IT asset management — What is it?
ITAM is the management of all IT assets owned by a business. These assets consist of all the hardware and software systems used in a business environment. ITAM encompasses its procurement, installation, strategic use, and ultimately, disposal.
Remember the time when the use of spreadsheets for asset management was all the hype? A few decades back, many large corporations used spreadsheet databases and now outdated manual tactics for recording their IT assets. However, such data entry methods paved more paths for human typographical error and duplicate workflows.
To sidestep these issues, many businesses now adopt a cloud-based IT asset management system. They not only automate the data entry process but offer a secure database in the online cloud to record asset details. Furthermore, automatic data entry via label scanning eliminates duplicate workflows. This translates into improved productivity levels.
A rule of thumb for thorough IT asset management is to monitor all assets whether they are currently in use or not. This helps regulate IT costs and allows companies to make the best use of all available assets.
ITAM solutions also help you maintain optimal inventory levels. This prevents you from overstocking and helps redeploy or dispose of unused assets.
What roadblocks does ITAM set out to contend with?
A well-grounded ITAM strategy includes devising solutions to common IT challenges that businesses face. Here are a couple of roadblocks that businesses hit while dealing with hardware and software applications.
- Costly and complex workflows: Most businesses have complicated workflows that translate into buying complex, high-ticket IT solutions. Simplifying daily operations can help pull down these costs.
- Lack of performance monitoring: Oftentimes, even the best of IT assets fail to produce desired results. Poor performance gets overlooked if you aren’t tracking asset-related operations. Thus, it is important to perform regular checks and monitor your IT asset utilization.
- Inefficient data collection: Without proper asset data, businesses miss out on critical usage insights. A cloud-based IT asset management system helps clock in relevant asset information so you can always make the right decisions.
- Unreliable security: Information security is a major concern when it comes to using hardware and software assets. There is always a risk of malware or data breaches. A reliable ITAM solution can encrypt all your sensitive business information.
- Risk of fines for non-licensing: Getting software licenses and timely upgrades are necessary to avoid penalties. Many businesses fail to get license renewals because they are unable to monitor the life cycles of their software assets.
Benefits of using an IT asset management system
Developing a solid ITAM strategy is key to resolving the issues mentioned earlier. Setting measurable targets also makes it easier to monitor the performance of your IT assets.
Apart from this, investing in an IT asset management system is your best bet. It comes saddled with various features to optimize the use of your IT assets. Additionally, you can pick ITAM for Mac or Windows, whichever best suits your requirements.
Here’s how an ITAM program streamlines your operations and helps boost the productivity of your business.
1. It allows you to track hardware assets across locations
Many companies misplace their hardware each year owing to poor asset-tracking practices. For this reason, most IT asset management systems allow you to clock in asset details via barcode labels. The labels may include information like manufacturer details, asset IDs, and purchase dates. These details make it easier to retrieve the assets whenever you need them.
Items can be checked into a certain location via barcode scanning. This eases location tracking of hardware as it moves within your organization. It also allows you to monitor your devices when they are dispatched for off-site projects. Complete control over hardware prevents any worker misuse or tampering with equipment.
Recording user logins lets you trace back culprits in case a hardware piece goes missing or is damaged. Streamlined location tracking of hardware assets prevents loss through theft or misplacement.
2. It enables lifecycle management for seamless usage
Both hardware and software assets need monitoring throughout their useful lives. It allows you to assess the operational capacity of your assets and make the best use of them. With an automated ITAM program, your devices are checked into the database as soon as you purchase them.
The system automatically calculates asset depreciation over their useful lives. It also updates the status of faulty equipment so you know when to schedule repair sessions. Furthermore, you receive alerts when items reach maturity and should be disposed of.
Tracking the useful life and capacity of assets is extremely crucial as worn-out devices can result in the loss of important business data.
In the case of software solutions, you can track their warranty cycles and apply for upgrades before the software expires. With adequate life cycle management, run seamless daily tasks without any technical bumps.
3. It helps facilitate timely procurement activities
A very big chunk of sound asset management has to do with maintaining balanced inventory levels. First, you need to understand the type and quantity of assets that your business needs. Some tools need to be purchased in bulk whereas others are needed only in slim handfuls.
This distinction helps in setting out your budget requirements. With support for both platforms, ITAM for Mac and Windows determines your asset needs and automates your procurement activities.
Here are a couple of things you need to take note of when designing your procurement strategy.
- Decide what needs to be purchased
- Choose your vendors carefully
- Designate roles and responsibilities for procurement staff
- Settle contract agreements with your vendors
Once you are done with this, specify a minimum threshold for each IT asset. Whenever your inventory levels reach this threshold, the ITAM solution automatically generates purchasing orders. It also alerts your vendors when your hardware assets need to be restocked.
This way, you can avoid over and under-stocking. It saves your financial resources from being tied up in unnecessary assets. You can pre-plan your procurement needs and activities and never run out of inventory either.
4. It provides user access control to ensure data security
The most important part of a successful ITAM routine is to have a robust information security plan. To counter data breaches that happen through IT assets, many businesses use password-encrypted logins. IT asset management system allows you to separate access to data by individuals or teams.
Let’s say, a not-for-profit organization does not want all team members to view data regarding funds and donations. They use an ITAM solution so only the senior management gets access to hardware assets that host financial information.
You can also filter out users by limiting their visibility to the information stored in certain devices or software. Access to data can be limited by groups (departments) or locations.
For instance, IT assets designated for use in the Brooklyn Office cannot be viewed or checked out by the staff in the Bronx Office. Control over user access not only protects your data from unauthorized users but also enhances the transparency of asset custody.
5. It helps you organize audits for license renewals
Software solutions used by businesses should be regularly checked for upgrades and license renewals.
Keeping tabs on license requirements manually can be tiresome. You run the risk of losing track of important dates! When it comes to the IT industry, warranty laws need strict adherence by businesses to avoid heavy fines.
For this reason, companies carry out frequent checks to see which software solutions are nearing their license expiry. Consequently, this cuts down unnecessary repair costs too, and helps avoid license true-up payments.
Let’s say, you recently purchased a laptop and it stopped working before the warranty expired. You can file a claim to the manufacturer for its repair and transfer your service costs to him. ITAM for Mac and Windows schedules software audits so you can arrange for warranty renewals in time.
A dedicated IT asset management system gives you laser-focused IT asset optimization
Investing in an IT asset management system has a direct positive impact on your business operations. Note that automated data collection is known to result in more informed decision-making. Furthermore, ITAM programs are scalable so when your business starts to grow, you won’t need to switch support systems.
Cloud-based IT asset management systems can automatically scale up based on your business needs. This simply adds convenience to one of the many supercharged benefits a dedicated ITAM solution offers. With an IT asset management system at your side, gain laser-focused IT asset optimization.