Hello and welcome once again to Fantastic IT’s “What Is:____” series – a monthly(-ish) series where the experts here at Fantastic IT shine a spotlight on some of the most essential elements of IT – all explained in plain language.
This month we’re looking at something that is quickly becoming one of the most critical areas of focus for IT services: IT asset management.
So what is IT asset management? What are its applications? Do I need IT asset management?
What Is IT Asset Management?
IT Asset Management – or ITAM for short – is a comprehensive set of business practices that involves the maintaining of IT assets, both physical and digital.
IT asset management involves you bringing together all elements of your IT infrastructure and making sure it aligns perfectly with your business and your goals. At its core, ITAM is the constant process of buying, selling, upgrading, adding, removing, updating, improving or otherwise maintaining your IT assets.
The key element of effective ITAM is that it is a constant and continuous process. There is no downtime when you have a robust ITAM system in place: everything in your IT infrastructure is constantly analyzed for efficiency, so that anything that is no longer being used effectively can be replaced with something that does.
Probably the easiest way to visualize what ITAM involves is to think of it like a plumbing system. Instead of water, your IT infrastructure carries data to and fro. If there’s a burst pipe or a blocked bottleneck, the flow of information is broken or is extremely inefficient.
ITAM is the process of replacing pipes, improving valve seals and so on – anything that can keep information flowing freely and efficiently.
Where Does ITAM Fit In?
When considering your overall IT strategy, ITAM should be at the front of mind as it can net huge savings for all types of companies.
Some of the specific areas where a solid, well-executed ITAM strategy can pay off big time for a company include the following.
Hardware and Software Management
Hardware management primarily deals with physical devices such as computers, servers, network equipment, and so on. Any computing device that attaches to a wall or a device that works on your system would be covered by ITAM.
ITAM is also responsible for software management like applications, operating systems, and databases. ITAM experts can make sure everything is up-to-date, compliant with licensing agreements, and adequately safeguarded against security threats.
Lifecycle management is a key part of ITAM – this is the constant maintenance and awareness of your various hardware and software pieces. This means upgrading out-of-date software and getting rid of old servers that are starting to cost more than they bring in.
Compliance and Risk Management
ITAM plays a pivotal role in mitigating compliance risks. This is especially important in industries like healthcare, where compliance is a critical priority for any company.
Effective ITAM work will ensure that you don’t get pinged for fines or other punishments for stepping over the line when it comes to staying compliant with things like environmental regulations.
Probably most important of all – and a running theme amongst all elements of IT – is that a well-executed ITAM strategy helps organizations accurately predict and control IT costs.
By tracking the total cost of ownership (TCO) of assets, companies can make informed decisions. We can forecast for when a server needs replacing, or we can budget for a massive software upgrade that will cost the company more in the short term.
Effective IATM, like all IT operations, is all about efficiency – maximizing the value your IT infrastructure provides, while lowering the cost. ITAM is a critical part of that balancing act.
The Growing Significance of IT Asset Management
As we continue to grow our dependence on successful IT operations to support businesses, ITAM is becoming increasingly vital to companies’ success. Research from IT market analysts Mordor Intelligence projected that ITAM service will grow by 12% in the next five years!
Considering how much EVERY SINGLE DEPARTMENT in any business relies on successfully managing and optimizing IT assets – allowing companies of any size to spend less to get more from their IT.
ITAM is crucial when it comes to optimizing IT to maximize value. ITAM not only allows you to understand your IT investments but also understand and deploy methods to optimizing the deployment of your IT assets.
ITAM software addresses the fundamental need of tracking and monitoring assets throughout their life cycles, making it possible for businesses to utilize and purchase assets sensibly – again maximizing the value you get from every dollar you spend on your IT asserts.
The COVID-19 pandemic really underscored the relevance of IT and digital tech – and the effective utilization of software asset management solutions to reduce costs and maximize returns on investment on IT assets.
With an effective ITAM system in place at your business, you can make sure you’re maxxing out your IT asset budget every year – and saving money in the process.
What Affects ITAM?
There’s a lot of different aspects to ITAM, and no ITAM system is the same between companies or even users. Some of the elements that dictate your ITAM systems:
– Hardware and software infrastructure
– Deployment (locally? Via the cloud? A mixture of both?)
– Company size (both in terms of physical size, financial size and number of employees)
– Industry or vertical (healthcare requires different ITAM than, say, restaurants
– Employee requirements
In reality, everything and anything unique to your business could affect your ITAM. Take a look at your unique situation and outline exactly what you need for your business.
Who Provides ITAM services?
The majority of IT asset management clients are served by tech giants like IBM, who specialize mostly in the hardware arena of ITAM.
Cloud-only firms such as Freshworks and Capterra also serve the IT asset management market by providing software that can help bring all of a company’s assets together.
Finally, most – if not all – managed IT service providers will help you sort out your ITAM. Contact us today if you need a hand making heads and tails of this somewhat confusing area of IT.
The Future of ITAM
IT Asset Management is a critical facet of modern business operations, and its importance to business success is only expected to grow. The reality is that the big advantages in IT are found in the small efficiencies of process – and that’s exactly what ITAM is.
As you continue to build your business and look for ways to streamline your IT operations, addressing your asset management is not just a way that you can gain an advantage on your competition – it’s increasingly becoming a critical element of all IT infrastructure across industries and sizes.