The concept of IT asset management is an important one for organizations of every size. Most businesses know that IT asset management is something they need to do, but it’s hard to know where to start. Remember: you don’t have to do everything at once. Simply having an up-to-date inventory of hardware and software is far better than doing nothing.
Tackle IT asset management in stages to prevent burnout and minimize errors.
For many IT managers, convincing upper management of the importance of an IT asset management program can be a challenge, but doing so makes all the difference. A great IT asset management program can be a strategic advantage for any business, and can add tremendous value. The cost of failing a software license audit can easily dwarf the cost of asset management software and its implementation.
Your choice of software is, of course, paramount. Furthermore, technicians must be trained to use it, plus any peripherals (like barcode readers) that go along with it. Following is a three-stage approach to implementing effective IT asset management.
Level 1: Collection of Information About IT Assets
Your tools are in place and your team knows how to use them. Now it’s time to collect information about your IT assets and place it in a central repository. When information on assets is collected, you can also flag machines that have unauthorized applications installed as well as those that don’t have updated service packs and security patches. Configuration data on each asset will help your IT service desk work more efficiently, particularly if they can call up this information instantly when a help ticket comes in on a machine.
Some organizations inventory assets manually, by going desk-side and documenting hardware configurations and software. While this may be necessary for existing assets, top asset management software will let you greatly streamline and automate this process for new assets that come into the organization.
Level 2: Standardizing the Information Collected
A big pile of data on hardware and software does not an IT asset management program make. Standardizing the information collected is hard work, but it is the magic behind a useful, value-added asset management program. After inventorying assets, you may have thousands of data points. Standardizing it in order to map assets to their relevant data, including assigning “owners” or responsible parties, projects, departments, and other relevant mapping parameters turns your inventory into a dynamic asset management program. You have done the hard manual work of inventorying hardware and software. Now is the time to take that extra step of standardizing the information so that it can be of use to you whenever you need it.
Level 3: Managing Information Over Asset Lifecycles
IT assets are hardly static. Hardware and software are regularly upgraded, modified, repaired, or scheduled for replacement. The third level of your IT asset management implementation is to create processes controlling procurement, supply, modification, and retirement of assets, including virtual devices. Level 3 is where the rubber meets the road as far as applying the principles of IT asset management.
If your organization has problems with “shadow IT,” this stage is more vital than ever. For adequate security, you have to be able to control the devices that connect to your network. If your asset management software has monitoring tools that can automatically generate alerts, for example, when new software is installed on an asset, you have a head start on preventing problems and educating end-users about the dangers of unauthorized installs.
The Right IT Asset Management Tools Are Essential
Effective IT asset management simply isn’t possible without great tools. Many organizations are selecting cloud-based software for IT asset management so that upgrades and patches are installed automatically and uniformly. Cloud-based software is also preferable for organizations that anticipate scaling their asset management program up, because adding seats is quick and easy. The cloud also makes things easier in organizations that are spread across multiple locations, for uniformity of processes and easier central control.
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