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A Complete Guide to IT Asset Management

For organisations of all kinds, IT asset management is a matter of major importance. But why is this?

Well for one, most modern businesses are hugely reliant on assets to drive their operations. And without a proper process of IT asset management in place, keeping track of your hardware, software, virtual and non-IT assets can be challenging.

That’s why IT asset management is so essential. Here, we’ll take a look at the process in more detail, including what it is, how you can benefit from it and some best practices to help you overcome challenges and reap the rewards of efficient asset management.

What is IT asset management?

IT asset management (which we’ll refer to as ITAM from here on) is the process of ensuring an organisation’s assets are accounted for, deployed, maintained, upgraded and disposed of when needed. It’s the process of making sure that your business’ valuable items are tracked and being used.

What do we mean by IT asset? An IT asset can be the hardware, software or any information that the organisation values. They have a finite period of use too, so optimising their value is a case of managing their lifecycle.

Managing your IT assets isn’t merely a one-and-done duty either. It requires careful management over their full lifecycle to understand the total cost of ownership and to optimise usage.

So, by committing to a ITAM process, you’ll be in a position to minimise security and compliance risks, and set up a permanent system for removing redundancies and inefficient processes.

Running through IT assets

What are the benefits of IT asset management?

Creates greater order

If you’re not used to ITAM, then your assets could well be spread across the business, tracked in different places by different people. When no single tool is in place to centralise the information, there’s a tendency towards inaccuracy.

Through ITAM, it’s possible to create order instead. By offering a single location to keep track of IT assets, employees, management and businesses can focus on the more important aspects of their day.

Improves utilisation and eliminates waste

ITAM keeps the unnecessary to a minimum. With a focus on eliminating waste, ITAM can save money by avoiding needless purchases and cutting licensing and support costs.

The increased control also enforces compliance with security and legal policies, reducing risks and any unwanted consequences as a result.

Greater support of ITIL practices

ITAM plays a large role in supporting ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) processes, including change, incident and problem management. Through this, the entire organisation can deliver value more quickly, allowing things to move faster and increasing the ability to predict changes before they happen.

By democratising access to insights, the organisation gains a competitive edge. If you’re trying to keep up with fast-paced, modern innovations, then controlling, tracking and mastering IT data in this way can make a massive difference.

IT team working

How to choose the right IT asset management software

When weighing up different asset management software, it’s worth assessing the reasons why you need to improve your ITAM. Some of the more common reasons include:

You’re looking to save money

By using best practices to optimise software licences, it’s possible to make effective savings. Where software, infrastructure and platform services are concerned, cutting costs on such services is essential.

However, optimising these complex licences manually is a challenge. For a start, it’s labour intensive. This is where SAM (Software Asset Management) tools come in. A SAM tool can automate, accelerate and improve processes relating to software licences. What’s more, it often ends up paying for itself.

Your company keeps changing

As your company grows, so too will its assets. And whether it’s software or hardware, keeping up with the new additions can be difficult if the pace keeps ramping up.

Even if you opt for a part-time employee to keep track of everything, they’ll still need some basic ITAM software to make the job more straightforward.

You’re worried about Shadow IT

Increasingly, applications, licences and other IT assets are being purchased, managed and used without the knowledge of the central IT team. ITAM software that tracks and manages your IT assets can make collaboration easier, keeps the IT team aware of spend, and allows teams to be more productive – with fewer risks and lower costs in the process.

When you’re sure you want to use ITAM software, it’s a good idea to work out which software will best support your needs. One of the first, and most effective, things to do is to carry out an asset inventory. Doing so will provide a better understanding of what you have and how much it costs.

From here, you can map out asset lifecycles and evaluate costs alongside your finance department.

IT consultants identifying software gaps

IT asset management best practices

Recognise that ITAM is an ongoing process

Like we said earlier, ITAM is a process and not something with a clear-cut end date. When ITAM becomes an ongoing routine, it’s easier to track and maintain. And regular management means there’s less chance of your ITAM being abandoned down the line.

ITAM is proactive

When ITAM is in place as a continual practice, you’ll always be ready for audits or other inventory checks. This proactive approach means fewer last-minute responses and more considerate preparedness on the part of the business.

Pick a starting point and have a clear plan

Rather than trying to tackle everything at once, take your time. As stated, start with an inventory check, and then move onto the next step once this has been completed. A more mannered approach creates a smoother, more efficient process.

Create and implement an ITAM team

Setting up an ITAM team, whether you bring in new hires or populate it with existing employees, will allow the process to naturally develop instead of leaving ITAM as an afterthought. You should encourage dialogue and feedback between this team and other parts of the business to foster greater development and improvement too.

Stick to a lifecycle-based approach

ITAM starts from the second you make a purchase request up until when the device stops working. Your management should follow the same approach. By tracking from the initial purchase to the historic asset information at the end, it’ll make for more accurate asset management.

Make automation a priority

Instead of relying so much on spreadsheets, which can become inaccurate and clunky over time, a licence or an asset management system can help out immeasurably. By automating as many of the steps of the process as you can, email alerts, customisable compliance reports and file repositories are all taken care of for you.

Working on IT

Track continuously

Knowing what your firm is entitled to have deployed, rather than just what you do have deployed is important. Many firms suffer from hefty fines during audits because they lack proper proof of entitlement.

Keep all licence agreements and receipts handy so you can properly track your compliance – another area that licence management software can help out with.

CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or for more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.

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