IT asset management is comprised of the business practices that bring together your financial, contractual and inventory functions to manage the lifecycle of your IT assets and make strategic decisions for IT. When done properly, IT asset lifecycle management makes your IT infrastructure completely transparent and provides insight into the following:
- Your systems and equipment
- Where components are located
- How assets are used
- How much assets cost
- When components were added to your inventory
- If and when your assets expire
- How your assets effect the services you provide
Through IT asset management, you can capture valuable information about an asset, such as its make and specification, when you receive it and where you store it in a repository. You can then track the asset, as well as its status and user information, and increase or decrease the number of similar assets you have as necessary. Accurate IT asset management also enables you to receive reports about an asset’s warranty and expiration. In short, ITAM gives you access to an asset’s lifecycle data from the moment you request the asset through the time it expires or is decommissioned.
Why Asset Management Has Failed to Deliver
While it’s easy to imagine the benefits of proper IT asset lifecycle management, the truth is that IT asset management has failed to deliver on what should be its inherent value for many organizations. Some reasons for this are basic. In many instances, different data repositories within the same organization use different naming conventions and include incomplete or fragmented discovery information, which need to be reconciled. Once everything’s normalized, it has to then be compared to license entitlement, which may involve another rationalization process.
For these reasons, it can be difficult at best to align contract and vendor information with your assets’ data.
While those are the basic reasons IT asset management has often failed to deliver on its promise, there’s a broader, more complex reason why it typically falls short: IT asset management normally occurs from the bottom up. This means asset lifecycle management ordinarily involves collecting a tremendous amount of data that’s often confusing and conflicted because it’s gathered without a specific purpose or end goal.
How to Execute Proper IT Asset Management
For most organizations, IT asset management isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. This makes it critical for you to know how to execute proper IT asset management. The first step is to have the intention of completing the full circle, from the beginning of the lifecycle until its end, for the customer, provider and manager.
The next step is to view IT asset management as a shared process that starts at the top rather than the bottom. Understand who is going to use the asset data you collect and why they’re going to use it. This will give you a customer-centered perspective on the data you’re gathering and organizing. It will also enable you to limit the data you need to the bare minimum. As you limit the data you collect, you’ll need to implement a curation closed-loop process that will generally improve the quality of your data as time passes.
Being proactive with designing a clear process will also help you improve the quality of your data. The process you develop, as well as how you govern your assets, will determine the accuracy of your data. If your data is inaccurate, you will not be able to report your organization’s current IT usage or accurately anticipate its future IT needs.
While there may be many sources for asset data, instead of having multiple repositories for your data, effective asset management requires federating key data into a centralized databank and assigning asset manager roles to oversee assigned assets throughout their lifecycles. By ensuring everyone adheres to your asset management processes and performing audits / reconciliations on your data, you’ll ensure your data is accurate and timely enough to be useful to the business.