The pace of technological change is speeding up and expanding to businesses of all sizes in every industry. As your company grows, so too will your tech inventory. There are a wide variety of forces that lead organizations to acquire new technology, including a desire for increased efficiency, to support expansion, or to comply with changing regulations. Regardless of the reason why your needs change, as your inventory increases, you will struggle with asset sprawl.
Managing a growing number of devices is only one facet of managing asset sprawl. You will need to upgrade and, eventually, replace each piece of hardware, plus manage change requests over the life of this equipment. These additional considerations add to the challenge of keeping track of your company’s technology inventory. Any asset additions, removals, replacements, and other changes increase the burden to your IT help desk. For small or mid-sized businesses with limited budgets, keeping up with these rapid and growing changes can quickly overwhelm your team.
Fortunately, technology also offers budget-friendly solutions that can ease the burden on your IT help desk team. As a system administrator, it is important that you understand IT asset management (ITAM) so you can demonstrate the value of ITAM to company leadership. Here are three tips for efficient asset management.
The first step in IT asset management is documenting your inventory. Make a list of all devices, including laptops, desktop computers, and servers. Include information about their hardware components and any software installed. You can create this file manually in a spreadsheet. However, this method is not only time-consuming, but also likely to end with inaccurate or missing information. A faster and easier approach is to use help desk software with a built-in IT asset discovery tool to automate the process. By automating your IT asset discovery, you can quickly create an accurate document listing your complete technology inventory.
It is unlikely you will undertake a complete physical inventory of your assets every time you acquire a new one. Yet, you are probably making frequent changes to your technology. Your help desk software can also track upgrades, repairs, and replacements of your assets, ensuring your documentation is always up to date.
Even if you are not performing an inventory, there are several scenarios that necessitate identifying a smaller portion of the company’s assets. For example, regularly scheduled maintenance might require you to locate all the computers of a particular model. You could need to identify just the assets assigned to an individual end-user, or to a geographic location. Sorting through a manually-created document to find different groups of assets can be difficult, at best. However, an automated asset management tool allows you to quickly track assets according to a variety of details. With ITAM, you can resolve issues and complete assignments on time, answer questions accurately and boost your team’s productivity.
It is unlikely that your IT department will only be required to list and keep track of your organization’s assets. Company management will probably ask your team to answer more complex questions, including:
- Utility: What is the current stock of a type of asset? For example, how many laptops are in your network? Which configuration does your company use most widely frequently?
- Quality:Which brand or model of the device requires the most repairs?
- Value:Are there assets that incur ongoing maintenance costs that eliminate any purchase price savings?
- Availability: How long can devices be expected to last based on warranty length? When do warranties expire and lead to non-covered repairs or replacements?
With an IT asset management tool, you can generate reports that answer these types of questions. By maintaining a centralized repository of information, ITAM allows your team to use automated discovery and tracking to provide accurate and timely updates to end-users, managers, and leadership. An efficient asset management process also ensures you can comply with regulations related to equipment, as well as respond to any audit requirements. Additionally, by alerting your team to upcoming needs (such as software updates, periodic routine maintenance, or devices reaching their end-of-life), you can proactively advise actions for decision-makers, thus increasing your company’s efficiency.
What to Look for in a Help Desk Tool
Some businesses hesitate to invest in IT asset management because they think it costs too much. However, ITAM tools are affordable and provide significant value. Manually documenting IT inventory and tracking assets is slow and inefficient. Missing upgrade, repair, or replacement deadlines leads to unexpected additional costs. Investing in asset management helps save time and money, which ultimately maximizes your budget and team’s productivity.
Now that you understand the value of IT asset management, here are some of the capabilities you should look for in an ITAM tool:
- Automates asset discovery and inventory updates
- Tracks assets by type, location, or status
- Identifies hardware and software details to assist in resolving open trouble tickets
- Allows end-users to reserve shared-use assets and prevent double-booking
- Creates overdue alerts to help to ensure reserved assets are not lost or stolen
- Automatically sends notifications about upcoming warranty expirations and maintenance schedule dates to support comprehensive hardware and software asset lifecycle functionality
- Generates reports to demonstrate regulatory compliance
Clearly, adopting an asset management process is cost-effective and worthwhile. Using help desk software with an integrated ITAM tool makes it simple and affordable to do so. By understanding the benefits of IT asset management, you can demonstrate its value to company management and get buy-in from senior executives. Don’t skip including this solution in your IT budget.
SolarWinds offers a free trial of easy-to-use Ticketing and IT Asset Management Software. See how an affordable ITAM tool can help your organization maximize productivity while reaching its goals by trying it today.