5 tips for getting started with IT asset management

SAManage – 1. Set goals - what is it that you are looking to achieve with your new IT Asset Management ("ITAM") program? This can be an effort to improve support resolution, respond to an audit request, or simply a need to know which assets you have across your networks. Set the goals and targets for your program so you could measure how your ITAM efforts are progressing.

2. Get buy-in from the business side - ITAM is a business process, so get a buy-in from the business side of the house. Communicate your plan with senior management and get their support for the process and the investment, and make sure they are actively involved with exploring the improvement opportunities (for example, renegotiate your maintenance contracts, reassign assets or modify your IT usage policies). An ITAM program is probably not going to help improve your company's income, but it will most likely drive significant cost saving and help improve your IT efficiency - set your management expectation accordingly.

3. Prepare for the long term - ITAM is an ongoing process and not a onetime event. Your business and your IT systems are constantly changing and keeping them aligned is an ongoing effort. An effective ITAM program requires ongoing review to allow you to maximize the value of the program. On the bright side, the ongoing nature of an ITAM program is a source for a constant flow of improvement opportunities (cost saving or procedure wise) which you could adopt to extract even more value from your assets. Examples includes reassigning licenses, reducing help-desk resolution time, and detecting risks to your IT asset such as missing security patches or illegal software, as well as risks to your business such as insufficient software licenses.

4. Pick an IT Asset Management tool and automate what you can. Once you define the goals and requirements for your ITAM program, pick a tool that would support your requirements and fit your environment. If your company has many branches and remote employees, or your network architecture is very complex, you need to consider a tool that can easily adjust to it. Look for a tool that will support your ongoing efforts, help detect improvement opportunities, and will not create a significant administrative overhead (we want to manage assets, not manage more-tools-to-manage-assets). Lastly, make sure you try the tool in your own environment before you commit to it.

5. Establish a baseline - an accurate baseline of your assets is the foundation of a successful ITAM program. Your baseline should include an accurate inventory of your PC's (including physical locations and users), installed software, printers and financial records such as contracts and software licenses that your company owns. Once you have established a baseline, a proper tool (see #4) and the right mindset (see #3) will help you keep your inventory accurate so you could gain long-term value from your newly deployed ITAM program.

This story, "5 tips for getting started with IT asset management" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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