When many people think of IT asset management (ITAM), the first thing that comes to mind is often long lists of assets and the time-consuming process of doing manual inventories to keep the lists up to date.  That is unfortunate because IT Asset Management is a lot more than just lists of data and with modern tools, most manual inventory projects aren’t necessary anymore.  So, what is IT Asset Management?  IT asset management is the holistic set of processes and data involved in managing the physical (and virtual) technology assets that your company uses.

Asset data

Yes, there still are lists of assets, most of which are collected using automated discovery tools. The asset lists are only the starting point for the asset data within your organization.  Each asset in the list has supporting attributes, some relating to the components that make up the asset, where they were sourced from or how they are configured. Other supporting attributes include things like who to call when the asset breaks, what department is responsible for maintenance costs and what the intended use of the asset is.

For most organizations, asset data includes the configuration data about how the components in your IT environment are connected.  Software runs on hardware. Hardware is connected via networks and utilizes things like storage and compute assets.  Hardware and software assets may be consumed by both other technology services and/or directly by business users in the context of business processes.  This set of relationship mappings is the most important part of your IT asset management data, because it enables leaders to see the linkage between the IT costs (incurred when procuring and operating assets) and the business activities that are receiving benefits.

Asset lifecycle management

IT components have a lifecycle that starts when they are procured and continues until they are eventually retired and/or replaced.  Asset management processes play an important role in maximizing the value that is created by assets as they progress through their useful life.  This includes managing what assets are used for, how they are supported, when they get upgraded and eventually determining the right time to safely dispose of them.  Without asset management, the value of most IT assets would diminish quickly – leading to a short useful life.  Asset Management enables companies to both extend the useful life of the asset as well as increase the value that is realized throughout the asset lifecycle.

Managing the asset portfolio

Most IT environments are large and complex. Keeping track of all the puzzle pieces in an organized way so you can see the big picture involves not just managing individual assets but also looking at your IT assets in groups as a portfolio.  The asset portfolio is used for things like driving adherence to technology standards, responding to security threats and for planning large scale efforts like data center moves and cloud migration projects.  Effective asset portfolio management is essential for controlling IT costs and influencing strategic planning decisions.

Modern IT asset management is more than just lists of data and manual inventories, it is a holistic set of processes and data that helps organizations understand what is going on in their environment and get the most value they can out of their technology investments.  Virima is the industry leader in providing solutions for collecting and managing your IT assets and turning your asset data into visualizations that help drive informed decision making.  To learn more, download our discovery and visualization whitepaper.