The benefits of IT asset management
Properly tracking your IT assets helps you avoid unscheduled downtime, skip unnecessary asset purchases, and take the pain out of software audits.
Today, many businesses trust a third-party tech support provider to track the lifecycle of their business-critical hardware and software. Others have opted to maintain this information in-house. Regardless of which path you choose for your business, IT asset management (ITAM) is a crucial practice.
What is IT asset management?
IT asset management is pretty much what it sounds like: the practice of keeping track of your company's IT assets, including but not limited to:
A network security assessment is a great way to get an initial hold of all the devices on your network.
Why does my business need an IT asset management plan?
Below are the three main benefits of IT asset management.
1. IT asset management avoids downtime by identifying aging equipment.
Your IT network runs on a combination of software, boxes, circuits, cords and wires, and every single piece has a usable lifespan. If a single piece breaks, the entire network may be affected. While components are becoming more robust and reliable every day, equipment still breaks down and requires eventual replacement.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t realize this until something actually breaks and takes down their IT network. Unscheduled downtime is expensive because, as the name implies, it is unexpected. By keeping an eye on the age of your equipment, you can make replacements proactively, which prevents unscheduled downtime and saves you money.
2. IT asset management avoids unnecessary spending on new IT infrastructure.
After reading that last paragraph, you may be tempted to start looking around for old hardware to replace, but take it from us: Don’t be over-zealous in your efforts. Replacing aging IT assets can be expensive.
You’ll need to prioritize which equipment to replace first. Asset tracking is key to this process. If you have a brand new IT budget but realize that your employees’ laptops have another year left under their warranties, your money would be better spent somewhere else.
Also, you may feel the need to buy new hardware or new software licenses when onboarding new employees. But IT asset management allows you to keep track of excess hardware and licenses resulting from previous employee offboardings. Reusing these already-available assets creates big savings for your business.
3. IT asset management makes software auditing easier.
Has your business ever been subject to a software audit? If so, you know it’s not a very fun process.
You may remember software company representatives demanding long lists of license numbers, trying to ensure that you could properly account for each instance of their product detected on your network. For those who have not yet felt this pain, and those who expect to feel it again soon, consider a change to your IT asset management strategy.
Software asset tracking doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can save you a great deal of time and hassle down the road. Take steps to record which employee is using which software packages, and record the license number/code for each of those software instances on their machine.
Make no mistake, hunting this information down won’t be easy. However, the effort will have been well worth it. The next time your company receives a software audit request, all you have to do is open a database to find the information you need.
While it may take a little extra time and effort to get a handle on all of your organization’s hardware and software assets, it’s well worth taking the time to do it. There’s nothing more important than keeping your employees productive and your customers satisfied. Asset tracking, combined with network documentation, is one way to ensure that your network and devices will be there when you need them to keep your business running in peak condition.