IT Asset Management (ITAM) solutions support the business processes and functions that manage the life cycle of IT hardware assets across an enterprise’s IT ecosystem. However, there is a distinct difference between older legacy tools and next generation solutions.
Unlike older legacy tools, next generation IT Asset Management solutions automate the discovery and inventory of the metadata and electronic records used to track and categorize IT hardware assets. This is critical to the accuracy and completeness of the data and the decisions made using it. Why? Older IT Asset Management tools, which lack advanced levels of automation, require users to perform manual processes and data tasks. This massively increases the risk of human error, which leads to inaccurate and incomplete data sets. Next generation IT Asset Management solutions remove the risk of human error to produce more accurate and complete data sets, which are delivered faster, more efficiently and at lower cost.
Why is IT Asset Management Important?
In the modern world, IT manages a greater and ever-increasing proportion of the enterprise’s total assets. These IT assets are expensive to procure and costly to maintain, and ultimately the reason why IT Asset Management is so important. IT Asset Management’s roles is to help IT teams ensure efficient use of the organization’s resources in supporting the needs of users and business functions.
IT Asset Management is not just about the discovery and inventory of hardware assets. It is about using the data to drive intelligence that supports decision making. This data drives business value beyond just focusing on data quantity and accuracy. For example:
- Improve governance to enforce compliance with security policies and wider regulatory requirements
- Control the costs of managing the IT environment
- Provide ITAM data to support SAM decision making
The IT Asset Life Cycle
IT Asset Management is the systematic process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively. These assets have a finite shelf life. To maximize the value of these assets, IT Asset Management processes use the concept of life cycles to plan activities and support decision making. While different versions exist, most life cycle models follow the same stages:
In this stage the strategy and decisions about what assets are needed are made, including how they will be acquired, how they will be used and how they will be funded.
This is the stage of procurement, the act of purchase and receipt of delivery.
During this stage the new asset is introduced into the IT ecosystem. This includes installation, integrating with other components and systems, establishing operations, support processes and provisioning user access.
With IT hardware assets, maintenance, repair, upgrades, patching and complete overhauls may be required to maximize value, extend the useful life of the asset or mitigate risks and support costs.
Eventually, all IT hardware is retired when it is no longer useful. Retiring an asset can include migrating users to other assets and resources, cancelling support agreements, terminating renewals and planning for replacement assets.
IT Asset Management Solutions
IT Asset Management is a highly data intensive set of processes. Many older tools available on the market lack advanced levels of automation that support these processes. As a result, the outputs from these tools are often inaccurate and incomplete, delivered slowly and at higher cost.
However, a new generation of IT Asset Management solutions, such as Certero for Enterprise ITAM, provide the levels of automation needed to help organizations discover, inventory, manage, analyze and report on IT hardware asset data. These highly automated solutions deliver outputs faster, more efficiently and at a significantly lower cost, and are critical to tracking assets across large IT estates.
Tracking IT hardware assets serves three main objectives:
- Document of all devices within an organization
- Identify where those devices are at any point of time
- Schedule maintenance and calculate depreciation
IT hardware assets are deployed across a wide landscape and are no longer restricted to a single office or server room, which is why tracking assets is important. For example, when an asset requires troubleshooting, it might be difficult to track everything that has happened with that asset. This means there will not be enough data available to make decisions. By tracking the asset, a history of all the changes it has gone through over time are available to service desk agents, who can use the data to solve issues.
As previously mentioned, all IT hardware assets need to be maintained or retired. Asset tracking enables IT teams to predict when these actions are likely to be required and their financial and operational impact on the organization.
Benefits of IT Asset Management
Informed Decision Making
A key benefit of IT Asset Management is informed decision making, which can only be achieved by understanding what assets exist, where they exist and what they are being used for. With accurate and complete data sets, organizations can analyse historical purchasing and deployment decisions to guide future action. IT Asset Management can also help improve deployment decisions and avoid over-purchase of resources that are not required.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
No matter how robust your IT infrastructure, disasters inevitably happen. IT Asset Management data can help organizations plan for ‘business impacting events’ and use that insight build contingencies for disaster recovery and business continuity.
Supporting Software Asset Management
IT Asset Management (ITAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) go hand in glove. However, many SAM tools do not offer ITAM data, which results in incomplete data sets and increased risk of non-compliance and subsequent legal and financial exposure. One of the benefits of IT Asset Management is its ability to complement and enhance SAM data to enrich decision making processes and mitigate these risks.
Calculating the Cost of Ownership
IT assets cost a lot more than their initial purchase price. For IT assets to add value they must be operated, supported and maintained throughout their life cycle, which adds to their overall cost. Calculating this is known as the Total Cost of Ownership. Managing the Total Cost of Ownership helps to control costs and maximize the asset’s value over its life cycle.
Non-standard IT equipment can cause IT teams to be less productive. This is a result of a lack of expertise managing these non-standard assets and turns each issue into a learning process. However, IT Asset Management can help organizations implement standards to IT assets and make IT teams more productive.
One of the benefits of IT Asset Management is gaining complete visibility and control of the IT estate. IT teams can use this intelligence to identify security vulnerabilities across their IT assets, then apply the appropriate patches and updates to ensure their ecosystems are fully protected.