Table of contents
- A Brief Overview of IT Asset Management
- Types of IT Asset Management
- IT Asset Management Best Practices
A Brief Overview of IT Asset Management
IT asset management is commonly classified as a subset of IT service management (ITSM). The objective of IT asset management software is, in straightforward terms, to reduce financial and legal risks. ITAM is a cradle-to-grave process for technological assets.
When a business entrusts an ITAM tool with asset management, the tool compiles legal, financial, and inventory evidence at the traditional or hybrid data centers to ensure that the technology assets perform optimally.
The comprehensive IT asset tracking and IT asset discovery functions within the ITAM tools have piqued the interest of IT teams in about 70% of organizations surveyed recently. Primarily, the reason for such an impetus being afforded to ITAM is its versatile nature.
What ITAM comprises of:
In addition, it is an important tool for businesses as it focuses on both hardware and software management like:
- Warranty/support coverage
- Installed software
- License keys/entitlements
- Usage (metering)
- Total cost of ownership
- Supporting applications
More often than not, enterprises operate with a limited understanding of ITAM and restrict it only to IT discovery or only inventory management. However, its scope goes much farther than that.
One of the primary operations under ITAM is capturing asset data. This data populates the CMDB the enterprise is using. Further, it analyzes the data and turns it into business insight to optimize everything between time, resources, costs, efficiency, and waste.
Read IT Asset Inventory Management — Know the Data You Have to understand how data can help you make better decisions.
Before delving into the best practices for IT asset management, let’s take a look at what ITAM construes.
Types of IT Asset Management
In the ITAM process, IT discovery and CMDB plays such a crucial role that with a rudimentary understanding, ITAM has been equated to IT discovery. IT discovery is the first step in the ITAM lifecycle. The various asset scan features can create a map of all the assets an organization should be monitoring. As it moves ahead, ITAM also scans the assets outside your home network. This discovery could be agent-based or agentless, differentiated based on the kind of agents used in the discovery.
ITAM functions with other ITIL processes to track asset lifecycles, manage licenses, facilitate audits, etc. To utilize all functions of an IT asset management system effectively, we must specify its objectives.
Consequently, it helps us:
- Evaluate the IT hardware and software.
- Optimize asset usage and minimize wastage and maintenance costs.
- Identify missing, dysfunctional components intimating the IT teams to replace and repair.
- Plan future steps regarding the upkeep, replacements, asset performance, etc.
In achieving these objectives, ITAM considers:
Software Asset Management
Software assets need constant review and monitoring. ITAM process ensures flexibility and considers the following aspects of software assets:
- License management
- Shadow IT
Hardware Asset Management
There are hardware components in an IT ecosystem that are used for data management. These components could be PCs, monitors, printers, copiers, end-point devices, mobile devices, servers, etc.
Cloud Asset Management
Cloud asset management includes support for cloud assets from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc. It tracks the resources, cost, compliance, and usage of IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS models.
Digital Asset Management
ITAM tools for digital asset management are specific to organizations dealing with digital content. With respect to digital assets, businesses must closely track licensing, formats, and metadata, among other attributes.
Fixed Asset Management
Curiously, fixed assets often fly under the radar when it comes to using ITAM solutions. A completely and thoroughly utilized ITAM solution will incorporate fixed assets like server room AC units, networking cabinets, desks, etc.
Now that we know what ITAM comprises of, it is imperative that we follow the best practices for using an IT asset management platform.
IT Asset Management Best Practices
IT asset discovery populates the CMDB or the inventory with IT assets. The process helps with cost-reduction, usage optimization, and better decision-making in the company.
Without further ado, here are some IT asset management best practices:
Form an ITAM team
It is essential to have an ITAM team at all levels, including the IT, senior management, and process. Subsequently, this team is responsible for successfully implementing the ITAM software, carrying out day-to-day ITAM operations, and training the employees.
Pick a starting point and have a roadmap
The ITAM team needs to have a clear roadmap on using the software. These steps may be helpful –
- Hardware and software acquisition – Setup the approval process and get all the relevant employees onboard the ITAM software.
- Track IT assets – Integrate and monitor all the IT assets in the software.
- Asset use – Setup monthly or bi-monthly process to analyze the asset usage within the ITAM software.
Define critical assets
Mark the critical and non-critical assets within the ITAM software.
Make ITAM an ongoing activity
ITAM is not a one-time project but an ongoing activity that integrates with all operations across the organization.
For example, take the following instances:
- Keeping track of all IT asset usage every week. This helps you avoid paying for assets that you are not using.
- Add approvals for software vendors to the ITAM software. Employees can sign in to a single platform to place requests and get permission from the management.
- Manage hardware assets, including their lending and return schedule.
Keep it proactive
The ITAM system can help you be audit-ready by proactively meeting compliances. This can avoid last-minute chaos, missing information, and any penalties.
Adopt a lifecycle-based approach
Each IT asset goes through a lifecycle. The ITAM software should adopt a similar approach to input, track, maintain, and retire the assets. The lifecycle stages are:
- Planning the assets required and issuing requests and approvals.
- Acquiring licenses to use the assets through purchase or lease.
- Introducing new assets in the company and providing their access to the employees.
- Maintaining, repairing, and upgrading the assets to maximize their life and value.
- Retiring the asset once the lifecycle is complete and either sell, dispose, or terminate it.
Automate the process
Automate all the IT asset management tasks you can. For example, your ITAM system can automatically update any changes to the assets, add new IT assets to the inventory, create compliance reports, and send email alerts when license renewals are due.
Track the license and financial commitments
Track all the license and lease agreements and avoid non-compliance violations. Always be ready with the documentation to prove your entitlement.
At any rate, Companies with inefficient IT asset tracking or those that do not have an ITAM system in place stand to miss out on the benefits of saving huge costs, meeting compliances, and streamlining processes. As they say, prevention is better than an expensive cure.
IT asset management goes way beyond simple inventory management and helps an organization make strategic procurement, vendor management, compliance, and budgetary decisions. Therefore, relying on spreadsheets cannot be a sustainable option in the face of the exponential growth that you expect for your business. With ITAM software, you eliminate the potential for data silos occurring due to local data management options like spreadsheets.
Conversely, your ITAM platform, powered by automated discovery, could solve the shadow IT problem. Overall, the level of control you gain with the integration and collaborative operations of ITAM and other ITIL processes could mean a cost saving of up to 30% as per a recent Gartner survey. With the ITAM best practices mentioned here, you could gain a competitive edge and ensure long-term growth.
Leverage ITAM with the confluence of automated CMDB, Service Mapping, and IT Discovery with Virima’s Scalable IT Asset Management Solutions. Schedule a demo now!