2022 is a year of evolution for the technology sector. According to Forbes, 97% of executives have found it difficult to keep up with the rapid digital innovation brought forth due to the pandemic and its after-effects.
With an increased demand for remote working environments, serious cybersecurity threats, and accelerated digital transformation efforts by companies, IT teams must be ready for all the potential challenges that come their way.
Here are some key challenges IT teams and executives must be prepared for:
Key IT asset management challenges faced by companies today
1. Hybrid workforces
There has been a steady shift in the way organizations work post-pandemic. While some corporations have gone fully remote, some have employed a hybrid model of remote and on-premise work that offers their employees the choice to come to the office on some days and work from home the remaining days. While this creates flexibility for the workers, it is increasingly complicated for IT teams to manage.
Due to their dynamic nature, hybrid workforces cannot be accurately managed without real-time tracking. IT devices — whether employee laptops, smartphones, or accessories like headphones and Wi-Fi devices continuously move between office and home-based networks.
Without tracking the ever-changing IPs of IT assets in real-time, IT admins cannot determine their precise location, custody, and maintenance status. Such low visibility also impacts the service delivery and disposal processes for not only hybrid but fully remote or fully on-premise workers.
“It’s a really complicated optimization problem trying to align supply and demand.”
– says Juliana Beauvais, research manager for enterprise asset management and smart facilities at IDC.
2. Need for sustainable IT
The increased consumption of hardware and electronic resources is not aligned with proper disposal methods. According to some sources, n the US alone, up to 80–85% of used gadgets can end up in landfills where toxic substances like mercury, beryllium, and flame retardants contaminate groundwater.
Furthermore, if organizations do not employ lean supply chain practices, they overestimate the company’s demand for IT assets and purchase more than necessary.
This leads to idle tech sitting in the warehouses which not only requires extra managerial effort but also consumes more energy and financial resources.
3. Cybersecurity concerns
As hybrid working opportunities grow, 61% of CIOs express their concerns about increased instances of data breaches targeting unprotected remote employees.
Cybercriminals continue to explore security loopholes in the cyber defense of businesses and exploit rogue networks or IT devices.
4. Lack of skilled IT professionals
According to a report titled The Impact of Technology in 2022 and Beyond, 73% of respondents predicted that recruiting skilled tech professionals to fill their IT teams will be a major issue.
This can be corroborated by a Gartner study where 64% of CIOs cited that talent shortages are a key barrier to digital transformation in 2022.
Moreover, not adequately training current IT professionals exacerbates this problem. IT teams are still uneducated about the use of 5G, machine learning, automation, etc.
Many are further unaware of how to optimize their IT asset management processes to accommodate these trends. This poses a strategic bottleneck for businesses wanting to invest in digital innovation.
4 tips to efficiently manage IT asset management challenges
Below, we list some effective ways you can combat these technology challenges and emerge as a successful IT leader.
1. Accommodate ITAM for hybrid workforce
A pragmatic approach toward managing a hybrid workforce is to segment your workforce into three categories namely fully on-site, hybrid, and fully remote. Then, create separate IT asset management, maintenance, and disposal policies for these categories.
Let’s look at the hybrid workforce in this example!
For asset management
While checking out IT devices for hybrid workers, you can log in details using custom fields for the days that a certain employee logs in from the office and the days they work from home. If you have an auto-discovery tool in place, you can schedule syncs per day to update the IP address an employee is logged in from and track the location of assigned assets accordingly.
Using a dedicated IT service management tool helps in this regard. Set up detailed service catalogs and self-service portals for employees to log in repair requests when they are working from home. For days that the employees are working from the office, they can simply walk up to the IT department for a thorough inspection of their devices.
For return purposes, you can either require your employees to drop off the assigned IT assets at the office premises or courier the assets via a trusted service.
To determine whether returned assets need to be disposed of, look at their utilization rate, any wear and tear, or remaining useful life. If returned assets have reached or exceeded their useful lives, you can dispose of them (methods detailed in the section below).
If the assets are slightly damaged and haven’t reached the end of their useful lives, you can repair and repurpose them for new employees. If your employees are unable to return the assets, you can also deduct the salvage value from their final pay.
2. Incorporate sustainability in your processes
Businesses must make efforts to reduce e-waste, make procurement more sustainable and implement strict policies on responsible IT asset disposal.
Here are the 3Rs you can use to incorporate sustainability into your IT asset management processes:
- Repair: Before purchasing a replacement for a damaged device, determine if it can be efficiently repaired. Regularly add upgrades to your hardware to extend their lifespans and produce less e-waste.
- Resell: If the IT needs of your organization change and some devices become obsolete to your use case, consider reselling them through websites such as eBay. These items can then be reused by someone else or their parts are recycled. Pro tip! Make sure to delete all your personal information from your devices before reselling them.
- Recycle: If your IT assets cannot be further used or resold, you can recycle them responsibly. Typically, places like Staples, Best Buy, and Goodwill accept hardware waste for recycling. Furthermore, make sure you know the e-waste laws in your state and dispose of the assets accordingly. Before you recycle, remove any batteries as they need to be recycled separately. Also, seal any broken parts into leak-proof bags so the hazardous materials don’t leak.
3. Plan for robust security measures
As cybercriminals find innovative ways to sneak into organizational systems, you must prepare for a robust cyber-defense that is difficult to invade. You can strengthen your IT infrastructure in the following ways.
4. Train your IT professionals
Being able to recruit skilled IT professionals can be hard if there’s a supply issue. It requires a lot of effort and you might just be blindly rummaging about it. However, the low-hanging fruit is to train your current IT team.
You can sign up your tech staff for popular IT certifications. It not only prepares your team for the latest trends in the tech sector but also establishes your credibility and marketability as a recruiter that stays current with the market.
Courses in these fields can prove immensely helpful to your IT teams:
- Big data: As the sheer volume of organizational data continues to increase, this skill to refine, process, and analyze massive amounts of data is highly in demand.
- Cloud computing: With the need for agile systems, cloud computing grows in popularity. It enables people to work on the same applications from different systems and ensures periodic data backups to the cloud.
- Business intelligence: With your IT professionals trained in Business Intelligence (BI), you can maximize returns by getting key insights from IT asset data.
- Software use and development: In case there’s a need to integrate with third-party applications, your IT team should have adequate API or coding knowledge to build integrations between different software tools or troubleshoot issues as they occur.
- Ethical hacking: An efficient way to secure your organizational network is to train security specialists within your organization to test the gaps in your cyber defense and devise ways to fill those gaps.
AssetSonar: Your one-stop solution for mitigating IT asset management challenges
AssetSonar is a powerful yet simple IT asset management tool that can solve your key IT asset management challenges.
- It comes equipped with a Network Discovery tool and ITAM Agent that can discover and catalog devices i.e. laptops, smartphones, and network assets running on your organization’s network and off-premise respectively. Scheduled syncs enable IP address updates so you can track the location of your devices as they move. Get enhanced visibility into the location, custody, and status of your organizational IT landscape and take requisite actions on it.
- Monitor asset usage and streamline your procurement planning using a just-in-time approach. Track depreciation of purchased IT assets and run reports to identify assets nearing the end of their useful lives so you can retire them. If an employee leaves the organization and their assigned assets have significant salvage value, you can repurpose these assets and assign them to upcoming employees.
- The nifty security capabilities enable you to identify the disk encryption, firewall, and antimalware status of your organizational devices so you can fill any security gaps as you discover them. Enforce personalized access control and arbitration with custom roles.
- AssetSonar has a dedicated Solutions team that offers support 24/7. Schedule demos with the representatives, discuss your unique use cases and build customizable reports and dashboards to track relevant ITAM metrics.