Manual IT asset management processes are highly error-prone, causing significant mistakes and inconsistencies in the way PCs, servers, and other technology components are logged and tracked. One of the most frequent errors is duplicate assets – when the same component is counted two or more times within a company’s IT inventory.
In this post, we will investigate why asset duplication occurs, what corrective steps to take, and how an automated hardware inventory system can help control this common inventory issue.
What are the key causes behind duplicate assets?
- Evolving business needs – Expansion, downsizing, even employee promotions or transfers all call for the reallocation and reassignment of technology assets. When handled manually, this leaves room for human mistakes. For example, the same IT asset may end up being logged into inventory twice, but with different locations and primary users.
- Technology changes – quite often computer’s operating system has to be reinstalled or the entire computer has to be reimaged to the original configuration. This results with changes to the asset identifiers and can cause duplication of assets.
- New employee requirements – As staff members take on new responsibilities or move into new roles, the software applications they need to perform day-to-day activities will change. Software gets uninstalled from one user’s PC, and is then installed at a later date on another user’s computer. When not handled properly, inconsistencies in license allocation records can emerge, hindering effective license compliance and putting companies at risk of fines and penalties.
- Geographically-dispersed networks – As companies expand and globalize, their technology infrastructures become scattered across wider areas, and throughout more locations. This makes it much harder to keep track of where components reside, and who is using them, which can lead to duplicate assets.
Dealing with duplicate IT assets:
When duplicate assets are discovered, the components involved must be closely reviewed, and computer inventory records must be reconciled and corrected accordingly. For example, you should determine the “old” and the “new” asset in your inventory based on certain properties such as usage, mac address, and OS installation date. For the “old” asset, you want it outside of your active inventory but still accessible for auditing and compliance purposes. However, without an IT asset management solution in place, detecting these duplications, checking the assets in question, and making the needed modifications to existing computer inventory will present quite a challenge.