Asset Intelligence and Management

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8 Best Reasons to Update Your Hardware Inventory Management


The number of hardware assets employed by a business is usually directly proportional to the size of the organization. As such, as your business grows, so does the potential for downtime caused by hardware failure, theft, or device loss. Major events can occur in the form of downtime events, security breaches, or inefficiency. This is why IT hardware inventory management is a key component of IT Asset Management (ITAM).

What is hardware inventory management?

IT hardware inventory management is a strategy to monitor the utilization of hardware inventory items like laptops and printers from the time of procurement to disposal. Despite being critical to an organization’s operations, few companies have defined processes to ensure that their inventory is being utilized optimally.

Although hardware assets are major IT investments, most companies don’t have defined processes in place to accurately track these critical assets. When combined with outdated practices like using spreadsheets to track inventory, they end up using outdated data to gain insights about their hardware use.

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To account for transferred custody, location change and other such events, it’s crucial to use real-time data to gauge the current state of your assets. Automated tools help companies do this by maintaining an updated data log at all times.

But with so many options out there, procurement decisions should be made consciously. A robust and dependable IT asset management system would feature:

  1. An IT asset repository
  2. Hardware inventory and usage information
  3. Integration with adjacent IT business platforms
  4. Support for importing and exporting data

Keeping regular tabs on the IT hardware inventory information lets you gain useful insights into business operations. Accurate data enables companies to easily comprehend what types of systems and equipment exist and where the relevant components are located. This is particularly important to pinpoint causes of performance breakdowns or ways to improve customer service.

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Organizations can also note down the exact date when new stock is added to the inventory. Doing so helps document the asset lifecycle and allows the regulation of maintenance costs whenever necessary.

Businesses are recognizing the critical importance of hardware asset management and are investing accordingly. In 2024, the market size for hardware asset management solutions reached a valuation of $30,193.02 million.

8 reasons you should implement an IT hardware inventory management program

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Support and automation are essential to an asset management program’s success.

Organizations that rely on a complete management routine tailored for their own company, have higher chances of boosting overall performance. With thorough insights into hardware utilization, expect the following benefits:

1. Improved visibility

By following an end-to-end user control system, you can easily keep tabs on all deployed assets. You can cross-check whether a specific tool is being used for its assigned job. This process is much more efficient using a computer inventory management software, in comparison to older methods like using spreadsheets.

2. Control on costs

Investing in IT devices is costly which is why it is critical to monitor utilization to minimize wastage and regulate their finances. Utilizing computer hardware management to maintain an overview of the condition of each hardware asset and the maintenance costs associated with it enables an organization to make better decisions when investing in hardware assets.

3. Better service management

Instant updates keep all team members informed about the current status of IT assets. A central platform where employees can post queries and checkout items along with location pins provides a fundamental base for efficient transactions.

4. Lower security and compliance risks

With the right procedures in place, companies can gain regulatory and contractual compliance. Following standardized practices allows you to run business operations with greater accuracy and keeps you safe from hefty non-compliance fines.

5. Location-based asset tracking

The right computer management inventory software allows businesses to monitor assets across locations. This is especially important for organizations that have multiple offices or work-from-home arrangements. Location-based asset tracking gives businesses a degree of control over their hardware and a better understanding of how they are being utilized. This creates better conditions to focus on core issues and reduces the likelihood of theft, improper use of hardware assets and violations of compliance or security protocols.

6. Identification and elimination of ghost assets

Ghost assets are pieces of equipment that are lost, stolen or unusable but continue to be seen as usable in an inventory register. This can lead to losses for a business due to overpayment of taxes, higher insurance premiums and inability to accurately forecast capital expenditure. Proper device inventory management comes with a centralized asset register that identifies assets that aren’t in working order or have been misplaced. A well-rounded ITAM software will also include custody verification and asset transfer reports which makes it less likely for records to show ghost assets.

7. Easy asset-use reporting

Reporting is a highly beneficial practice when it comes to IT hardware inventory management as it allows businesses to keep track of how often an asset is used, what it’s used for and how often it needs maintenance over a period of time. Reports help businesses optimize their equipment performance.

8.More data can be recorded

Utilizing device inventory management allows businesses to more easily record data related to the hardware that has been recorded. This includes make and model, usual location, serial number, insurance information, date and time of purchase, value at time of purchase, current value, maintenance logs, current and past users, and other details related to the device.

Which business sectors need hardware asset management and how?

Various types of industries in the market require specific tools to carry out business operations. Companies invest in asset bundles according to the tastes and preferences of end consumers. To ensure user satisfaction, it is important to outline a robust tracking strategy.

Such a practice enables organizations to adopt a proactive approach to discharging daily functions to avoid unnecessary delays. Some of the common institutions and their hardware choices include:

K-12 schools

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It is a constant challenge for educational institutes to buy hardware on a tight budget. For this reason, most schools have to be very careful about each and every purchase. This is why durability, reliability, and compatibility, all become key when buying hardware.

Modern teaching is also incorporating more and more technology into the learning process. This is why hardware with touch screens, inking, real-time whiteboarding, and video conferencing support is becoming more popular in schools. That’s not all; innovative technology like digital pens and 3D printers is also on the rise.

Hardware that has been procured so carefully and responsibly needs to be looked after. School-owned laptops and tablets are frequently used which is why they should be carefully monitored — both during and after usage.

This is all the more important in the K-12 schooling system, which depends on every student being assigned their own computer. K-12 schools need to be able to deploy large numbers of devices, provide admin access to teachers, manage shared devices, filter web content, regulate app use, and have the appropriate security settings.

IT industry

The IT sector depends on the management of complex hardware systems to ensure smooth functioning of business operations, even more so than other organizations. These include servers, networking equipment, data storage systems, workstations, virtualization infrastructure, security devices, backup and disaster recovery systems as well as mobile devices, desktop computers and relevant peripherals.

The dependency on these systems means IT companies have to be vigilant about the state of their hardware inventory, particularly on how it relates to security and compliance needs and protocols, restoring operations after an unexpected downtime event, and troubleshooting needs. Like with other businesses, IT companies can also make good use of the lifecycle management and asset tracking benefits of hardware inventory management.

Healthtech industry

Healthtech leverages software, hardware and data analytics to improve the delivery of health services and ensure better patient outcomes and lower costs. Hardware inventory management is critical here, as healthcare providers depend on networked medical devices to rapidly share critical patient information to make life and death decisions. Using hardware asset management as part of an overall ITAM strategy enables hospitals and clinics to schedule timely maintenance and support to ensure hardware assets are functioning optimally for better patient safety and care. Healthtech companies also handle sensitive patient data, which can be better safeguarded against cyberattacks by making sure every device has the proper security and encryption protocols. With so many hardware components being used in crucial areas, there’s a need for a rock-solid management system to streamline hardware-related workflows.

Principle features of an IT hardware inventory management program

Maintaining a balance between stock quantities poses a challenge for many organizations. For IT hardware assets, companies have to ensure that every device is in working condition at all times. Even if some of the computers are checked out for maintenance, businesses should have sufficient buffer stock to avoid any delays in the workflow.

The best solution is to opt for a cloud-based system that automates the procurement process. By assigning a unique barcode to all tools, you can enter all equipment into the database. After this, you can set minimum threshold levels for all items in stock. Once this limit is reached, purchase orders are automatically created.

Such software also lets you create a list of vendors. These practices allow you to trace back procurement chains and refer to the same vendor in case of a reorder. You can also filter out manufacturers in the case of damaged goods or poor after-sales services.

Stages of the asset lifecycle

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Capital assets have a tendency to depreciate over time. This pattern isn’t uniform for all resources and therefore, needs to be monitored very closely for different types of equipment. If you plan out what assets you need and for what purpose, you will be better able to assess the practical sufficiency of a particular investment.

After laying down the basic procurement list, organizations acquire the necessary IT equipment. From this moment onwards, it becomes essential to record usage history to account for depreciation. Let’s take the example of a printer.

Whenever companies decide to buy a printer, the first thing they consider is the duty cycle. This metric is provided by the manufacturer and refers to the absolute number of pages that can be printed in a month.

Say, for an inkjet printer, the duty cycle is 8000 pages per month. If this limit is reached within a month, the company will check the device for maintenance or upgrade the cartridge. Once the printer finally runs the course of its useful life, it is disposed of.

In order to do all this in a timely manner, it is crucial to track different stages of IT assets. Failure to do so may result in unwanted breakdowns, errors in business functions, and increased overhead costs.

Hardware user access

Business data security is a top priority and organizations should work towards implementing strict protocols to ensure user compliance. Having multiple hardware devices with no inspection of access increases the threat of malware and data breaches. This could ultimately result in data loss.

To avoid such mishaps, organizations adopt management software to limit user control. You can define roles for all team members and limit visibility on the basis of location, groups, or departments. If a company has sensitive data that can only be shared with a specific set of personnel, it can specify which members can log in to gain full access.

For quick checkout of hardware assets, firms can enable user ID scans. This lets employees show proof of authentication when taking out items for use. More security options let you set passwords and ask for administration approval for certain actions. Actively tracking users at all times enables organizations to improve transparency and credibility.

Maintenance schedules

With a large IT resource base, the ultimate goal is to maximize efficient allocation. One way to do this is by ensuring that all assets are working at full capacity without untimely breakdowns. But how can companies do this without a maintenance plan in place?

Asset management software allows companies to prepare extensive service and repair sessions. By checking in equipment as soon as it is procured, firms can generate service tickets to flag urgent issues. Moreover, you can also schedule recurring sessions for periodic service and regular inspections.

To notify team members about the unavailability of certain laptops and projectors, you can also send out alerts. Tracking service history allows you to keep a tab on costs and minimize expenditures to increase productivity.

Following a rigid maintenance schedule allows organizations to:

  1. Improve conservation of assets which leads to higher life expectancy.
  2. Establish preventive maintenance that eliminates the need for large-scale repairs in emergency events.
  3. Enforce better safety and working conditions for employees.

License and warranties

IT manufacturers have specific guidelines that define how certain assets should be used. These are usually labeled as a license and issued at the time of procurement. Having a valid license for IT hardware makes it eligible for upgrades while product warranties lay down a time period during which the vendor takes responsibility for repairs in case of damage.

Both licenses and warranties are crucial for the optimal utilization of hardware assets. Therefore, using management software makes it easier to enter and store such information on a single platform. Carrying out internal audits also lets you survey and inspect which items need maintenance and which service event falls under the warranty period.

Consequently, tracking licenses and warranties enable companies to boost efficiency by reducing overhead costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the hardware inventory list?

A hardware inventory list is a repository of all hardware assets being used by an organization, being shown with data regarding individual assets such as date of purchase, past users and maintenance logs. Hardware assets being shown in the inventory would include printers, PCs, processors, monitors, routers and other hardware equipment being used in an office.

What is an IT hardware inventory system?

An IT hardware inventory management system is a software that provides a business and its employees with an overview of the state of hardware assets in their corporate network.

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