IT asset management (also known as ITAM) is the process of ensuring an organization's assets are accounted for, deployed, maintained, upgraded, and disposed of when the time comes. Put simply, it's making sure that the valuable items, tangible and intangible, in your organization are tracked and being used.
So, what's an IT asset? Defined simply, an IT asset includes hardware, software systems, or information an organization values. In MTS' IT department, some of our most important assets are the computers and software licenses that help us build, sell, and support our software and the servers we host it on.
IT assets have a finite period of use. To maximize the value an organization can generate from them, the IT asset lifecycle can be proactively managed. Each organization may define unique stages of that lifecycle, but they generally include planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance, and retirement. An important part of IT asset management is applying process across all lifecycle stages to understand the total cost of ownership and optimize the use of assets.
In the past, IT departments were able to control assets within their own domain. Now, an organization's asset management practice extends far beyond the hardware that's issued with an official IT stamp of approval. Subscription-based software and employees expectation to customize the tools they work with through marketplaces and app stores, present new asset management challenges. The way modern teams work requires that IT teams be flexible and adapt their asset management process to best enable the business.
As various teams push to work with the tools that best fit their needs, asset management is an even more important part of an organization's overall strategy and provides up-to-date information to reduce risks and costs. An asset management process creates a single source of truth when optimizing budgets, supporting lifecycle management, and making decisions that impact the entire organization.
As teams outside of IT begin to embrace service management, asset management has also become important to a variety of departments. We've heard of organizations using asset management software to manage things ranging from fleets, to fish, to insurance, to musical instruments.
Providing a single source of truth
Too often, assets get tracked in a ton of different places, by a ton of different people. No single person owns things, and no single tool collects and centralizes the information. Naturally, chaos and inaccuracy follow. It's difficult to make informed decisions. There are even companies where people are being employed just to keep track of IT assets. Systems should do this work. Without having to relegate time and brain matter to tracking artifacts, monitoring usage, and understanding dependencies, IT employees can focus more on what matters most to the organization. Asset management brings order, and offers a single source of truth for IT teams, management, and ultimately, entire organizations.
Improving utilization and eliminating waste
Asset management keeps information updated, so teams eliminate waste and improve utilization. It saves money by helping avoid unnecessary purchases and cutting licensing and support costs. Increased control also enforces compliance with security and legal policies and reduces risks. The positive implications on costs and productivity benefit the entire organization.
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