According to a report by Workflow, 43% of the enterprises still track their IT assets in spreadsheets while 56% don’t manage their IT assets lifecycle at all. This is problematic because IT investments are expensive and maintaining a healthy IT environment is critical for business success.
The mismanagement and lack of a proper system can result in hefty unnecessary costs, siloed IT operations and a lot of stress. Companies need to find smarter solutions to reduce these overhead costs while utilizing their IT assets to their full value and simultaneously innovating for the future.
For most companies, it can start with investing in an IT asset lifecycle management tool that helps streamline operations and optimizes the software and hardware asset lifecycle process. Optimizing this process is one of the key ways for organizations to improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary spend.
What is IT asset lifecycle management?
Trends like ever changing hardware regulations, stricter license compliance standards and more complex IT infrastructures are having a major impact on IT asset lifecycle management.
Companies are expected to have long-term plans for the lifecycle and utilization of their hardware and software assets and a strategy that keeps operations up and running at all times.
Keeping up with the delivery, maintenance, support and recycling of all the IT assets is categorized as IT asset lifecycle management. There is a certain amount of information that comes with each asset that can be used to make decisions about that asset. For example, in case of a software asset, this information can be its licensing regulations, expiry, renewal etc.
On the other hand, hardware assets come with information regarding their procurement, their lifespan, usage and more. Collecting this required asset data and turning it into useful information is tedious and highly prone to errors without an IT asset tracking software.
Stages of an IT asset lifecycle
IT asset lifecycle includes the conceptual planning phase through the regular usage to the eventual retirement or renewal and replacement of an asset. Successful implementation of an asset lifecycle management tool is crucial for getting the most out of an asset.
An ITAM solution helps you break down the various stages in the life of a software or hardware asset. It enables your organization to analyze how your assets are being used, highlight the opportunities for cost and efficiency savings and when and how to replace the assets when the need arises.
Following is a detailed breakdown of what each step looks like and how ITAM can help you streamline your IT asset lifecycle management:
A well-defined IT lifecycle process should start from the scratch. The strategic phase is where you outline the business goals of the company, review the current state and decide how the IT investments that you are planning on making will help you achieve those goals over the next few years.
This step is all about deciding upon the right fleet of software and hardware assets that can contribute positively towards streamlined operations and business success on the whole.
The verification of the asset requirements depends upon a number of factors. You have to keep in consideration the existing assets and their potential to meet the service delivery needs.
A good planning strategy means that before procuring for the new assets, you assess the sufficiency of the existing assets and make sure that the existing assets are not being under-utilized.
Ideally, if you have a robust ITAM software in place, then you can automate your IT asset purchasing to a great extent and receive products from vendors that are already in your system. This helps you streamline purchasing and enforce IT governance policies.
However, if you have just implemented an ITAM solution, then you will have to look into the assets in the market with the aim of ensuring cost effective acquisition all the while making sure that the asset is fit to use as per your business needs.
When such requirements are met, the ITAM solution can automatically send invoice to the vendors in case of a new hardware acquisition or software license renewal to meet service delivery and other organizational objectives.
3. Configuration and Deployment
This stage majorly concerns the procurement and configuration of hardware assets. Once you have acquired the assets, the next step is to meet specific endpoint needs with the help of an IT team.
The information regarding the configuration and deployment of every asset goes into the ITAM software for future reference. All the information regarding IT storage, asset tagging, kitting, staging and installations is uploaded in the ITAM solution so the entire lifecycle of the asset can be captured on a single platform.
Once the assets are put into operations, you will be able to track their activity in the real-time through your ITAM software.
4. Servicing and Maintenance
Once you have installed the software and hardware assets in place, they will inevitably need support. The hardware assets in particular will need servicing and maintenance.
With an ITAM solution in place, you can schedule maintenance, manage warranties, swap devices and provide support for endpoint functionality.
An ITAM tool tracks the health and status of an asset in real-time which also facilities preventive maintenance and allows you to get ahead of and plan the asset downtime before they occur.
5. Retirement and Replacement
When an asset completes its lifespan, it either starts underperforming or breaks down completely. Same is the case with software assets. Their licenses expire and either they are treated as surplus or need renewal of licenses.
After these assets are retired, they should be moved out of rotation and their status should be updated on the ITAM software. With an ITAM tool in place, you can easily place orders for the acquisition and replacement of the retired assets so the operations are not hindered in any way.
Benefits of IT Asset Lifecycle Management
IT asset lifecycle management is a never-ending process. However, if its foundation is well-maintained and is managed on a reliable ITAM software, then it can be considered a key ingredient in business success and optimal access management.
Following are a few benefits of IT asset lifecycle management:
- You will no longer have to spend a hefty amount of money on asset breakdown and unplanned downtime. With an ITAM solution in place, every stage of your IT assets will be monitored and you will get alerts before the problem arises. This way, you will know which assets are underperforming, which ones need servicing and you will have enough time to come up with an action plan.
- From tracing the location of a particular asset to know about the name, manufacturer, license information and all similar information will be available on a single platform. This way, when an asset retires, your system will have all the vendor information to automatically place an order for a new one.
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