Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G technology – the amount of innovation happening in the digital world right now is transforming the landscape at a rapid pace. Digitization is no longer something businesses are just thinking about – it’s one of the primary focuses as we enter into 2022. This emphasis on digitization requires a huge investment in IT hardware and software, as well as dedicated IT asset management software to maintain proper alignment and visibility.
What is IT asset management?
IT asset management, frequently referred to as ITAM within the industry, is a set of practices businesses use to make sure all of the organization’s technology assets are accounted for, utilized and maintained properly. It also includes aspects like upgrading software at the right time, as well as safely and securely disposing of hardware that is no longer needed.
Simply put, IT asset management is responsible for ensuring all technology – whether physical or digital – is being utilized to its full potential. When there’s a strong IT asset management strategy in place, all other processes are able to fire click on all cylinders.
As the Senior Writer at CIO, Sarah K. White explains, “ITAM’s ability to foster deeper insights into your organization’s IT assets can help IT executives visualize the ROI on IT assets and deliver data to other key stakeholders on how those assets directly benefit the company’s business goals.”
Done well, a good ITAM strategy saves money and gives the company greater visibility and control over its IT landscape. Lack of a proper strategy gives way to confusion, inefficiencies, and vulnerabilities that eventually weakens the organization.
4 tips for a better approach to IT asset management
Due to the rise in digitization and the growing problem of technology sprawl, discerning business leaders are taking IT asset management more seriously than ever before. If you’re interested in shifting or improving your own approach, here are several tips you may find helpful.
1. Designate an IT Asset Manager or Team
Managing technology assets can be a full-time job. In larger organizations, don’t make the mistake of assigning it to one of your team members on a part-time basis. In other words, we
don’t recommend adding it to someone else’s plate. You’re better off making it someone’s full-time position.
A full-time IT asset manager is responsible for assisting in the creation of procurement strategies to ensure technology spending is optimized across the entire organization. This individual will also help architect and implement procedures for tracking all company assets and oversee quality control for both hardware and software.
If your company is still relatively small and you’re simply looking to get ahead of the game by developing a proactive ITAM strategy that will scale with your business, you might be able to get away with appointing someone to this role in conjunction with other responsibilities.
However, approach it with the assumption that this role will eventually morph into a full-time position. (And if you have a larger organization, you may need an entire team of people working in IT asset management roles, rather than a single person.) The emphasis on digitization will only become more important over the next 12 to 18 months. It’s wise to be prepared.
2. Invest in the right software
Trying to manually track your IT assets is inefficient (at best) and, in most cases, you lose time and money while dealing with inefficiencies and human errors. There are so many moving parts that you’re bound to miss things. IT asset management software can help streamline and automate these tasks so that nothing falls through the cracks.
A dedicated IT asset management solution can ensure software compliance, lower hardware downtime, and help your business be audit-ready at all times. It does all of this by effortlessly humming along in the background. Once it is set up, you simply monitor your dashboard, analyze the trends, and follow the key alerts and notifications as they come in.
Visibility is one of the biggest benefits of integrating IT asset management software into your business. You get comprehensive dashboards that provide insightful reports in real-time. In addition to giving organizations more information to work with, the increased compliance and lifestyle management leads to significant cost savings that are enjoyed throughout the company.
3. Get Executive Buy-In
Many organizations make the mistake of only involving a couple of “IT folks” in ITAM decision-making processes. While these individuals should certainly be the ones leading the charge, it’s wise to get executive buy-in from the start.
Once you have executive buy-in, shift your focus to engaging all other key players and stakeholders. You’re not necessarily asking them for permission, but you are catching them up to speed and letting them know why certain decisions are being made (and what benefits
they’ll provide). Believe it or not, your approach to IT asset management affects everyone across the organization. By listening to their concerns, expectations, requirements, and constraints, you can make better decisions. We recommend consulting with stakeholders multiple times each year to see how things are going.
4. Revisit, Review, and Iterate
Your IT assets aren’t stagnant – and your IT asset management strategy shouldn’t be either. Asset inventory is constantly changing. Technology is continually evolving. Best practices come and go. Hardware breaks down. Software flaws emerge. In light of this, you can’t sit back and wait.
Constantly revisit and review your asset inventory so that you can make iterative decisions along the way. Assets should be updated on an ongoing basis, rather than once or twice per year as part of an annual analysis. (Thankfully, having the right asset management software makes this easy to track.)
Adding it all up
IT asset management isn’t something that most business owners spend a lot of time thinking about, but it definitely should be. As digitization trends intensify and we continue to adopt innovative technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and 5G, it’s the organizations that support these investments with strong ITAM strategies that will yield rich dividends for years to come.