Spreadsheet Don't Work: Centralize IT Inventory for Success

Spreadsheets Don’t Work: Centralize IT Inventory for Success

Regardless of company size, you’re bound to find information technology resources and assets deployed throughout a business. IT assets would include any company-owned software, hardware, data, and other processes. IT asset management (ITAM) is a strategy used to keep track of all IT in a company while also maintaining and optimizing current assets.

A good ITAM strategy will help with assessments to determine whether better or more cost-efficient alternatives or upgrades are available. Storing this information in a centralized location permits ease of access and maintainability. These days, spreadsheets don’t work when it comes to IT inventory management. You need to centralize IT inventory.

ITAM Benefits

The main benefit of a well-planned ITAM strategy is that it allows you to evaluate and analyze IT assets throughout a company accurately. This strategy also helps those in charge of IT asset procurement understand the return on investment for the various assets and show other stakeholders the value provided by each asset. Think of the employees as the customers of ITAM. For the ITAM strategy to be a success, you must strike a balance between the various technical requirements and the needs of the business to ensure all parties achieve the same company goals.

A robust ITAM strategy needs to have an extensive and comprehensive inventory of every IT asset throughout the company. Every software program, piece of hardware, all data centers, network devices, laptops, desktops, and any mobile and cloud assets or any technology needs to be considered in light of business operations. The primary objectives of ITAM are to have control over the entirety of the IT assets, organize lifecycle management, save money by tracking assets that will minimize lost or stolen equipment, and mitigate waste with the proper disposal of assets out of the lifecycle.

The value in the long term of a successful ITAM strategy is illustrated in improved software compliance, reduction of costs, and better customer service both internally and externally. You’ll also benefit from enhanced IT security, increased control of IT assets, and reduced compliance risks. Other benefits include improved communication among various departments throughout a company, simplification of strategic decision-making and budgeting, and increased security support.

Best Practices to Centralize IT Inventory

Since the dawn of technology in the workplace, companies have tried to implement centralized inventory management for all IT assets such as network controllers, software licensure, hardware, and data for both employees and customers. While it may be impractical to elicit this type of control over the environment as a whole, a well-developed ITAM strategy can certainly help get you close to this ideal.

A robust ITAM system will allow you to monitor all IT investments more efficiently and assist with user data, IT budgetary decisions, analytical reports, and other information that may be helpful regarding the IT assets of the organization. Explore some of the following best practices for a successful ITAM strategy:

  • Program process: A centralized IT asset management system encompassing all IT assets’ lifecycles allows management to develop a program that will provide the needed support for all IT-related issues within the organization.
  • Program management: The International Association of IT Asset Managers offers a best-practice blueprint that will provide you with steps to establish a sound strategy. ITAM programs should be organized and should follow the steps outlined in the blueprint.
  • Policy management: You need to develop clear, concise, and well-defined policies. These policies need to be explained and understood by all employees and other key stakeholders. Policies should include enforcement measures as well.
  • Education and communication management: The culture of the company and the employees must be such that ongoing awareness, training, and education are supported and implemented. This culture will also facilitate planning necessary changes needed across the company.
  • Project management: To implement all planned actions efficiently, effectively, and in an organized way, any successful ITAM system must have comprehensive and robust management throughout the project. An effective project management system also makes it easier for a company to pull together whatever is necessary to deploy and maintain all IT assets.
  • Documentation management: All documentation connected to any IT-related asset, such as user manuals, proofs of purchase, licenses, authenticity certificates, troubleshooting guides, warranty information, or other relevant documentation, must be organized and maintained for the duration the asset is in circulation.
  • Financial management: This portion of a solid ITAM system generates savings in all aspects, from invoice reconciliation to budgeting. Financial management should focus on fixed asset reconciliations, budgeting, invoice reconciliation, chargebacks, preparation for financial audits, and forecasting future costs to ensure it is a successful venture.
  • Compliance and legislative requirements: Your strategy aims to avoid as much risk as possible, and your company should continually prepare for a potential audit. This aspect should focus on meeting all compliance and legal requirements while providing mechanisms for correcting anything that’s not in compliance.
  • Vendor management: Management of your third-party vendors is another crucial aspect of a solid ITAM strategy. Vendor management includes documenting your protocol for communications with each vendor and recording all interactions.
  • Acquisition management: First, all requisite requirements for any needed IT infrastructure equipment must be gathered and documented before being acquired and deployed. It is crucial at this stage to have a good understanding of all the standards, lifecycle processes, and policies relevant to your IT assets.
  • Asset identification: Provide all IT assets with identification mechanisms and fully document their location to locate and deploy IT assets as efficiently as possible.
  • Disposal management: Technology evolves very quickly. Your IT assets will eventually reach the end of their lives, break down, or become redundant. Therefore, you should implement a disposal strategy to deal with the when, why, and how of IT asset disposal.

Software Solutions for ITAM

Due to the complexity and breadth of any IT landscape, managing and implementing an ITAM to centralize IT inventory can be challenging. That’s where software solutions can help. Whether you have a package you maintain or another third-party service that handles it for you, a software solution will help you become as centralized and organized as possible. If you’d like to learn more about saving time and money through centralizing and automating asset management across technologies and vendors, contact the knowledgeable team at vCom Solutions. We’re happy to answer your questions.