Hardware Upgrades and Replacements—Accurate Forecasts or Educated Guesses?
All organizations have multiple computers and devices to keep track of these days. Your company is no exception. This equipment might all be in a single office, or for larger businesses, scattered across the globe. Either way, managing this inventory can be difficult, time-consuming, and error-prone. Tracking your company’s devices requires more than just checking whether they are working or not. You must maintain detailed records, including serial numbers, vendor information, configurations, maintenance history, and warranty instructions.
Overlooking or losing these details can cost your firm time and money, as well as, hinder its productivity.
Early on, you might have decided to create and store these records in a spreadsheet. But the reality is that once you created the document, you needed to maintain the information as details changed, such as when the vendor updates a device’s End-of-Life (EoL) documentation or upgrade firmware. And, as you know, manually revising the documentation for even a single device becomes complex rather quickly. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records for multiple pieces of equipment can be overwhelming. By using spreadsheets, as you’ve probably already learned, you run the risk of making mistakes when upgrading, repairing, or replacing devices.
Here are some of the problems that can occur if you rely on inadequate documentation in your spreadsheets and don’t update or replace your equipment on time.
- Discontinued Vendor Support: Manufacturers set EOL timing for devices as they upgrade their offerings. If you do not upgrade or replace a device on time, you risk disrupting your business operations if the equipment develops problems. You might no longer be able to open a trouble ticket to request technical support. If this scenario happens, you could be stuck with downtime and out-of-warranty repair or replacement costs.
- Security Vulnerabilities: As more and more devices are connected to the internet, security is an increasing concern for all organizations. Equipment that isn’t updated on time is even more vulnerable to hackers, allowing them to gain access to your network, as well as company and customer data.
- Outdated Features: Updated and new product versions generally get new features. If you miss an opportunity to upgrade or replace equipment on time, you lose the benefits of the newest technology.
These outcomes are just some of the ways not making hardware replacements or upgrades on time costs companies time and money. Manually documenting all the information associated with an asset (e.g., type of machine, model, EoL dates, firmware, updates, repairs, location, user, etc.) is challenging, to say the least.
There is an easier way: IT asset management software makes it significantly easier to manage your inventory. To help ensure that you get all the benefits of an ITAM software, look for these features:
- Device Location and Details:The software should have the ability to automatically find each device in your network or easily input this data for future record. In addition to locating assets, it should display the details of each device, including the vendor it was purchased from, the manufacturer, the model, its IP address, the status and configuration of the device, its repair history, and warranty information.
- Device Status:An automated network inventory software should be able to provide:
- Operating System (OS) details
- The date of the most recent OS update
- New OS market availability
- Dates software maintenance will end
- Dates product sales will be discontinued
- Part/serial number
- Custom Note Fields: The ability to create your own notes is an additional benefit of automated network inventory software. Custom note fields allow you to include details such as device location specifics, purchase dates, end-user information, etc.
- Filtering: When you have multiple devices with all asset details documented, it is cumbersome to find all the devices associated with a single piece of information. For example, the ability to sort based on an end-of-sale date allows you to identify all the equipment that will need to be replaced at the same time and negotiate the most cost-effective deal to do so.
- Alerts: You can further facilitate timely planning by receiving notifications (either by email or popup) about upcoming hardware upgrades, or warnings when a device is reaching its end-of-software-maintenance or end-of-support date. Such alerts help ensure that you don’t suffer from the problems of missed updates discussed above.
Avoid problems with network inventory. Don’t miss important dates for upgrading or replacing assets by using alerts. Make decisions based on accurate information rather than educated guesses. Save money by not paying for out-of-warranty repairs. Quickly locate and identify devices with filtering. There are so many benefits of using automated network inventory software to maintain device records instead of a manually updated system. You will save time, money—and perhaps even your sanity.
To see these benefits in action, download a free trial of SolarWinds® Web Help Desk®, a web-based ticketing and IT asset management software that is capable of helping your businesses get ahead and stay ahead of your technology needs by tracking IT investments efficiently.