How do you manage the inventory of IT hardware accurately?

Features In IT Asset Management Solutions

Last week, we talked about what you should be looking for in an IT asset management solution. The solution should track the inventory and life-cycle costs of your IT assets, both hardware and software, accurately. It will take some “must have” features to support these tasks of asset management and you need to look for these features when selecting an IT asset management solution.

I want to follow up and zoom into the area of tracking IT hardware and illustrate why these features are needed.

Accurately tracking IT hardware is necessary both for financial and regulatory reasons:

  • The IT department needs to accurately predict the budget they need for hardware replacement and upgrade, therefore they need to know what equipment are coming to the end of life-cycle
  • The IT department needs to ensure all equipment that access to their network data are accounted for and meet certain security parameters so they can protect their data and meet the requirements from Sarbanes Oxley

But IT departments are challenged to keep the updated list of IT hardware, for a couple of reasons:

  • Other departments are acquiring laptops, printers, and other networked devices, without necessarily providing that information to the asset registry maintained in the IT department or the Finance Department
  • The proliferation of Bring Your Own Devices, these devices paid for by employees but used to access corporate data
  • Manual inventory of distributed IT hardware is a very time consuming effort, requiring a lot of coordination. Imagine ask all your employees to bring in their laptops and tablet computers to the company during one specific inventory audit week, or imagine manually read all the barcodes on hardware tightly stacked in data centers. How disruptive that would be!

In order to keep track of an accurate list of IT assets, IT departments need to use a couple of tools together, and these tools should feed the information to the centralized IT asset registry:

  • Procurement data or shipment data from manufacturers
  • Network auto discovery tools that will report all the devices accessing the network
  • RFID readers that can read RFID tags on hardware devices. According to Frost & Sullivan, IT asset tracking represents $1B market for RFID. We have seen these RFID tags increasingly being deployed in data centers. But using them on hardware used in regular office should also be considered as the cost of RFID tags are declining and their performance is much more reliable

That’s why in last week’s blog article, we stated that the following three, among others, should be the required features in an IT asset management solution:

  • Record the asset’s cost information, as required by your procurement system and fixed asset management system
  • Connect with barcode readers to update the asset audit information
  • Connect with network auto discovery tools to constantly reconcile with asset inventory database

E-ISG provides IT Asset Management solutions. We have packed all the necessary features needed to manage the lifecycle information of IT assets in a low cost package. For new customers, we will work with you to migrate all your data from different systems and spreadsheets, and train the users.

If you want to learn more about how our solution can help you to manage IT assets, please join us at our next webinar at 12:30 p.m., EST, on February 1, 2013. This webinar is about tracking IT assets.

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