IT Asset Management Best Practices

Streamline your organization’s technology landscape with effective IT asset management strategies

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IT asset management to support IT service management

In IT service management, IT assets are resources that contribute to the delivery of IT services. Hardware IT assets include computers, routers, servers, data centers, and printers. Software IT assets are software licenses, insurance policies, and valuable documents. IT asset management is a process that supports the IT assets of an enterprise throughout their lifecycle, from procurement to disposal. Given the significant reliance on IT assets, IT service management and IT asset management often work in parallel. We’ve elaborated on IT asset management in another article in this section.

IT asset management solutions for business results

By investing in IT asset management, your organization can achieve the following results:

  1. A centralized source of truth for inventory management. You can navigate any of the devices in your fleet using IT asset tracking tools such as RFID tags and GPS trackers. Moreover, when this data is consolidated into a single database, authorized personnel can access it and stay updated about the location of any device. This makes managing hardware inventory much more straightforward.
  2. Optimized software asset management. As previously mentioned, apart from hardware assets, IT asset management covers software assets, such as software licenses. Software asset management allows you to track license expiration dates, the number of users in a license, warranty information, and maintenance schedule. With this information, renewing subscriptions on time will be simpler, ultimately ensuring that costs remain within the expected level.
  3. Reduced compliance risks. The words “software audit” make many IT managers shudder. In fact, some IT executives are so afraid of audits they overpay for their licenses. Implementing IT asset management practices can significantly alleviate the stress associated with audits. The software asset management module in our flagship solution Alloy Navigator provides an overview of the purchased licenses and triggers automated notifications in case of license usage violations.
  4. Improved visibility for other ITSM processes. If you have an ultimate database of all assets, you can enrich your incident, problem, and change management with the information on the affected devices.

However, organizations may struggle when starting this practice from scratch. For example, how to transfer from an old-school Excel asset management database to specialized software? How to choose an IT asset management software vendor? How to build an IT asset management team? In this article, we aimed to provide best practices for IT asset management for companies that are just starting with this process. Consider it as a set of guidelines rather than an ultimate manual.

Here are our five IT asset management best practices.

Use specialized IT asset management software

If you still use Excel to track devices, we strongly advise you to consider one of the modern ITSM or ITAM software vendors. By transferring ITAM to specialized software, all IT processes in your organization will benefit significantly in the long term. There are several limitations to Excel for managing assets. We all know how buggy Excel files become when the number of lines exceeds the usual level. Moreover, unlike with ITSM software, tracking who and when performed a specific modification in Excel is a challenge. Finally, Excel sheets provide limited automation capabilities. For example, without workflow automation, there’s no way to set up notifications about the expiration of a license or about a coming maintenance deadline. Overall, the offer of ITSM software vendors is a more effective and reliable alternative to Excel.

Examine the asset lifecycle to identify your ITAM software needs

If you don’t know what features you need from a software provider, start by defining the key asset lifecycle stages in your organization. The “classical” asset lifecycle includes its acquisition, deployment, maintenance, and disposal. Does your usual asset lifecycle fit into this model? Are there any additional stages, or do you skip something? Write down the phases an asset goes through in your organization.

The next step is understanding the key input at each stage of the lifecycle. Consider the following questions. What triggers an asset to pass to the next stage? Should anybody approve it, or is it a matter of time? What changes does a stage trigger in the asset or in other workflows in the organization?

For example, during the acquisition stage, creating a record of the new asset unit in your asset database is a common practice. However, depending on your business logic, you might prefer triggering record creation by the purchase order creation or the unit reception. Manual record creation is another option. Examining the questions above can help you understand what configuration you need from the software provider.

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Categorize your IT assets to maximize data value

After the initial registration of all your assets, we recommend you group them for further convenience. Consider categorizing assets by their impact on overall service delivery (critical – optional) or the delivery of a specific service, their type (computers – mobile devices – printing devices), or the department they belong to (financial – HR – sales). Implementing categorization can be a logical approach for gathering relevant data. Clearly define the specific data to be collected from each category and ensure that only valuable data is collected. Additionally, categorizing assets allows you to develop distinct workflow scenarios tailored to different types of assets.

Collect data you might use in other ITSM processes

Remember that IT asset management is not just a way to keep inventory in order. It’s also a great source of data for other IT areas, such as incident management, change management, or problem management. For example, you will likely need asset configuration details, data about asset dependencies, and asset performance metrics to investigate incidents and problems. If you can collect those metrics during your ITAM activities, you can provide pertinent data to support these two ITSM areas.

Build the ITAM team thoughtfully

Working with IT assets requires special knowledge and skills. Such skills include understanding hardware and software configurations, licensing agreements, procurement processes, and compliance requirements. You probably already thought you’d need to gather a team of professionals with very specific experience. However, apart from hiring people with the relevant skills, remember to take organizational measures to help them with their tasks. For example, regular meetings should be arranged to get updates on the project’s progress. Additionally, ensure that key stakeholders from relevant departments, such as facilities and finance, are easily accessible to the team. This approach enables the ITAM innovation team to seek assistance whenever needed and expedite the approval of ideas.

Creating a comprehensive guide to assist every company in establishing an efficient IT asset management mechanism is nearly impossible. This is because the steps you need to take largely depend on your company’s existing ITAM practices, the number of assets you manage, the size of the organization, and the asset usage patterns. However, the provided tips can serve as a starting point and help you identify the crucial questions to consider when embarking on this endeavor.

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