What should you be looking for in an IT Asset Management software solution?
IT asset management used to be very simple: tracking the laptops, desktops and printers. With the increasing number of networked devices in the company, and the expansion of the responsibilities in the IT departments, IT asset management now can be responsible for mobile devices (and yes Bring Your Own mobile devices), telecom devices, servers and other appliances in the data center
With rapid employee turnover and many devices being shared by multiple people, keeping track of the chain of custody for assets has become an increasing challenge. New rules and regulations on recycling electronic products have also presented complications to the process of asset disposal.
IT asset management should also cover software management. We all know that software asset management has become a major financial risk for some companies. Vendors are tightening their software license compliance audit. This requires companies to better track their software licenses, usage, and compliance. A recent IDC survey indicates that 30% of the enterprise companies are still using spreadsheets to track their software usage and licenses, and one third of the companies are unhappy with their approach to software asset management.
Despite all these complications, IT departments have to provide mission critical support for the business 24/7, keep up with the technology upgrade cycles, and manage their budget prudently. So it’s time to take a step back and think about how the IT departments can manage all the assets. What kind of discipline should the IT departments adopt? What kinds of tools are required? What kind of business processes should be implemented?
How do most IT professionals think about these questions?
I recently did a search on Linked in on this topic and found some answers to the question “What features would you like to see in an online asset management tool?”, the answers are focused on tracking the lifecycle physical and fiscal information of IT assets. I agree with that. This is also how International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers defines that too. They define IT Asset Management as “Join the financial, physical, and contractual responsibilities to manage the overall lifecycle of IT assets”.
Here are some examples from the LinkedIn answers:
- “…reporting. A strong audit trail and the corresponding key reports on activity, turnover, linked up to sales/distribution should ensure that you have a grip on the assets profitability.”
- “If it’s the accounting guys, they are about date in service and depreciation schedules. If it’s the tech guys, they’ll want to know unique identifiers (serial numbers and service tags), the “guts” (processor, memory, HDD, software) and maybe cost and service history. Both would benefit from asset tag #s. If it’s a business owner, probably some of both”
As a provider of IT Asset Management solution, we believe the key features in an IT Asset Management software should include:
- Record the asset’s cost information, as required by your procurement system and fixed asset management system
- Track depreciation on fixed assets
- Record the asset’s physical information, e.g. model, serial number, specs, manufacturer
- Record and update the people who have custody of the asset at any point of time
- Alert if the asset hasn’t been touched for a certain period of time
- Provide a chain of custody for the asset throughout its life
- Attach the contractual details of the asset, including lease, software agreements
- Provide the information any time on where this asset is located physically and organizationally
- Provide alert on maintenance schedule
- Provide customized reports as defined by users
- Connect with barcode readers to update the asset audit information
- Connect with mobile devices
- Provide an exhaustive list of asset disposal options, including reuse and redeployment, resell, and recycle
- Connect with network auto discovery tools to constantly reconcile with asset inventory database
- Integrate with providers of electronics recycling services to attach certificates and disposal reports to the assets