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IT Asset Management Best Practices: A Guide

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The complexity of managing IT assets, especially across time zones and regions, can lead to inefficiencies, ballooning costs, and compliance risks. IT professionals can be fraught with this conundrum, which could cost you time and money.

What’s needed is an IT asset management (ITAM) strategy that provides opportunities for optimization, risk management, and cost savings.

According to Gartner, organizations that implement comprehensive ITAM practices can experience cost savings of 10% to 20%.

With the right approach and framework, asset management can be transformed from a complex function into a strategic tool for decision-making and maximizing ROI.

In this article, we’ll explore ITAM's best practices and strategies for streamlining domestic and global IT asset management.

Understanding IT Asset Management

Picture a dimly lit room stacked with desktops and laptops.

There are paper records, rolls of numbered asset stickers and spreadsheets everywhere, and one harassed and overworked asset manager trying to keep on top of the day-to-day management of hardware assets.

If you’ve been in the IT game long enough, you might remember how IT asset management used to work and perhaps still does in your organization to some degree. This antiquated approach was a breeding ground for inefficiencies, cost overruns, and compliance headaches.

Fortunately, times have moved on, and we now have tools and resources to ease the heartburn that asset management can cause.

Per Deloitte, only 38% of organizations have a fully implemented ITAM program, while 24% have not implemented any ITAM measures at all.

With the right processes and strategies, you can take a structured approach to managing the lifecycle of IT assets within your organization. But more on this later. First, let’s take a closer look at the hurdles asset management can throw in your path.

The Challenge of Managing Today’s IT Assets

IT assets have evolved significantly over the years to keep pace with technological advancements and the companies leveraging the latest technology to stay ahead of the curve. The term ' IT assets ' is broad and diverse, from desktop computers and servers to software-as-a-service (SaaS) models and company data.

Parallel to the evolution of IT assets, organizations have also undergone rapid and significant transformation.

Companies that were once brick-and-mortar operations are now digital-first entities that operate on a global scale. Employees who were once required to work in a company office can now work remotely from home or on the road.

This metamorphosis has had a huge impact on asset management needs and processes.

Common IT asset management pain points include:

  • Tracking Ownership: Keeping tabs on who owns which asset is one of the biggest ITAM pain points. For many organizations, this process involves maintaining records across disparate databases or spreadsheets, which leads to a significant drain on resources.
  • HR Processes and Asset Management in Different Systems: When HR processes and asset management are scattered across various systems, they create a cluttered and disjointed experience open to errors and inefficiencies. This disparity complicates onboarding and offboarding processes and could expose your organization to compliance risks.
  • ISO Requirements for Asset Localization: Every asset must be tracked accurately to satisfy ISO requirements, from desktops and laptops to keyboards and mice. This level of granularity requires meticulous tracking and documentation.
  • Providing Worldwide IT Support: Things become even more complex when you need to provide IT support on a global scale. From time zone differences to varying local regulations, worldwide IT support can be fraught with hurdles. For example, ensuring the timely deployment of equipment regardless of location requires a robust and adaptable IT infrastructure and a solid ITAM strategy.

To manage today’s assets effectively, IT managers are setting their sights on dynamic and scalable ITAM solutions—solutions that provide comprehensive visibility and control over sprawling and ever-evolving ecosystems.

ITAM: Once Just a Cost Center, Now a Strategic Enabler

Where once ITAM was a cost center, it is now a strategic enabler of digital transformation and value creation. As today’s IT assets and their environments have evolved, so too have the advantages of effective IT asset management.

Let’s examine these benefits and how you can leverage ITAM effectively within your organization.

Streamlining Costs and Maximizing Asset Utilization

Modern ITAM solutions provide a detailed and holistic view of your asset inventory, including tangible devices and intangible digital resources. Such a high level of visibility helps you to identify underutilized assets, redundant subscriptions, and assets ready to be decommissioned.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

Compliance is a major consideration whether you manage assets in one geographic location or distribute them worldwide. Today’s businesses face a myriad of regulations, making ITAM an essential tool for compliance.

The right ITAM solution ensures adherence to hardware and data handling regulations and up-to-date software licensing. This not only helps you avoid legal penalties but also boosts your company’s track record for regulatory compliance and ethical practices.

Reducing the Risk of Data Breaches

According to recent studies, 63% of businesses have experienced a data breach due to employees working remotely. With this in mind, it’s never been more important to incorporate cybersecurity within your ITAM strategy. From rolling out security patches to the secure disposal of hardware and wiping of data, a solid ITAM strategy eliminates much of the risk involved with remote working.

How ITAM Manages the Entire IT Asset Lifecycle

The overarching benefit of a solid ITAM strategy is that it streamlines the entire IT asset lifecycle, from procurement and deployment to decommissioning and disposal. Let’s take a closer look.

Planning

ITAM helps you to identify and align technical needs with your business objectives. You’ll not only lay the foundation for an efficient IT infrastructure but also avoid unnecessary spending.

Procurement

From overseeing vendor selection and negotiating contracts, ITAM ensures you get the best return on your investment in IT assets.

CTA - 10 steps to optimize your IT procurement process blog

Deployment

Whether you have a workforce of 20 or 200, efficient deployment of IT assets is crucial. ITAM ensures correct asset configuration, licensing, and integration with your IT infrastructure, ensuring assets are ready to use no matter where they are deployed.

Maintenance

Once your assets are deployed, they will need regular maintenance. ITAM prevents downtime and extends asset life through regular security updates and performance monitoring.

Disposal

When they reach the end of their useful life, your IT assets will need to be decommissioned and disposed of. ITAM ensures secure, responsible disposal or repurposing of assets and data wiping without the worry of data breach risks.

Core IT Asset Management Practices

From maintaining an up-to-date asset inventory to procuring and distributing assets, a robust ITAM strategy is critical for operational efficiency and compliance. This strategy should consist of core IT asset management practices that ensure the strategic and efficient management of IT resources.

Maintaining an Accurate IT Asset Inventory

Accurate IT asset tracking depends on an up-to-date asset inventory. Tools like barcoding and RFID streamline this process, providing precise tracking and management of all IT equipment down to the very last mouse or USB drive. These tools help to ensure assets are utilized efficiently, and equipment is where it needs to be.

Software Licensing Management

Effective software licensing prevents underutilization and helps you to dodge non-compliance fines. Software inventory tools enable organizations to track and manage licenses accurately. From operating systems and cloud services, ITAM optimizes software investments and secures your legal standing.

Policy Development and Documentation

Beyond the nuts and bolts of keeping inventory and managing licensing, a robust ITAM strategy must be supported by policies and documentation. Well-defined and documented policies and procedures ensure that all IT assets are managed consistently and strategically throughout their lifecycle. At the very least, clear procurement, usage, and decommissioning policies should be in place.

Best Practices in Asset Management

Navigating the twists and turns of the digital world demands more than just good tech—it requires smart management and understanding of that tech.

Good ITAM practices offer a roadmap to make every piece of technology count.

Let’s take a quick dive into ITAM best practices, how to implement them and what they can do for your business.

Regular Audits and Reporting

Accurate tracking of IT assets requires periodic audits. Detailed audit reports help highlight discrepancies and reveal opportunities for optimization. For example, your next audit could identify underutilized software licenses that can be canceled or reallocated, saving costs in the process.

Implementing a Centralized ITAM System

A centralized IT asset management system manages the details throughout the asset lifecycle, giving you full visibility and control of your inventory no matter where it is located.

When comparing solutions, consider factors and features like compatibility with existing systems, user-friendliness, and scalability.

Integration with Other Organizational Processes

The right ITAM solution should integrate seamlessly with other processes within your organization, such as financial planning, security processes, and operational strategies.

Disposal and Asset Recovery

Adopting a secure and environmentally friendly disposal plan not only ensures compliance with data protection regulations but also raises your green credentials. Taking a strategic approach to asset recovery can also maximize the value recouped from the disposal of obsolete assets.

Training and Awareness

A good ITAM solution is only as good as the people who understand how to get the best from it. By empowering employees with the knowledge to leverage all that ITAM tools and policies have to offer, you can build a competent and proactive workforce.

Vendor Management

One of the biggest challenges of managing IT assets is juggling multiple vendor relationships. So, what can you do to simplify this area of ITAM? A key factor in your ITAM strategy should be maintaining strong partnerships with vendors and suppliers. ITAM can play a pivotal role in this function, from conducting regular reviews to securing favorable terms.

Financial Optimization

ITAM can also identify cost-saving opportunities throughout your organization. For example, better visibility across your asset estate can help you to reallocate devices more efficiently and optimize licensing. Most importantly, a solid ITAM strategy ensures that IT spending aligns with business objectives, maximizing ROI throughout the organization.

Exploring ITAM Software Features

In the pursuit of the ideal IT asset management solution, IT leaders should zone in on sophisticated features that ensure compliance and elevate efficiency and cost savings across the board.

Start With a Solid Procurement Strategy

A sensible starting point is an intuitive self-service portal that streamlines the procurement process. This feature allows for precise budget allocation across departments, enabling tailored and controlled spending that aligns with business objectives.

Furthermore, a customized IT catalog that allows employees to choose their own equipment simplifies the procurement process and ensures they have the equipment they need to be at their most productive.

Eliminate Onboarding Delays

Choosing a software with a simple and intuitive request and approval process will eliminate onboarding delays and ensure employees have the tools they need to do their jobs. Consider a platform with role-based automation to enhance workflow efficiency, ensure timely procurement and deployment, and reduce the margin for error.

Enable Smooth and Timely Deployment

One of the biggest challenges of distributing IT assets is delivery and set-up delays, especially when equipment needs to be sent overseas. Choose a system that offers flexible delivery options and ensures assets are pre-installed with the settings, apps, and security that align with your policy.

Failsafe Tracking Options

On the management side, a comprehensive tracking function is essential. This feature not only provides visibility of your IT estate but also ensures compliance with regulations such as ISO. The right system will enable effective asset deployment, renewal, maintenance, and disposal and give you full control throughout the asset lifecycle.

Automated Offboarding

When it comes to asset retrieval and disposal, sustainability and efficiency are paramount. Automated offboarding streamlines the retrieval process and highlights your organization’s dedication to sustainability and value recovery.

Robust Security and Compliance Features

Security is paramount when IT assets are scattered across the globe. Choose a system that safeguards your digital estate with robust security credentials, such as ISO 27001 certification and strict compliance with GDPR guidelines.

Seamless Integration with Other Systems

The last thing you want is another standalone system that creates extra or unnecessary workflows. Select a solution that integrates smoothly and seamlessly with existing systems, such as your MDM or provisioning systems.

Keep ITAM smart and simple. Workwize stands at the forefront of your ITAM transformation and is the only solution you need to implement a robust ITAM framework throughout your organization. Start your journey by requesting a demo.

FAQs

How do you manage IT assets effectively?

To manage IT assets effectively, adopt a centralized ITAM system, conduct regular audits, streamline procurement and deployment, ensure compliance and software license management, utilize tracking for maintenance, and adopt secure disposal practices.

What are the three main deliverables of IT asset management?

The three main deliverables of IT asset management are a comprehensive asset inventory and documentation, cost savings through optimized asset utilization, and enhanced compliance with reduced security breach risks.

What are the IT asset management activities?

IT asset management activities include tracking and documenting inventory, overseeing the asset lifecycle from procurement to disposal, managing finances and costs, ensuring compliance and security, and managing vendor contracts.

What are the practices of asset management?

Asset management practices involve regularly updating and auditing inventories, implementing lifecycle management, conducting cost-benefit analysis, establishing procurement and disposal policies, and integrating ITAM with other business processes. 

Get a centralized view of all equipment assignments—say goodbye to disorganized spreadsheets.

Workwize lets you track and manage your IT assets from day 1. Connect with your HRIS system, integrate devices with MDM, provide global tech support, and so much more!

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