IT asset management (ITAM) is an extremely important part of any business. ITAM involves carefully keeping track of information technology assets and related expenses and resources.
IT asset management (ITAM) is the process of uniquely identifying and tracking all devices and software purchased or rented by an organization. For larger organizations, this is important to have in place because it gives leaders in an organization an up-to-date, at-a-glance view of asset costs, depreciation rates and product characteristics such as version and warranty provisions.
Those data points help IT leadership make informed decisions about software and hardware investments, and also contribute important information for IT service desk support purposes.
ITAM’s Role in Your Business
ITAM plays an integral role in operating a business efficiently. Most ITAM software allows you to keep track of all of your IT assets, such as servers, computers or even employees’ mobile phones and their data, in one place. This software also lets you track how much your business spends on its IT assets as well as any problems that occur, such as server crashes or even employees’ inability to access email accounts on work phones.
When you connect your ITAM to a service management solution and a configuration management database (CMDB), it will allow you to keep track of incidents involving your assets and measure your assets’ performance. It empowers your business to continue making cost-conscious choices and makes managing your IT resources, technology investments and capital expenditure planning easier.
Why Is Employee Compliance Important?
Once your business begins to use ITAM, employee compliance is essential. You must be able to ensure employees don’t install unwanted software or hardware since this could negatively affect your company’s ITAM. Your ITAM can track when someone adds extra software or hardware, but it’s a better idea to avoid such additions altogether to minimize problems. It may be prudent to include several rules about this behavior in your employee handbook.
Ensuring employee compliance can also keep you from failing an audit due to unlicensed software or help you avoid an audit altogether. Audits are very time consuming and can run up costs for lawyers and various fines. It is also essential your employees understand the need to keep your company’s information and data confidential.
Managing the IT Life Cycle
ITAM solutions help manage the “life cycle” of your assets or the amount of time that hardware and software typically last and how often you must replace it. Here we list some steps you can take to ensure your ITAM stays current.
1. Update your data and software.
ITAM software can work well only if both the data and the software are up to date. It is essential to keep your software updated and frequently run scans to ensure you keep a proper catalog of your assets. A key function of ITAM is keeping track of the life cycle of every piece of equipment, which helps you understand that IT assets have different life spans and that you need to replace them accordingly.
2. Conduct periodic internal audits.
These audits check for ownership documentation and compliance with government regulations and contracts so you can prepare for any third-party audits.
3. Delegate oversight.
Someone within your company must be in charge of your ITAM, but who? If your business is large, limiting the job to a single person may be overwhelming. It would probably be helpful to assemble an ITAM committee to organize the data in your software. The committee is there to create a full IT inventory, prioritize your assets, manage your company’s software licenses, continuously track everything, and ensure your ITAM can change along with the technology your company uses.
4. Grant employees access to data.
It would also be a great idea to make ITAM data visible to all employees within your company. For instance, in many businesses, as much as 80% of the IT budget is invisible to CIOs and IT managers. This means most of these companies make IT purchases with very little oversight. Making this information available to these key leaders would ensure they can control spending.
Opening up your ITAM to all of your employees would allow them to service their own IT problems using software to validate, reassign and retire devices. They could even make simple procurement requests within pre-established funding levels. Also, if you integrate your ITAM with your entire IT infrastructure library (ITIL), your business can align your IT services with its own needs, with direct access to your IT assets.
In short, ITAM is an essential component of companies that heavily leverage technology. With properly managed ITAM, a business can run smoother and save money in the long run.