IT asset management (ITAM) is the type of business management that is directly influenced by organizational IT infrastructure. IT asset management helps an organization's hardware and software inventory managers to decide the sourcing, use and other related aspects of the asset's life cycle.
Management of IT assets helps you to get maximum value from the use of assets, right-size IT inventory, and also optimizes inventory purchase decisions and strategies.
What is IT Asset Management?
IT Asset Management (Information Technology Asset Management) is the set of business practices that joins financial, contractual, inventory functions to support life cycle management and strategic decision making for the IT environments.
In simpler words, IT asset management is the set of business practices that combines contractual, inventory, and financial functions.
ITAM allows you full visibility of your IT infrastructure inventory and gains its in-depth understanding, along with:
- Existing systems and equipment
- Components location
- Usefulness of assets
- Cost of assets
- Date of purchase of an asset
- The expiry date of the asset
- Asset's business service
The visibility level of asset details helps an organization to improve infrastructure efficiency and performance and to minimize the related overhead expenses.
This article is to focus on the benefits and practices of IT Asset Management.
Benefits of IT Asset Management
Generally, hardware and software licenses are referred to as IT assets. The ITAM helps to keep the record of all the assets that are purchased and rented by the organization.
The benefits of effectively management of IT assets for an organization are:
- Assets visibility & control
- Improved asset utilization
- Audit requirement compliance
- Regulatory requirement compliance
- Reduced costs of software and hardware
- Support for changes and projects of the organization
- Alignment of asset costs to services
- Give configuration data for service management
- The data source for accurate decisions
The goal of ITAM is to establish a centralized asset repository to account for the presence and purchase of an organization's hardware and software inventory.
The ITAM methodology includes the following steps:
- Asset Management (discovery, data capture & storage of assets)
- Asset Tracking
- Asset Lifecycle Management
- Asset Reporting and Alerting
There are 5 major benefits of IT asset management
1. Control over IT inventory
ITAM provides you with the ease to view hardware and software components of computers, servers, or any other network infrastructure. Visibility across all the IT assets provides you with better IT administration control and accountability.
2. Asset lifecycle management
For hardware and software, there are limitations with their disposal or replacement date. ITAM helps to do the management of hardware asset purchase, its useful period, etc. This actionable data is utilized to decide the replacement of old or faulty hardware, uninstall an unsafe application, or update any system or to know when to extend or renew a contract with a vendor or hardware or software provider.
3. Strategic inventory planning
When the inventory in the IT infrastructure of an organization is tracked, it becomes easier to plan the future amount to be spent on assets. Centralized and streamlined asset management software allows you to scan your entire network, hardware, and software, and view inventory data with storage capacity for storage utilization analysis and budget planning.
4. Increased accountability
Regular track of IT inventory and its automatic updates through ITAM helps to monitor hardware and software of computer networks or if harmful software/hardware is installed.
Allowance to system administrators to quickly isolate unsafe/outdated software, unprotected games and unauthorized downloads makes it easier for the ITAM system to check the potential risks to be prevented before major problems arise.
5. Automated asset discovery and tracking
Earlier IT assets inventory was managed using manual, paper-intensive processes, spreadsheets which highly prone to inaccuracies and inconsistencies or manual entry or updates were required.
With IT Asset management software solutions and integrations with system and network monitoring tools, the process has been made simpler, quicker, and automated.
Best Practices for Implementing IT Asset Management
1. Application Management System
Application performance management has become the key for IT admins and managers to do business service in an undisrupted manner with high performance and availability of applications and server infrastructure.
Application performance management helps you find the right server assets like what is the expiry and warranty of the server, what's installed in it, what is its capacity, etc.
2. Management with IT Help Desk
Asset Management should incorporate with IT help desk as IT is both hardware and software assets and people use it for creating tickets and server requests too. It is very beneficial when the IT help desk is associated and tagged for trouble tickets with specific assets to track the history of service requests.
It is good to capture all the asset data of IT inventory like purchase order, billing information, etc. This is very useful as you provide help desk support.
3. Patch Management & Software Distribution
Patch management can scan the system for important, unsafe, and 3rd party applications that will be updated to reduce risks. Whenever the system has unsafe applications they get identified and the system will patch them with the latest version of the software.
With asset management, it is very important as it manages all the servers, workstations, notebook assets in the IT environment which has to be discovered first then, their respective software.
4. Network Configuration & Change Management (NCCM)
Network Configuration & Change Management (NCCM) has to deal more with network devices like routers, switches, firewalls. The network administers use NCCM to manage device configurations and network device inventory.
NCCM solutions allow a device end-of-life feature management feature this will manage your network assets lifecycle easily. It will also help in the preparation of budget forecasts for product maintenance and device replace planning.
In some manner, every organization uses ITAM.
Actually, it is very important to get benefits by implementing IT Asset Management practices smartly to achieve the desired IT operational efficiency, financial accountability of asset purchase, simple auditing and compliance, and long-term asset management and maintenance.