If someone asked, could you give an accounting of all of the different technology licenses your business manages? If your answer is ‘no,’ you’re not alone. Most of today’s businesses rely on so many devices, SaaS tools, and other tech infrastructure that it’s impossible to keep track of it all, and that can lead to serious problems down the line. That’s why it’s important to implement robust management via IT asset management software, yet many otherwise successful, modern businesses have failed to make this leap. What’s the holdup?
In the simplest sense, many companies have failed to adopt comprehensive IT asset management software and systems because they think they’re performing just fine without it. Most don’t realize how significant the knowledge and performance gaps within their systems are. But, maybe worst of all, many of these companies worry that they’ve fallen so far behind in terms of system upkeep that they’ll discover an unmitigated disaster if they do choose to adopt IT asset management software. The news isn’t so bad, though. With the right tools, your business can get a handle on its internal technology landscape and take steps towards greater efficiency.
IT Asset Management 101
In order to understand IT asset management, it’s important to first understand what is included under the heading of IT assets. A persistently growing category, IT assets include both the software and hardware used by a business. These are likely to be some of the most valuable items a company owns, and they’re critical to daily operations – which is why it’s important to
know what a company owns, where it’s operating or who is using it, whether the technology is properly updated and secured, and it’s final disposition when it’s time to retire a given asset.
Taken in its entirety, asset management accomplishes several major goals. In particular, proactive asset management practices increase productivity by allowing your business’s IT team to prioritize tasks, to automate processes as appropriate, and can even help your business save money. Most importantly, IT asset management is integral to your business’s security infrastructure. What may seem like little more than an inventory list at first, quickly reveals itself to be an integral part of your operation’s strategy.
Systems And Shortcomings
Now that you have a clear sense of what IT asset management is and why it should be considered mission critical, the question remains, how do companies manage this process? Historically, most have used suboptimal, manual approaches – and many are still mired in these outdated practices, which are labor intensive and yield imprecise results. Such approaches include using lists or spreadsheets to identify current assets and their deployments, manual data collection and analysis that can’t keep up with data generation, and piecemeal deployments and upgrades.
Just how cumbersome are such manual approaches? According to an EY report on fixed asset management, current approaches have resulted in a situation in which 56% of IT teams verify asset locations once a year, and 10-15% of teams verify their deployments only every five year – and that’s for the assets they’ve accounted for. Given that only 66% of companies have a complete IT asset record, those evaluations are certain to be incomplete, and the problems with manual asset management don’t end there.
The other core issue with manual asset management is that, in the age of big data, such an approach can’t account for the full extent of information available. Instead, it tends to analyze isolated moments in time, and leads to substantial data accuracy problems. As noted by Enterprise Management Associates, IT teams currently spend more than 10 hours each week attempting to reconcile systems data – time that could be used on other mission critical tasks that can’t be automated. And time waste isn’t the only problem with poor data management. In fact, it’s far less significant than the operational issues that stem from insufficient data analysis. Still, at every level, manual management is expensive and inefficient at a time when there are better options available.
An Enhanced Process
A big part of improving the IT asset management system involves organizing and automating a variety of internal processes, which makes sense if we consider the direction of data systems today overall; as with so many other processes, better asset management actually demands businesses undergo a digital transformation. Particularly, AI-driven tools can rapidly tackle the types of tasks that otherwise consume IT departments, from deploying updates to collecting and analyzing data – but you need the right IT Asset management software if you want to automate those tasks.
A leading IT Asset Management software, AssetSonar provides easy-to-use tools for functions are diverse as basic inventory, license compliance, and data management. When these functions shift from manual, surface-level processes and instead become fully realized analyses of critical systems, suddenly your business is able to accomplish so much more. Businesses often think they can see the bigger picture, from the programs they rely on to the inefficiencies holding them back – until they take that important step forward and start automating and digitizing the IT asset management process. Then it suddenly becomes clear that a lot of details were missing, and your company needs to take a closer look.
The Missing Links
Speaking of missing elements in the IT asset management process and the importance of the digital transformation process, it’s important for businesses to recognize that IT asset management today also needs to include the in-house service process – and this is a big transition. Where before your company’s IT department was likely overwhelmed by the process of identifying assets and performing basic maintenance, they’re now in a position to perform much more high-value upkeep tasks. And now you need a system for managing those services.
IT services management includes tasks like ensuring service request tickets are issued in an orderly manner, that the IT department has all the information they need going into service appointments, and that they have access to any relevant technology’s past service history. Such services management elements contribute to a lifecycle-level understanding of a company’s assets and can help companies recognize when to phase out older equipment for functional and security reasons.
Trimming The Fat
Recall from above how many companies don’t have complete asset listings – and the consider the ramifications of those gaps. If a company can operate without knowing what technology it relies upon, hardware and software alike, it’s unlikely to be running efficiently. And particularly with the growth of software as a service licenses, rather than individual product purchases, that sort of inefficiency is expensive. IT asset management software, then, allows companies to eliminate overspending on technology and prioritize funding for those tools that provide the most substantial benefits.
A Critical Security Boost
When companies invest in IT asset management software, most see security gains from automated patching and upgrading, but the improvements don’t stop there. In fact, one of the more valuable and surprising security boosts companies see stems from the platform’s ability to recognize the impact of outside devices on the whole system. From breaches related to public internet use to employees using their own devices on the company network, the reality is that a lot goes unseen on most networks. But when companies use a comprehensive IT management platform to audit their system, all of those potential problems rise to the surface – of course, that also means they can finally fix these issues.
Escaping The Dark Ages
It’s time to stop treating your company’s asset management needs the way an old-fashioned shop managed its dry goods – with penciled-in lists and manual sales trends. That era ended long ago, or at least it should have, yet so many companies are still insistently addressing their technology needs in this way. Even if your company has taken steps towards digital transformation in other areas, if you haven’t taken appropriate steps to modernize your IT asset management process, it doesn’t matter. IT asset management lets you see the big picture. The bigger question is, what will you find?
Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business.