What is IT asset management (ITAM)?

Regardless of your industry or the size of your business, IT asset management (ITAM) should be a critical component of your operations strategy. ITAM is about managing all of the hardware and software a company owns and uses to operate. 

Why is ITAM important? It plays a key role in increasing profitability, reducing unnecessary expenses, and bringing value to the business.

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What is IT asset management?

When a company keeps track of all the tangible and intangible technology assets it owns, it’s performing IT asset management. Tangible assets include computer hardware, mobile phones, desk phones, routers, servers, cables, and other related items. Intangible assets include software licenses and applications. 

The goal of IT asset management is to ensure a company tracks, maintains, and upgrades or repairs all its IT assets, in addition to disposing of assets when they no longer provide value to the business.

A business can only use IT assets for a finite period of time. After a number of years, a mobile phone doesn’t operate as effectively, or a particular software needs an upgrade. Through ITAM, organizations can ensure any given IT asset is continuously helping them operate through the value it offers. 

Once it’s time for a business to retire an IT asset, it becomes a liability. For example, using outdated security software can open up certain vulnerabilities in a network.

What are the benefits of ITAM?

IT asset management enables organizations to run more efficiently and improve the bottom line. Here are several key benefits of ITAM.

  • It creates a centralized source of information. Through ITAM, organizations can centralize all of their IT asset records instead of having them dispersed across departments. This helps a company make more effective use of its assets instead of investing in redundant purchases. 
  • It eliminates wasteful resources. Many organizations have dusty laptops or phones stacked in storage closets that aren’t helping them operate or providing any value. Through ITAM, businesses can more effectively use all their assets without being bogged down by wasteful extras.
  • It increases reliability. When an employee’s laptop or mobile phone needs repair or replacement, ITAM practices ensure the company takes action before any major problems occur. IT asset management takes a proactive approach to maintaining technology instead of reacting to issues after they occur. 
  • It optimizes productivity. If an employee in accounting no longer needs their software license for a particular application, ITAM can ensure another department gets the license. Centralizing resources through ITAM increases efficiency across the company, as employees have access to the tools they need.

What are some IT asset management best practices?

For organizations trying to implement IT asset management effectively, one of the key best practices is to start small. Launch an ITAM pilot within a particular department or business unit, tweak and improve your processes, and then apply it to a larger area of the company. This gradual process enables your business to work out any kinks before implementing ITAM on a wider scale. 

Another best practice is to have a clear understanding of the business’s critical IT assets. These are the assets that are required for the company to function and therefore demand the most attention.

Capturing data as a part of IT asset management is especially important, as it can help organizations learn more about how they function. The data you capture during ITAM can answer questions like these:

  • How many laptops does the company have in circulation? 
  • When do they need updates or repairs? 
  • Why does a particular type of mobile phone require the most updates?
  • Which router regularly halts productivity? 

The information you gather from ITAM can help the organization be more proactive and derive more value from each asset.

IT asset management is a vital part of any business that uses technology like computers, phones, cables, and routers. Now that you know what ITAM is, how it can benefit your business, and the key best practices, it’s time to put it into action at your company.

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