Impact of IT Asset Management

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The importance of Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM) has increased to a magnitude that organizations can no longer overlook. ITAM is essentially a set of processes involving collecting inventory, financial and contractual data which is analyzed together to manage the overall life cycle of software and hardware in an organization, maximizing Return on Investments (RoI).

Keeping a track of all assets marks the first stage in implementing an ITAM strategy, which is usually done by tagging the assets using barcodes or RFID. Information such as configuration details for hardware and the licensing terms and conditions for software (and also hardware) is inventoried using ITAM software. This enables organizations in achieving 4 major objectives—the ability to track the physical locations of assets, preserving the warranty information, monitoring the hardware configurations and tracking the usage patterns.

Physical Location Tracking

ITAM software contains discovery modules to track all the tagged assets. This helps managements in having a clear view of the information pertaining to all IT assets within their premises, at all times. This also mitigates the risk of data theft.

Preserving Warranty Information

ITAM software stores information about the licensing terms for both hardware and software assets used by a company. This is crucial because enterprises are legally bound to comply with licensing terms and user agreements for software, failing which companies are likely to face legal complications during an audit, resulting in a huge sum being paid to the licensors for violation.

For companies holding hardware assets on a rental or lease basis, the ability of ITAM software to issue timely alerts reminding them about the need to renew licenses or leasing periods comes as a huge advantage. For example, failure to renew the leasing period for a server is likely to result in the leaser confiscating the server. Although the company’s data is likely to be returned, having no server to host it immediately would cripple the operations.

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Hardware Configurations

Configuration is an integral part of hardware and is likely to change over time. Keeping a track of these changes simplifies the task of IT help desks to alter the system configuration to support additional workload when necessary. By storing the hardware configuration details of each and every hardware asset owned by the company, ITAM software provides better visibility into the system configurations for IT help desks.

Usage Patterns

ITAM software packages contain agents that are designed to monitor the server for software usage patterns. Agents reveal all the discrepancies and lapses by the company with regard to the usage of software. For example, deploying licensed software on a greater number of systems than what is permitted by the agreements is likely to result in legal complications for companies.

Adoption of ITAM strategy

ITAM strategies for large organizations feature a combination of asset management tools and enterprise licenses that give them freedom over usage patterns, at no extra cost.

Smaller companies however, try to cut down costs by procuring limited licenses for software and using discovery tools for tracking assets, a trend that needs to change. Growth in the number of assets due to technologies like Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are likely to require a greater number of inventories, which the discovery tools are not capable of offering. This is bound to limit the capability of organizations to embrace new age technologies. Also, the inability of a discovery tool to issue automated alerts regarding the need for license renewal or leasing agreements is likely to pose problems to the companies. IT assets play a crucial role in business and therefore managing them requires a foolproof strategy. A comprehensive ITAM strategy, not only maximizes the RoI on them, but also ensures that obligations to customers are met within stipulated deadlines.