As technology exponentially innovates, businesses will naturally want to find ways to automate or make their business operations more efficient. Business owners today recognize that having complete visibility of assets, contracts, subscriptions, services, expenditures, people, and processes is the way to be successful in today’s market. One such way to ensure this success is by developing your IT Asset Management (ITAM).
ITAM is known as the process of monitoring, maintaining, and maximizing the usage of an organization’s IT assets, including hardware, software, and licensing. All IT assets must be identified, categorized, and tracked. Their ownership and intended use must also be determined, and their lifetime must be managed to guarantee effective and efficient utilization. In order to comply with vendor agreements, maintaining software licenses also entails looking for cost-saving alternatives. ITAM’s overarching objectives are to lower IT costs and enhance any managed IT services.
All businesses and companies must understand the asset configuration of their IT networks and infrastructure. And for nearly all companies, especially for CPA’s that work with sensitive financial data, these assets’ reach extends beyond the business premises to include cloud assets, services, and employee homes.
Having a full inventory benefits the whole organization in many ways. It increases the visibility of the complete IT infrastructure, staff efficiency, security, readability, and performance, reduces costs, and improves the end user’s experience.
Best IT Management Practices to Follow
The IT asset management process must begin from procurement through introduction into the service environment, usage, and eventually disposal. Tracking an asset through all stages of its life cycle increases its lifespan and gives specific information about its utilization.
Adopting a Lifecycle Approach
This approach offers the best chance of fully realizing IT asset value, accounting for them, and ensuring their efficient and effective use. The steps of the IT asset management lifecycle are the following:
- Budgeting and Planning: Budgeting is putting aside the funds needed for sourcing the IT asset cost-effectively and in a timely manner, while aligning with organizational strategy. And planning is creating and deriving interactive reports on different hardware devices used to correctly plan the procurement of new devices. These reports give metrics on already existing assets’ lifespan, utilization, and phases.
- Procurement and Acquisition: Procurement is choosing a vendor from the IT Asset Management tool list, creating a purchase order, and placing it on a template that already exists in the software. Using these templates is usually very easy and comes naturally, just like using a CV template. The acquisition is to buy the IT asset outright or to lease it through a subscription model.
- Maintenance and Assignment: An IT asset management tool helps plan for servicing hardware devices. Maintenance for hardware devices can be scheduled at regular intervals to increase the lifespan of hardware investments. The assignment record should be registered to track ownership. IT assets assigned to end-users must be tagged to service requests, while the ones supporting IT services must be followed through with change requests.
- Utilization and Optimization: Value is realized only when an IT asset is used. The IT asset must be monitored during utilization, tracking performance, depreciation, and capacity metrics. Including when it changes hands through redeployment or reassignment. Optimization is improving the IT asset capability with configuration changes and upgrades that stretch the life and value realized.
- Decommissioning: When an IT asset is no longer useful, it must be recovered from the assigned user or removed from the service environment. Decommissioning also includes the deregistration of the IT asset if it was lost or stolen. Data, licenses, and configurations within the IT asset must be properly transferred or erased based on the policies of the organizational data management.
- Disposal and Replacement: Disposing of an asset makes way for procuring a new asset. A retired asset’s status can be updated before placing a replacement request. Disposal includes formally ending warranty contracts and ensuring that proper records are kept with the disposal’s sanctioning and process details.
This approach applies to all business IT assets, including on-premises and those hosted on the cloud.
Automating and Integrating
The IT Asset Management software will improve many other procedures when it blends with other IT infrastructure components. For example, integrating the IT asset management solution with your IT Service Management (ITSM) software will enhance the service desk, configuration management database (CMDB), endpoint management, change management, and incident management protocols.
The data that the ITAM tool tracks will be shared across other tools instead of residing in unreachable siloes, creating one inclusive source of real-time information. Many capabilities and benefits will be missed when using a standalone system, which is why integrating the asset register with other organizational business systems is a need. If you’re partnered with a Managed Service Provider, or MSP, that can utilize DevOps, they can build out this custom integration for you.
For instance, capturing financial information during acquisition, depreciation, and disposal is permitted when integrating with the organization’s ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning; that provides a unified truth source for a more timely and accurate financial value computation. Flagging unwarranted license usage and illegal assets will be possible when monitoring systems are integrated with the asset register, which is important for service financial management processes and information security. This is why it’s so important to have the right IT services for financial and accounting provider in place. This way you can rest assured all these processes are put in place before something goes wrong, and will be able to monitor such operations 24/7.
Set Your IT Management Up for Success!
Success in IT Asset Management depends on accurate information on IT assets’ status and continuous monitoring and optimizing IT asset utilization. Since IT assets are directly linked to business value, increasing the likelihood of positive ROI depends on effective management. It is not easy, and much effort is needed to manage the IT asset register and keep it up to date. However, once the system is established, the company will benefit for years, increasing as the ITAM function matures.
Do you have a growing financial, accounting and wealth management business that is looking to succeed in organizing its IT asset management processes? Nerds Support specializes in providing quality IT solutions for these industries and more, helping you reach your goals in the long term. Contact us today for a free IT Consultation!