What is IT asset management (ITAM)?

IT Asset Management (or “ITAM”) serves to ensure that an organization’s assets are accounted for, deployed, maintained, updated, and disposed of in a timely manner. Simply put: it ensures that your organization’s tangible and intangible assets of value are tracked and used.

But what is an IT asset?

In simple words, an IT asset is hardware, software systems, or information that has value to an organization.

IT assets have a finite period of use. To maximize the value that an organization can generate from them, the lifecycle of IT assets can be proactively managed. Each organization may define unique stages of that lifecycle, but these are typically planning, acquisition, deployment, maintenance, and retirement. An important part of IT asset management is applying processes at all stages of the life cycle to understand the total cost of ownership and optimize the use of assets.

In the past, IT departments could control assets within their own domain. Now, an organization’s asset management practice goes well beyond hardware that comes with an official IT seal of approval. Subscription-based software and the expectation of employees to be able to customize the tools they work with through marketplaces and app stores pose new challenges for asset management. The work of modern teams requires IT, teams, to be flexible and adapt their asset management process to put the business in the best position.

As different teams try to work with the tools that best suit their needs, asset management is an even more important part of an organization’s overall strategy, providing up-to-date information to reduce risk and cost. An asset management process results in single, trusted sources of information with which to optimize budgets, ensure equipment availability, support lifecycle management, and make decisions that affect the entire organization.

As teams outside of IT begin to embrace service management, asset management has also gained importance for different departments. We know of organizations that use asset management software to manage everything from fleets of boats to insurance to musical instruments.

Why is IT asset management important?

A single source of trusted information

Too often, we see lots of different people tracking assets in lots of different places. There are no ultimate managers or a single tool that collects and centralizes the information. The result cannot be other than chaos and errors. Thus, it is difficult to make informed decisions. Some companies even have employees hired specifically to keep track of IT assets, a job that systems should do. By not having to spend time and effort tracking, monitoring usage, and learning about dependencies, IT employees can focus on what matters most to the organization. Asset management brings order to all of this, providing a single source of trusted information for IT teams, management, and ultimately the entire organization.

Improved use and reduced waste. Asset management keeps information up to date, so teams eliminate waste and improve utilization. This saves money by avoiding unnecessary purchases and reducing the costs associated with licenses and technical support. Greater control also enforces compliance with security and legal policies and reduces risk. The positive consequences in terms of costs and productivity have benefits for the entire organization.

Greater productivity, with all the reliability

With digital transformation changing the way organizations operate, modern asset management goes far beyond just keeping track of laptops and mice. Teams are embracing DevOps and SRE principles, and need asset management tools and processes to efficiently and quickly deliver new features and services without compromising reliability.

Finally, IT asset management is critical to supporting the asset management level of service. The IT team enables the entire organization to become more innovative and deliver value faster. With the right data at their fingertips, teams can move quickly and predict the impact of changes before they happen. By democratizing access to knowledge, the organization gains a competitive advantage to deliver value faster. Any organization trying to keep up with the pace of modern innovation needs to adopt strategies for IT data control, tracking, and mastery.

Interesting Related Article: “IT Asset Management: Why do You need an Inventory System?