IT asset management is often overlooked these days.

83% of US enterprises hardly consider managing their software assets as a useful and strategic initiative.

Organizations that neglect to prioritize this business practice might come face to face with serious management issues.

One manifestation of this problem is the excess staff hours spent on reconciling unchecked assets and inventory. When these items are not properly accounted for, it could lead to more company efforts and spending flying under the radar. In conclusion, higher unnecessary expenses with lower returns.

That’s why learning and implementing IT asset management is recommended for businesses aiming to thrive and scale. If you’re curious about its contributions to a company’s overall growth and development, read on. This comprehensive guide will explain every bit of detail you need to know.

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What Is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?

IT asset management (ITAM) is the process of tracking, cataloging and managing every organization’s information technology property.

Simply put, it’s a series of actions that ensure every related asset is properly utilized, protected, maintained, updated and disposed of when it is no longer needed.

Consequently, an IT Asset pertains to every single piece of hardware and software owned by the organization.

By nature, hardware assets include tangible equipment such as computers, routers, mobile devices, keyboards, printers and even physical servers in data centers. On the other hand, software assets are intangible properties that come in the form of applications, licenses, patents, network infrastructures and cloud-based assets such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. They also take the form of software systems and databases created using open-source systems.

Basically, ITAM is a body of business operations that heavily relies on analyzing financial, contractual and inventory data in order to make strategic IT-based decisions.

The key objectives of IT asset tracking include the following:

  • Ensuring that all IT resources are used efficiently
  • Optimizing the company’s budget by reducing the number of assets in use
  • Prolonging the life span of those assets to avoid unnecessary upgrades
  • Mitigating any related risk and increasing asset value
  • Boosting productivity through enhanced IT support

Ultimately, this whole process is geared towards providing an accurate account of the status, costs and risks of every technological asset. This way, businesses can shift their sourcing, funding, contractual and architecture strategy accordingly.

Types of ITAM Asset Management

Effectively managing your IT assets, regardless of its type, is a recipe for greater efficiency and accountability. This is especially true for ITAM, as proper asset management drives more business value and maximizes returns.

However, it’s worth noting that the process comes in different variations.

Finding one that suits your business model, size, and nature will help you gather sufficient information and decide on the best system available.

Below are the different types of tracking IT assets:

Software Asset and License Management

This involves steps that are concerned with effectively managing, controlling and protecting all software assets. This includes items procured by the organization as well as those licensed from third-party providers.

The purpose? For one, it guarantees that every software in use is properly paid for and accounted for. Also, it ensures that the assets are in compliance with their licensing agreements.

Cloud Asset Management

This process focuses more on managing and tracking cloud-based assets from services providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and so on.

Digital Asset Management

This particular type of ITAM deals with managing any form of electronic media such as pictures, videos, slide presentations, audio recordings and many more. It is usually a part of the organization’s intellectual property management operations. It includes every single digital data that the company either produces or licenses from third parties.

Fixed Asset Management

This is not to be confused with hardware asset management. In this case, the process involves tracking fixed IT assets within the workplace. Think of it as the everyday materials used in the office such as desks, printers, networking cabinets, AC units and any other infrastructure hardware.

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The IT Asset Lifecycle

Every asset, whether tangible or intangible, has a limited life span before its value starts to dwindle. This period of time is called the Asset Lifecycle.

Among its many functions, IT asset management is all about properly handling a property’s lifecycle in order to maximize this limited period.

The stages may vary depending on each organization, but typically, an IT asset lifecycle is composed of the following stages:

  1. Planning - The foundation of every IT asset starts with making decisions and mapping out how your information technology asset management will play out. Think about what specific properties your organization needs as well as how you intend to obtain, fund and use them in the long run. Planning also entails considering viable alternatives and conducting ownership, plus the cost and cost-benefit analyses.
  2. Procurement or Acquisition - This step involves physically or digitally obtaining your IT assets. They may be acquired by building them in-house, but you can also get hold of your IT products by buying, licensing, or leasing them from third-party providers.
  3. Deployment or Integration - Deploying assets simply means installing them into your organization’s system. You can also integrate them into your current IT infrastructure so it works in harmony with your other tools. An optimized IT system with efficient technical support gives you higher business value and a more seamless user experience!
  4. Maintenance - Once the IT assets are deployed; you need to assign people to make sure these assets are well-maintained. Upgrades and repairs must be implemented to maximize usage and hold their value. Doing so will also extend their lifespan, which ultimately reduces your organization’s overhead costs and effectively mitigates technology-related risks.
  5. Retirement - As we’ve said, assets have a finite lifespan. By this stage, an IT property has reached its endpoint, and any upgrade form is no longer feasible. When maintenance and repairs happen more frequently and the organization spends more than it needs, depreciation and retirement are underway. Retiring an asset can also be done once the organization finds better alternatives on the market. Aside from disposing of old and obsolete assets, this stage of the lifecycle also involves updating existing asset information, terminating license agreements and transitioning to new IT assets.

Why Is IT Asset Management Important?

For the most part, IT asset management helps businesses make cost-effective technological decisions, strengthen their security bases and create a strong and sustainable plan for the future.

Similarly, organizations can meet a lot of IT-related issues and pitfalls when neglecting the essential ITAM processes.

Here are some good reasons why information technology asset management is of great importance today:

You get to make informed purchasing decisions

Relevant ITAM data can heavily influence and guide your future actions. For example, evaluating your previous purchases and business processes can help you decide on investing in better IT assets. You’ll be able to choose the best products and providers not only based on the purchase price but also the quality and post-sale support.

IT asset management can also help enhance your deployment and integration processes as well as prevent your team from over-purchasing resources that you don’t need.

You have a centralized asset location.

Properly managing your assets provides a “single source of truth” for the organization. Often, businesses have their properties in multiple locations, handled by multiple people. The result, of course, is utter disorganization and disorientation.

When you have a central point of information, IT asset tracking is much easier and more efficient. Teams working on the assets can work in harmony when it comes to deciding which items need to be updated, optimized, or replaced for maximum efficiency.

You can ensure every asset is in compliance with license agreements

Most business organizations struggle with tracking software licenses and agreements. As a result, they become unaware that they have active subscriptions, tools with outstanding payments, or worse, resources that get paid but aren’t even in use.

Non-compliance to terms set by asset providers can cause serious legal and financial problems to an organization.

To steer clear of these problems, modern companies use the appropriate ITAM software to effortlessly monitor all applications installed on all computers and on their networks. Additionally, these programs are designed to check if all assets comply with the relevant license agreements.

You can avoid potential threats and cyberattacks

Regular IT asset tracking helps organizations check for weak points in their networks that could possibly expose them to any external threat. By keeping track of all your technological assets and upgrading the obsolete ones, you can keep airtight security and reduce any risk that may arise in the future.

You can calculate your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

It’s worth noting that the cost of an IT asset is more than the purchase and acquisition price. Through ITAM, you can estimate and uncover all the expenses of obtaining an IT asset – the total cost of ownership (TCO).

TCO is an accurate measure of the overall cost of acquiring and utilizing an IT asset. Effectively planning and managing your TCO will help reduce the costs brought about by asset duplication or inactivity.

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Examples of IT Asset Management Software

By now, we’ve established that asset management is a data-driven set of actions. Needless to say, manually doing so would be such a huge stretch!

For modern business entities, IT asset management technology is the key to enabling such operational processes and further eliminating the cost of manual labor. Automation can effectively help with capturing, managing, cataloging, analyzing and reporting on relevant IT asset data.

Luckily, there is a slew of applications armed with IT services that aid organizations in facilitating the entire ITAM process. And these tools are becoming more and more popular.

As a matter of fact, the global market for fixed asset management software is projected to reach $5 billion in 2024.

Here are some great examples of tools that companies use today to effectively and practically support the various asset management processes:

Ivanti

Ivanti is a feature-rich asset management program designed to track problematic devices and protect them from further decay. The program is loaded with sufficient tools for accurately tracking and efficiently managing IT assets through their complete lifecycle.

Its key functions include asset discovery, software agreement compliance, license management and financial management. It’s also great for businesses who want to bank on detailed reporting to highlight key data points.

ManageEngine AssetExplorer

AssetExplorer is an online IT asset management software that helps you track and control all your technology properties. Much like Ivanti, it handles the process through the entire lifecycle from purchase to retirement.

Its multi-source asset discovery automatically locates all your assets and keeps them in a central database.

It also has a built-in software asset management module where you can instantly monitor app usage and maintain software licensing compliance.

Asset Panda

Asset Panda brings inventory and asset management under one roof. It has the power to manage your IT assets from multiple locations and keep things in order. With scalable features, it’s great for small businesses and enterprises alike.

If you also plan to do digital asset management, Asset Panda offers the ability to add documents, photos and videos to your asset data files. Built-in customizable reports can also help you easily highlight key ITAM data.

Asset Panda’s mobile app also makes it easy to add extra assets on the fly. It’s also loaded with convenient features such as mobile reports, mobile auditing and GPS tracking. And the icing on the cake is it fully integrates with the web app.

Atera

Atera is a cloud-based IT asset management program that offers a well-rounded solution for IT organizations, departments and consultants. The best part? With affordable subscriptions, users can track, maintain and control an unlimited amount of inventory.

In addition, Atera’s Network Discovery feature automatically identifies inactive and unmanaged IT assets.

GoCodes

GoCodes is a web-hosted asset and inventory management program that’s good with handling any physical asset. Like the name suggests, it simply tracks assets through the use of QR codes, providing easier ITAM processing using any mobile or computer device.

With a single barcode sticker, it can display the asset type, serial number, and even the person who is assigned to a particular asset. Its mapping feature also lets managers easily track the asset location.

Wrapping Up IT Asset Management

To round up our discussion, IT Asset Management is all about paying enough attention to your technology properties for optimized growth and development.

Proper planning, usage, and eventual disposal of all IT assets will help your organization save time and money, increase productivity and keep all potential risks at bay.

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