Technology is evolving so fast that it is extremely difficult for organizations to keep up with the myriad of changes taking place on an almost daily basis. One way to keep up with the frenetic pace is through IT asset management.
What are IT Assets?
Before we talk about what IT asset management is, we need to understand what constitute IT assets. IT assets are all the information as well as software and hardware owned and used by an organization.
What is ITAM?
IT Asset Management, simply called ITAM, is the practice of exercising effective governance. This means managing an organization’s hardware and software assets to ensure costly risks can be avoided and the organization’s overall performance can be improved.
Why is ITAM Important?
The criticality of ITAM in today’s super-charged IT environment cannot be underlined enough. And according to the Business Wire, the president and Chief Executive Officer of IAITAM (International Association for IT Asset Management) Dr. Barbara Rembiesa states that more C-level executives in organizations across the world are also beginning to realize the importance of ITAM.
ITAM is not an easy process to undertake; there are many difficulties that an organization needs to overcome to put an ITAM process in place. However, once implemented, this process can diametrically change its operations and performance.
Benefits of Implementing ITAM
If your organization were to implement ITAM fully, then here are some of the many benefits you would be able accrue from this process:
- Cut Down on Costs
By creating an inventory of all IT assets, the ITAM management systems will help an organization cut down on costs. This process can do so because it will be able to prevent unnecessary purchasing of assets. It will also help the organization utilize available assets optimally.
By taking these steps, IT managers will then be able to reduce support as well as software licensing costs, get rid of waste and improve the overall efficiency of the organization.
- Increasing Awareness About IT’s Business Value
ITAM will also help increase understanding about how much IT can contribute to your organization. This way more people within your company will understand the business value of IT, about how it can take your organization to even greater heights.
The ITAM process can also open up more avenues of communication between your organization’s IT department and other business units.
- Stronger Cyber Security
When the ITAM process is initiated in an organization, it can lead to a stronger enforcement of cyber security measures, as well compliance to these measures. This in turn will make the company’s networks safer from external as well as internal threats.
- Improves Productivity
When an organization starts using more of technology to support its operations, it will see greater productivity.
- IT Cost Management
There are a lot of overheads to IT management. However, when an ITAM system in put in place, these overheads can be significantly reduced, thereby leading to a further reduction in costs to an organization.
- Improved Control Over IT Assets
When an inventory is created of all of an organization’s IT assets, it becomes easier to manage them. IT managers can then easily control these assets better and also identify, track as well as replace stolen software and hardware components.
- Support to Other ITIL Processes
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), which is a set of detailed practices for ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) that focuses on aligning an organization’s IT services to its business goals, is also benefitted from ITAM.
ITAM can provide much more accurate information to ITIL processes, so that those process can act more effectively in case any asset is affected in any way by a change, problem or incident.
- Increased Organizational Agility
The ITAM process makes an organization more agile by making company-wide changes, migrations and upgrades faster and more efficient.
- Restoring Services During Crises
Nothing can be done when a natural disaster strikes a place. However, when an ITAM process is put in place, it can help leaders understand the impact of such an event and make decisions that could lead to a speedier restoration of services.
What is the ITAM Process?
ITAM is not a single straight-line, one-time process. Rather, it is continuous and cyclical process that is systematic in nature. Comparing it to a life-cycle would be more appropriate.
This process is used to support not just the decision-making process within an organization, but to also structure activities within the entity.
- Strategic Planning
The ITAM process begins with strategic planning, which determines which assets are required, how they need to be procured, how they will be used, and how to fund their funding and operation. This planning process also normally includes a cost-benefit analysis of all possible alternatives, as well as Total Cost of Ownership estimations.
Once the strategy has been put in place, the procurement process begins. This is when the organization builds, buys, leases or licenses the assets required for its operations.
Once the IT assets have been procured, then they need to be integrated into existing systems within the organization. The new assets need to be properly integrated with all IT components within the organization, creating a support system and operations process, as well as establishing user access.
The next stage of the ITAM lifecycle involves maintenance and upgradation of assets in order to maximize their life as well as value. This also means minimizing risk and cutting down on support costs.
- Retirement or Disposal
The final phase of the ITAM lifecycle is retiring or disposing of an asset once it has reached the end of its life. This phase also includes updating asset records, transitioning all users to alternate or newer assets, cancelling support licenses and agreements and finally starting the entire cycle all over again by planning for the new assets.
According to MarketExpert24, there is now a report that has been released that shows that there has been an unexpected growth spurt in the ITAM software market as more companies begin to realize the importance of this process.