and maintaining information about an organization's assets. This information can include hardware, software, licenses, and other IT-related assets. An IT asset management service can help organizations keep track of their assets and optimize their utilization.
On the other hand, IT service management focuses on delivering services to customers. It includes the processes of designing, planning, delivering, and managing said services. As such, IT service management software can help organizations manage their service portfolios and improve service delivery.
While IT asset management and IT service management are two different things, they are often used together to provide a comprehensive solution for managing a business’s IT assets and services.
Does Your Company Need IT Asset Management Software?
If you want to improve your organization's asset management practices, then you may benefit from investing in IT asset management software. This type of software can automate many tasks associated with tracking and managing assets and provide valuable insights.
Before investing in ITAM software, however, it’s important to assess your organization's needs and determine if a particular program is a good fit for your business. To help you make this decision, here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have a centralized system for tracking and managing your organization's assets?
- Are you manually tracking and managing your assets?
- Are you struggling to keep track of your organization's assets?
- Do you want to improve your asset management practices?
- Do you want to save time and money by automating your asset management processes?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, an IT asset management solution might be a good fit for your organization. Investing in this type of software asset tracking can help you save time and money, as well as improve your asset management practices.
An IT asset manager is responsible for ensuring that an organization's IT asset records are properly managed and utilized. This involves various tasks, such as keeping track of what assets are in the system, ensuring that they’re up-to-date and compliant with company policy, and coordinating their use across the organization.
The three main deliverables of ITAM are to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and mitigate risks. By keeping track of what assets an organization has and making sure that they’re properly maintained, ITAM can reduce costs by avoiding unnecessary purchases or replacements.
Additionally, it can help improve efficiency by ensuring assets are used in line with company policy and procedures. Finally, it can help mitigate risks by providing visibility into potential vulnerabilities in the system and helping resolve them before they cause any major problems.
In the simplest of terms, IT asset management is all about keeping track of what your organization has in its IT infrastructure and ensuring that these valuable assets are properly maintained and used in line with company policy.
This can include anything from hardware and software to cloud services and mobile devices. If you’re still looking for an answer to the question: “What is IT asset management?” then we recommend reading our article: "IT Asset Management: What Is It & Does Your Company Need It?"
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