Growth in an IT organization is inevitable and systemic — oftentimes, spanning all sectors and structures of IT solutions. For most IT managers, system administrators, and other management personnel, the focus of growth is to reduce operational costs while still creating a supply of new features for growing business demands.
Still, in the competitive market of digital transformation, it is difficult to scale and boost assets with maximum ROI. This challenge is due to the fast-paced distribution of workforce, and the complexity of analyzing and tracking data from both virtual and physical IT Assets. Poor asset management is due to lack of a centralized system. This leads to reduced revenue, poor service delivery, higher operational costs and low in-house performance.
Data tracking is only one facet of managing assets. A more critical aspect is identification of potential risks and new opportunities for efficiency. In fact, it is high risk to only maintain a certain level of growth in competitive IT markets.
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Hence the need to always manage assets in such a way that opens opportunities for scalability and expansion. While IT asset management involves cycles of hardware auditing and refreshing, discarding old software and meeting compliance needs of license renewals, there are critical steps you can take to reduce costs and risks in the management of assets in every stage of an IT asset lifecycle.
What is IT asset management?
Every organization deals with assets which can be hardware, software, and valuable info. IT asset management is a systematic process for the identification, deployment, maintenance, upgrading and timely disposal of an organization’s assets.
ITAM ensures that every asset in an organization is not only used, but tracked, improved on, and discarded to meet set compliance. Assets have a lifetime value, which makes it more important to manage them proactively. Asset management aids IT departments to extend management practices beyond just their domain for improved flexibility and adaptability. This mode of management is more efficient than past practices of controlling assets within a domain.
Reducing risks and costs with IT asset life cycle management
IT asset lifecycle management applies different processes and systems in the form of life cycles that are adaptable to an organization to help in reducing costs and risks of owning assets while also determining opportunities for growth.
IT asset life cycle is a crucial part of IT asset management and involves a system of processes. These processes can vary from organization to organization, but they can be distinctly grouped into stages of planning, procurement and scheduling, deployment and maintenance, and utilization and disposal. If properly followed, managers can cut down on costs and risks in every stage of the cycle.
This is the first stage of asset life cycle that involves verification of asset requirements. IT managers determine the requirements of assets by evaluating existing assets. Assets are evaluated by their delivery efficiency for on-demand services.
This means that to properly identify a management strategy in analyzing an asset, IT managers must ensure that every development considered in the planning stage must add value to the organization. The planning stage of asset management should clarify:
- The capacity of existing assets
- Identifying under-used, excess and over-used assets
- Ensuring the liability of assets
- Determining asset levels and resource availability
The planning stage is important as it identifies key areas for implementation and means of delivering value through asset management.
Procurement and scheduling
This stage involves inventory-based decisions on every form of assets. At the end of this stage, IT managers are able to determine what hardware, software, information and licenses that need replacement, renewal or procurement. This stage may lead to further planning for the effective procurement of identified assets.
During procurement, an IT manager can analyze the balance between user needs and company requirements to meet such demands. The use of IT management databases is best to understand this balance. Furthermore, data from other departments can help in validation of specific units needed, the requirements and other intricate details such as location and unique preferences.
Procurement will help to determine:
- The available budget to facilitate the process of either building or buying an asset
- The time frame needed for the acquisition in line with the requirements
- Alignment of budget with current cash flow
Most importantly, organizations can take advantage of using the procurement stage to measure implementation potentials for objectives that will meet service demands.
Through the use of management platforms, IT managers can deploy new asset updates immediately the organization meets all the requirements for assets. To deliver and improve services, data from operating systems, user information and other worthy metrics should be analyzed for efficiency and maintenance.
It is crucial to focus on maintenance from the early stages to create room for opportunities as well as prevent service termination or unstable changes in operational requirements. This stage requires high-level proactivity if organizations need to cut costs in the future.
Utilization and disposal
Understanding how assets are used is important to help IT managers spot opportunities for growth. Licensing costs alone can be reduced by consolidating assets. Dependencies such as servers for service offerings of assets can also be accessed for efficient service delivery substitution and optimization.
When assets are no longer in use for their specified purpose, they are labeled as underperforming or surplus. IT managers can choose to delete or deactivate such an asset. In the life-cycle of asset management, there are three main ways for asset disposal:
- Location transfer: This involves the transfer of assets to a different location proven to maintain or reduce operational costs while meeting service demands.
- Shipping assets to owners: This is for assets that happen to be from grants, contractors or guarantees.
- Retiring assets: This can be donation, selling, e-cycling or total destruction of assets depending on IT compliance requirements.
The key considerations of disposal in IT asset management is not only to cut costs, but also to ensure compliance.
Benefits explored with IT Management Systems
Centralized source for analysis
CIO’s and IT managers used to track company assets in a lot of places by a lot of people. This caused chaos, increasing costs and the inaccurate flow of information, which ultimately affected decisions.
Certain companies still outsource a special team of IT asset management personnel to keep track of assets. But they cannot be as efficient as a consolidated approach — ITAM. This allows convenient access of data needed to make decisions all from one source. Information such as license expiry, subscription renewals and usage help organizations cut costs by high margins.
Automation and scale
While asset management systems can bring order by centralizing every snippet of information needed to make decisions, they also help IT teams and management personnel to have ample time to focus on implementing opportunities for scaling.
Informed procurement and deployment decisions
With an ITAM system, data from past purchasing and deployment strategies are used to guide IT managers on future decisions. Factors such as location, vendors and price points are easily estimated. Such data are also used to improve asset quality and reduce resources wasted in purchase of resources that are not really needed.
Managing total cost of ownership
The cost of assets is not just about the price paid during procurement. Operational costs are part of the costs, and the costs of support and maintenance accrue as an organization provides services to end users. IT asset management systems will greatly help to reduce TCO resulting from the duplication of assets or under-used assets.
Standardization and employee management
Lack of standardization of IT equipment and software results in less productivity for IT staff, increased operating costs and longer learning curves. IT asset management helps managers to set a standard for IT assets that meets the services needs for in-house staff as well as end users. It becomes easier for both small and large organizations to align assets with their businesses for measurable benefits. Even better, asset managers and CMBD users are able to learn the usability of an asset quickly for improved productivity.
Utility improvement and waste elimination
Asset management can simultaneously keep track of several facets and stages of assets in an organization. The updated information assists in efficient utilization by helping teams eliminate excesses. Utilization can help to save money and support costs through purchase and license management.
IT asset management systems do not only ease data collection. IT asset management is only valuable to organizations when they can analyze their wealth of data and put it to effective use.
While there are numerous variables to consider such as what makes up your IT environment, budget allocation and ROI, ITAM can only help organizations manage risks if they are in the hands of the people who need to use it across all stages.