It’s a typical scenario… A small company grows to be a medium sized company… and in the midst of the growth, chaos reigns! The systems required for companies to manage their day-to-day operations simply aren’t sufficient to support the growth. If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It’s a very normal scenario. One could even argue that you should take it as an indication of success. But at some point you are going to feel the need to stop sailing in rough conditions and start to seek smoother waters whilst you work on your next stage of growth.
To effectively consolidate your IT Assets you are going to need an IT Asset Management (ITAM) system and the sooner you implement it, the easier life will be as you increase in size. So when you start to consider your ITAM you want to ensure that it is scalable, meaning that it will grow as you grow. You should also look for a solution that you are only paying for what you use, so you can avoid the high upfront costs of obtaining a full-scale enterprise system. Your ITAM should allow your company to manage hardware and software right throughout the entire asset lifecycle; from acquisition through to maintenance and finally through to disposal. Your ITAM should link all of your organisational functions, such as procurement, IT support, cyber security, logistics, operations and finance into a single application. This will ensure that everyone in your organisation is singing from the same song sheet and reduces the likelihood of mistakes caused by not having visibility of another department’s information.
One of the most significant challenges in implementing an IT Asset Management (ITAM) system is making the decision to expend resources to set up a system when you may already have a system in place. However, you should consider that implementing an ITAM is an investment in your company’s time. Early adoption of an ITAM will save your company time as it will become more difficult the longer you leave it. And once you have implemented an ITAM you will start to see how it will save your company time when it comes to tracking your equipment and quickly performing audits such as stocktakes, electrical integrity tests, periodic maintenance, security updates and fault tracking.
A good IT Asset Management (ITAM) system will also lead to cost savings. Gartner, stated, “...clients who successfully execute ITAM as a discipline typically achieve 30% cost savings in the first year…”*. Knowing what equipment you have on the shelf prior to unnecessarily purchasing new equipment is a key driving factor for many organisations. The ability to track your inventory location and details will not only assist with audits, it will also report on the equipment that has been issued to individuals to ensure that it is returned prior to them leaving your organisation. You will also benefit from simple reporting, such as electrical integrity testing, which will assist your company in being compliant with government regulations and may even save you going through a painful litigation process in the case of an electrical fault causing harm to people.
A key element of any cyber security policy will rely on your knowledge of what IT assets you have and what build/updates are on each asset. Your IT Asset Management (ITAM) System should not only be able to provide you with easy access to this information but it should also be able to track faults to assist with your general maintenance. This will allow your IT support staff to quickly identify faults, update builds and document the changes.
Your IT Asset Management (ITAM) system should also include a Software Asset Management (SAM) system that links directly to your Hardware Asset Management (HAM) system. This functionality allows you to create a pool of licenses and track what software exists on each piece of hardware. And when you dispose of your hardware, your software licences should be automatically released back into the pool of available licenses to save your organisation purchasing licenses unnecessarily. Many software companies have different license terms and conditions and your Software Asset Management (SAM) system will need to ensure that it tracks these terms to help you avoid the costly exercise of breaching your license agreement.
Your Software Asset Management (SAM) should also be able to cater for both physical and virtual machines. This is particularly important as virtual machines (VMs) often move from one physical machine to another. Additionally, your ITAM will need to support hosting virtual machines (VMs) on physical hardware so that when you dispose of a physical machine it will also dispose of any virtual machines and automatically free up any software licenses so that they are allocated back to the available license pool.
Lastly, your IT Asset Management (ITAM) system should also allow you to track and report on your IT contracts and leases. This will allow you’re your finance department to accurately and easily forecast expenditure. A key finance feature of a good IT Asset Management (ITAM) system will also include the ability to forecast expenditure on aging assets that will require replacement and software licenses that are due for renewal.
In summary, an IT Asset Management (ITAM) system will lower your company’s IT operational costs through the increased visibility of its assets. It will save your company time and increase compliance which will help minimise financial risk. Early adoption of a scalable holistic IT Asset management (ITAM) system will see your organisation sailing on smooth waters throughout the phases of your company’s growth.
Here are some key advantages of implementing an IT Asset Management (ITAM) system
• Visibility across all organisational departments
• Lower costs associated with purchasing of unnecessary hardware
• Reduce time in auditing (stocktakes etc)
• Avoid fines associated with software license breaches
• Increase visibility of electrical integrity compliance
• Location tracking of equipment
• Manage leases/contracts expirations
• Redeploy available hardware and software
• Manage software licenses on virtual machines and physical machines
• Streamline fault tracking and IT support
• Increase robustness of cyber security policies
• Track and report on hardware and software costs
• Forecast aging equipment
Vitrack is an IT Asset Management (ITAM) system that is ideal for managing hardware and software and has the full set of features outlined in this article. If you would like more information, a demonstration or free trial please contact us.
*Source: IT Asset Management Key Initiative Overview – Gartner June 2013