What is IT asset management? Plus importance and systems

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The need for IT asset management has arisen for companies who require convenient access to and easy interaction with their IT assets and the ability to track them from procurement to retirement. The need for IT asset managers has exploded as these professionals are essential in maintaining, tracking and storing all kinds of digital assets. Understanding the role of this management system can help you when implementing one of your own. In this article, we explore IT asset management and discover why it is important for businesses and their customers.

What is IT asset management?

If you're interested in IT as a potential career choice, it's vital to understand not only the answer to the question of, ‘what is IT asset management', but its importance. IT asset management typically includes ensuring IT assets such as hardware, software, audio files and other information that is valuable to a business remain secure and backed up in a centralised location. By putting the assets in a safe storage location, it may be easier to access and share the files and upgrade and dispose of them in the future.

IT assets don't last forever, so professionals manage them and ensure that organisations extract the most value from their IT assets. The stages of IT asset management are typically fourfold, beginning with planning, then procurement, followed by deployment, maintenance and retirement. These stages apply to assets like software, with their finite licenses, in addition to hardware such as computers. By applying such a method to the management of IT assets, businesses can ensure they are making the most of their assets and not wasting money, while also being able to access and manage them easily.

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Why is IT asset management important?

IT assets are essential for many businesses to operate because they use these assets, like hardware, software and information, to conduct their affairs. For this reason, managing IT assets in a centralised storage location can be essential to ensure that IT departments and organisations are able to access the inventory of tools and information when they need them. When done properly, IT asset management cuts costs, mitigates risks and improves productivity. IT assets are very expensive to buy and manage, so keeping track and looking after them is essential.

IT asset management vs digital asset management

IT asset management systems (ITAM) and digital asset management systems (DAM) are quite similar but have some very important differences. DAM systems also aid in the quick identification and retrieval of assets. For example, digital assets like logos and marketing materials hold a lot of value for businesses, as they require them for marketing and customer acquisition. DAM systems enable their safe storage and easy retrieval, which aids companies massively when they have a lot of data to sort through. Also, these systems can simplify tracking content as it changes and develops throughout the different departments of a company.

ITAM systems deal with the management of software and hardware components. They are both management systems that aim to organise IT-related assets into inventories so that people can access and manipulate them, though the assets managed, and the functions served are distinct between the two systems. ITAM systems are almost exclusively used by businesses to conduct internal affairs and manage their own assets, but companies use DAM systems for selling digital assets as well. Such is the case with subscription-based streaming platforms.

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What does an ITAM system do?

An IT asset management system does the following:

  • Provides organisation of assets: An ITAM system acts as a centralised place for storing, organising and retrieving IT assets.

  • Keeps assets private and secure: Confidential information often requires high privacy settings and having an ITAM system can help mitigate security risks with your digital assets.

  • Make sure assets are easy to access: Correctly used, an ITAM system can assist with the moving, sharing, renewing or disposing of IT assets.

  • Compatible with other software: ITAM systems can usually integrate with other relevant systems.

  • Reduce waste: By managing the disposal process of IT assets, businesses can optimise the disposal process and make it more efficient.

  • Provides tracking: This ensures companies don't waste money on IT expenses and lose assets.

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Benefits of ITAM software

The availability of ITAM software systems can make a considerable difference in how companies manage and use their digital assets. Here are some benefits of IT asset management:

Easy to implement

These systems are simple to implement, and trained IT specialists can get them up and running in a matter of days. This means that implementing the process won't be destabilising to your organisation as IT professionals can set these systems up while your business continues mostly as normal. There is no standard approach to IT asset management because each business has different needs and technicians use a variety of methods and tools to utilise IT resources efficiently.

Time saver

With assets properly organised, retrieving them is much easier. Imagine looking for a book in a library and all the books are in a pile on the floor. Finding the one you're looking for can be hard. If the librarian has organised the books by category on shelves, finding the book is easy, such is the case when retrieving a piece of software within the ITAM system.

Increased control

Having an effective management system means companies have a greater level of control over their assets. With everything collected in a single central location, anyone that wants to retrieve an asset can do so quickly and easily. Businesses can also control how staff use assets and who can access them.

Asset tracking

Using ITAM systems, organisations can attach unique tags to each item in their inventory. This is one of the primary benefits of IT management systems because organisations with many assets can always know who has possession of what and where everything is. It can reveal which assets the business has leased and where they are, besides revealing what people have done with the asset.

Limits duplicate content

With ITAM systems in place, organisations may not worry about the same items being bought multiple times and money being wasted because they have a clear inventory of their assets. Also, if duplications occur with the same software or another asset, the ITAM system in place can flag this occurrence and alert the manager through the system's database. The manager can then address the duplicated assets and deal with them accordingly.

Improved organisational efficiency

With a solid ITAM system in place, businesses can align their needs with their IT assets. Meaning that any assets that are not useful to the business in the future, the business can dispose of and finance departments can stop spending money on these obsolete assets. By knowing which assets are valuable to the businesses objectives, acquisition can focus on these useful IT assets.

Save money

ITAM systems ensure staff don't misplace or forget about assets. This ensures that financial departments don't waste money acquiring assets that the company already possesses. These systems also reduce waste when organisations dispose of their assets because it reveals which assets are still useful and which are not.

Standardisation

IT departments can benefit from standardised assets. If the IT assets available are out of date, low quality or simply different from what the team learned to use previously, staff waste time learning how to extract value from the assets. With standardised assets, companies can be sure that staff knows exactly how to use every bit of software or hardware because a standardised training programme can be enough to prepare them to use all the assets.

Increased security

Because the system monitors every IT asset and audits them for security in most organisations, every outdated asset stricken from the inventory is one less asset to worry about. This strengthens security by giving the security team fewer items to focus on and less potential for security breaches to occur. ITAM systems also reveal who has accessed certain data and can prevent people from accessing certain data.

Forecasting

By providing an accurate record of a company's historical asset acquisition, IT departments are better able to predict what assets they need going forwards. This can aid tremendously with budgeting, as they can make accurate predictions regarding future expenses using the ITAM system. Through this process, businesses can devise strategies for the coming years.

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