Businesses are always looking for ways to work more efficiently and this is also true in regards to information technology (IT). IT asset management is how businesses make sure those IT resources are being efficiently used.
But what is an asset in IT and what does IT asset management mean? We’ll define that term and the different types of IT assets, including what the life cycle of an IT asset looks like. Then we’ll explain the IT asset management process, including what an IT asset manager does and more.
What Is IT Asset Management?
IT asset management (ITAM) is a process that makes sure that a company’s assets are accounted for, deployed, maintained, upgraded and disposed of when needed. It ensures that tangible and intangible items of value are tracked and used properly.
This provides a single source of truth as opposed to tracking assets in many different places by various people in the company. By keeping track of assets with IT asset management, the work is more efficient and frees teams to focus on more important work.
There’s also less waste when applying IT asset management and utilization is improved, which saves money by avoiding unnecessary purchases and cutting licensing and support costs. You’re also more likely to stay compliant with security and legal policies, which reduces risk.
IT asset management is more than just keeping track of computers but can deliver new functionality and services for platform and infrastructure services. It provides more control, visibility and assigned responsibility avoiding undue costs.
Project management software can help with IT asset management by keeping track of IT assets. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that can help you track all your IT assets. Use our task list to create recurring tasks to never forget when warranties are due or when IT assets need maintenance. You can set it and forget it. Our email notifications and in-app alerts will notify you when those dates are approaching. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
What Is an IT Asset?
An IT asset is the component of a company’s IT environment that’s used for storage, management, control, display, data transmission and more. It can be many things, hardware or software, and is part of the operational or financial success of a business. That’s why tracking IT assets with an IT asset management system is so important.
4 Types of IT Assets
We’ve mentioned that there are many different types of IT assets that will make up a company’s IT inventory. Identifying these IT assets is the first step in an IT asset management strategy. There are four main types of IT assets that we’ll define below.
1. Hardware IT Assets
These are tangible assets that are a part of the company’s IT infrastructure. Some examples of hardware assets in IT include computers, mobile devices, peripherals, servers, routers, printers and scanners as well as security cameras. The challenges of hardware IT assets are effectively monitoring stock, ownership and location, tracking them through their life cycle, detecting early signs of maintenance issues to expand their lifespan and controlling warranties to avoid unnecessary costs.
2. Software IT Assets
Software assets aren’t physical assets, such as hardware, but only exist within those devices. The most common IT assets that are software are licenses, operational systems, applications and programs. These assets must be tracked just as hardware assets are tracked, registering the location, compliance, status and usage. This creates an efficient tracked usage of assets to allocate resources better, minimize the risk of non-compliance or under-licensing and effectively respond to requests for software audits from vendors. IT asset management helps with managing multiple titles, vendors, versions, users and devices.
3. Cloud IT Assets
The third type of IT asset is the cloud. These are virtual resources that are hosted on cloud platforms. They provide an organization with the scalability and flexibility needed to perform its daily operations. Some cloud IT assets are virtual machines, storage resources, networking assets, identity and access management platforms, security services and firewalls. This abstract asset can prove difficult to manage but must be included in an IT asset inventory. What that entails is managing cloud subscriptions, identifying underutilized cloud resources to save money, monitoring resource consumption and predicting future needs. You’ll also need to make sure you’re compliant with cloud service agreements and security policies.
4. Data IT Assets
Finally, there are data IT assets, which are the information an organization collects, processes and stores. These data IT assets must meet compliance and be managed for costs, as they track investments and legal terms. They are such assets as contracts, warranties, locations, users and business applications. They need to be managed over their life cycle. You’ll need to create relationships and dependencies and assign ownership between these and other assets, implement data retention policies for legal requirements, control and protect sensitive data and set up notifications to keep you alert for when contracts and other data IT assets expire.
What Is the IT Asset Life Cycle?
The IT asset life cycle is generally made up of six primary stages. They are planning and request, asset inventory, asset procurement, asset operation & maintenance, asset tracking and asset disposal. The IT asset life cycle is then managed by the IT asset management process, which follows.
IT Asset Management Process
IT asset management is a framework by which an organization manages IT assets throughout its entire life cycle, from planning to disposal. Its goal is to reduce costs and optimize asset utilization. The process follows these steps.
IT Asset Planning & Request
Before purchasing any assets, they have to be requested. This is basically planning. Stakeholders figure out what their objectives are and then which assets they need to achieve them. The planning process then will lead to the request of those assets.
IT Asset Inventory
Once the request has been made it must be approved through the proper channels. Also, one should check on the availability of the IT asset and see if you have any IT asset inventory to fulfill the request. If not, then the IT asset will need to be purchased.
IT Asset Procurement
This stage involves all the measures to make sure that an organization’s assets are acquired, configured, deployed, maintained and properly disposed of—though many of those steps will occur later in the IT asset management process.
IT Asset Operation & Maintenance
Once procured, the IT assets must be deployed. That is they’ll be put into service. This often involves workflow automation so organizations can automatically schedule applications, cloud resources, hardware, etc., for maintenance.
IT Asset Tracking
At this point, an IT asset manager will want to have visibility into the IT asset. This will make sure they’re being used properly and to the best of their ability. Efficient asset usage and identifying and mitigating risk are essential.
IT Asset Disposal
When an IT asset has run its course, it has to be disposed of and then replaced with a new one. There will be established steps to follow in the IT asset disposal process to ensure that it doesn’t lead to any future security risks.
What Does an IT Asset Manager Do?
We’ve mentioned an IT asset manager, but without going into detail about their responsibilities. An IT asset manager maintains an organization’s IT, from hardware and software management to all other IT assets. They have to have visibility into that organization’s IT infrastructure and devices and ensure they’re all functioning as designed.
Key Benefits of IT Asset Management
In passing, we’ve mentioned some of the reasons why IT asset management is so important to any organization that uses IT, which is pretty much all organizations. These are expensive purchases that are essential to an organization’s operation. To neglect them would be to risk damaging or even shuttering the organization. Here’s why.
Supports IT Services & IT Operations
IT asset management helps organizations get quick and easy access to their data, which will improve their general services and operations. That includes reports and tracking issues. Because an organization can get complete data from its IT, the time needed to resolve issues is reduced.
Helps IT Departments Save Costs
By increasing the efficiency of acquiring, maintaining and replacing IT assets, ITAM will also save an organization money. It works to increase the impact of every dollar spent on IT and also will cut redundant and ineffective IT spending. You can remove IT assets that cost you money by redeploying underutilized licenses and devices.
Helps Ensure Quality of IT Services
Having a robust IT asset management system will prevent the loss of data and revenue, as we’ve noted, but it also helps secure your networks. You get an accurate inventory of all your IT assets and help you detect unauthorized assets in your network through the monitoring of ownership, stakeholder access and usage. You can even integrate security-focused tools for greater protection.
How ProjectManager Helps IT Teams
Project management software that helps manage your ITAM and IT management in general by offering secure collaboration and detailed reporting. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that has customizable reports on cost time, workload, progress and more for IT asset management. All reports can be filtered to show only the data you want to track and then can be shared in a variety of formats to keep your stakeholders informed. But there are more features that can help with your IT asset management.
Use Workflow Automation for Cloud Governance
To add agility and streamline your ITAM for greater efficiency, use our workflow automation. You can set up any number of triggers to make any amount of actions you need. Plus, our task authorization feature adds guardrails to the process, ensuring that users do the right thing. This is especially useful with our cloud-based software, which gives your organization scalability, reliability and security as we are SOC 2 certified. Automated workflows can be applied from everything to shipping computers to remote teams to reclaiming unused licenses.
Being able to identify risks to your IT assets and plan to mitigate them before they have a negative impact on your organization is a big part of IT asset management. With our risk cards, you can identify risks, set priorities, the likelihood of occurrence and even impact on your IT infrastructure. Then, if the risk becomes an actual issue, you have the response and team member responsible for implementing it all in place, which can then be tracked on kanban boards, task lists or one of our other multiple project views.
Our software provides security for managing IT projects, resources and changes. You can build plans and manage your entire portfolio of IT projects all from one flexible tool. Track IT assets, get an overview whenever you want with our real-time dashboards and manage resources, workflows and more. We also seamlessly integrate with Jira, Teams and Slack.
ProjectManager is online project management software that connects teams whether working in the office or remotely. They can share files, comment at the task level and securely collaborate. Use view-only guest licenses and more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.