IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a growing enterprise trend – but it can mean different things to different people. Learn what ITAM is, why it’s important, and how it can help your organization.
For years, enterprises have struggled to centralize their technology environments. IT teams everywhere prioritize simple solutions to complex problems – and as dozens of new device types are deployed throughout your workforce, you need a management system to reduce risks, secure hardware asset life cycles, and drive total cost of ownership down.
While total control over your IT environment isn’t always possible, an effective asset management process can help you protect all of your hardware, software, networks, services, data, and contractual investments by simplifying the budgets and performance reporting that supports them.
But hardware asset management can be a vague term that means different things to different organizations. So, what is IT Asset Management (ITAM)? Why is it important and how does it benefit your business?
What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?
It’s easiest to think of ITAM as the accounting side of your IT department. After all, you’re probably spending a lot of money on the technologies and services to make your business work – and you need a way to track each investment to measure its impact (and where there’s opportunity for improvement).
Therefore, ITAM is a set of business practices focused on keeping tabs on all IT assets to assess when, where, and how changes should be made. ITAM helps you gain a new level of visibility into your technology investment to understand precisely where each piece of the puzzle delivers value.
At its core, ITAM consists of two main activities:
- Tracking the financial value of every asset
- Determining when to upgrade/retire/expire every asset
Unfortunately, both sides of the ITAM coin are easier said than done. Which is why most companies struggle without a strategic ITAM program in place.
It’s important to realize that all IT assets have a finite lifecycle. In order to maximize their value, your organization needs to proactively manage these assets through a process that factors planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance, and retirement stages into your total cost of ownership.
Until recently, your IT team had complete control of the assets within ITAM’s domain. But today is a much different story. Now, your ITAM process extends beyond traditional hardware to include things such as subscription-based software, customized workflows and tools, and third-party applications that you may not be involved with at all. Today’s ITAM solutions need to be flexible because that’s what your employees have come to expect – and because your ITAM needs to adapt to continuously changing business needs.
As teams outside IT push for the technology-driven tools that best satisfy their needs, asset management has become integral to overall organizational strategy. ITAM gives your business leaders the most accurate, up-to-date information possible – allowing them to effectively reduce risks and costs wherever possible. Simply put, ITAM is a process that impacts important decisions across every level of your enterprise.
Why is ITAM Important?
As you can imagine, managing asset lifecycles can be important for a variety of reasons. And while this answer is likely different from one company to the next, we’ve noticed four reasons that consistently come up regardless of industry, business size, or tech management maturity:
#1. A single source of truth
If you’re reading this post, it’s probably safe to assume that your hardware assets are being tracked in a ton of places. There’s not a single person or system that knows everything – inevitably leading to chaos, inaccurate inventories, and uninformed decisions.
With an efficient and easy-to-understand asset tracking process, however, your IT department is revolutionized in one fell swoop. Employees can focus on strategic initiatives that matter most to your business’ bottom line. Gone are the days of tedious, manual tracking and monitoring tasks.
ITAM brings order by establishing a single source of truth and record for all activity that occurs throughout your technology environment – no overly complex systems or software tools necessary.
#2. More utility, less waste
Asset management means updated information, enabling you and your organization to find every opportunity to eliminate waste while improving utilization. You learn where money can be saved, where purchases will fail to make an impact, and where software licenses and support costs can be cut.
Current information also help your tech team enforce compliance with all relevant security and legal policies – something that’s grown increasingly important thanks to regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
#3. Productivity and reliability
There’s no doubt that digital transformation has revolutionized the way modern organizations operate. So, it should come as no surprise that today’s asset management process needs to go beyond tracking hardware. Teams that take ITAM seriously are embracing DevOps and agile development principles to drive efficiency and new functionality without sacrificing reliability.
Given the increasing reliance businesses have on third-party platforms and infrastructure services, asset management needs to be implemented in a way that incorporates these next-gen IT consumption models into traditional methodologies. Otherwise, they’ll find it impossible to increase control and visibility where overprovisioning or underutilization instances occur.
#4. Connected teams
ITAM gives your IT team the tools to drive enterprise-wide innovation and value. But its benefits don’t stop there. Equipped with more data than ever at their fingertips, every team across an organization can move with greater speed to accurately predict changes before they have a chance to happen.
By giving everyone access to IT’s asset management insights, you have the opportunity to create a competitive edge by controlling, tracking, and mastering strategic technology elements – leading to more rapid value delivery throughout the organization.
Benefits of ITAM
Implementing ITAM is no simple feat. But, if done well, it can lead to tremendous ROI – as well as business advantages such as:
- Reduced security risks, loopholes, and vulnerabilities
- Elimination of the potential for shadow IT
- Compliance with industry requirements, organizational security policies, etc.
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Minimized software licensing, renewal, and support costs
- Enhanced customer service
- Streamlined data access
- Optimal IT resource allocation
- Budgeting and decision-making transparency
- Increased focus on core competencies
- Cutting-edge technology
ITAM Fundamentals: 12 Focus Areas
In ITAM, there’s no right or wrong way to do things – after all, success depends on your unique business requirements. That said, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers (IAITAM) has assembled 12 key focus areas to guide you start-to-finish through the asset management process:
- Program Process
- Program Management
- Policy Management
- Communication and Education Management
- Project Management
- Documentation Management
- Financial Management
- Compliance and Legislation
- Vendor Management
- Acquisition Management
- Asset Identification
- Disposal Management
When combined with a proper Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution, your ITAM processes can reduce costs and increase the positive impacts of technology. Get a free, engineer-led demo of FileWave to see how our software solves multiple problems for busy IT teams.