Every enterprise IT department manages assets, such as data center hardware, networking equipment, software packages, spare parts, and so on. But not all IT shops have a true asset management strategy.
What’s the difference? Employing asset management means transitioning from an ad-hoc—and often “I don’t know what’s where”—existence to a more proactive stance in which the IT environment is fully documented and that information informs decision-making. IT asset management (ITAM) integrates inventory tracking with the financial, contractual, and functional aspects of each asset.
There are many advantages to taking such a global, holistic view of IT to ensure cost-efficient operations, achieve corporate objectives, and maximize ROI. In particular, asset management can help:
The low-hanging fruit in asset management is a complete list what the business owns and leases, including where assets are located, how they are used, and when changes were last made (and what those changes were). Such a comprehensive survey of IT hardware, software, consumables, etc., provides the basis for the other benefits.
Realizing efficiencies depends on aligning needs and requirements with existing capabilities. What can be leveraged before more spending is considered? What can be eliminated to save money? Asset management puts a full understanding of IT assets, their capabilities, lifecycle, upgrade expectations, maintenance requirements, etc., at the disposal of executive decision-makers to answer these and other questions.
Assets require different maintenance activity at different stages of the lifecycle, so asset management can help ensure spare parts and human resources cover corporate corporate needs, without over-spending. Asset management also enhances the ability to take advantage of lower cost support contracts when hardware hits the “sweet spot” for third party maintenance, usually in the third or fourth year.
Organizations that boast multiple locations or multiple data centers can more easily create inventory reports and provide other IT asset information that may be required by insurers, auditors, finance executives, or others.
Accounting for hardware and software acquisitions, expenditures on related services and other needs, and amortization rates is key. Asset management can ensure that corporate financial statements fully disclose these details.
Sadly, IT hardware doesn’t live forever. Some assets will eventually be redeployed, potentially moving from mission critical application to a remote office or other purpose. Others will be sold or scrapped. These changes, as well as use of consumables and spares, need to make it to the business books.
Having an IT function inherently entails risk, and asset management helps identify where those risks lie and what types of proactive solutions can be employed to avoid them.
Having an accurate acquisition history and understanding what is deployed now empowers an organization to identify trends. This can provide a basis for predicting IT needs and budgets.
It’s tough to keep track of all the pieces that comprise enterprise IT. With strong asset management, it becomes easier to tell when items are lost or stolen and deal with the underlying causes—such as overly broad access to storage areas—and reduce vulnerabilities. Recovery efforts can also be initiated promptly.
There is no doubt that embarking on the asset management journey can be an immense undertaking. Most IT organizations find that they have much of the information required but that it exists in different places and cannot be easily accessed in a unified fashion. In that sense, asset management can be as much an organizational task as an investigation.
The many upsides of devising an asset management solution make it well worth the time investment. To help get started, you may want to consider Park Place Technologies’ portal to track hardware, product ID, contract information, and more. It’s available for free whether or not you’re a current customer or not. Simply contact us to set up a login ID and password.