March 14, 2018

The Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make When Managing IT Assets

Written by
Momina Sohail

The Challenge of IT Asset Management

We all know how tricky asset management can be. Businesses have to make sure they’re keeping stock of all the items they have, maintaining them regularly, and using analytics to determine retirement and procurement schedules. All of this has to be done simultaneously for all kinds of equipment, keeping in mind the different locations and custodians the assets are linked to.

For most businesses today, a large proportion of business equipment would be related to IT. In fact, around 61 percent of IT decision makers surveyed last year said they substantially increased their IT budgets. Included in this budget would be all the assets in a business’ IT environment – such as hardware and software – that are used to support and sustain daily business operations.

While managing items like tables or tools can be difficult, IT assets come with a challenge all their own. They are so diverse that it can be hard to establish a robust management workflow for all of them. Not only this, but IT assets bring with them a huge host of other challenges such as compliance, warranty management, and license renewals which need to be tracked efficiently for the smooth functioning of a business.

This is why one of the most common causes of poor IT asset management is companies treating IT assets like any other business asset. In this post, we’ll go through some of these mistakes and talk about how to remedy them.

Mistake 1: Making Do with Static Data

You can afford to be a little lazy with the management of certain business assets like the fixtures and fittings in your office. This is because they’re stationary assets, forever located in one place right up until they’re replaced. Consider now an IT asset, that fires with activity day in and day out, with something installed today, and something else upgraded tomorrow. Without constant visibility into your hardware, it can become impossible to ensure all your installed software is compliant with license agreements.

This is why you need to ensure the data you gather with respect to IT assets is real-time, and able to handle the kind of complexity these assets generate. This type of at-a-glance information can drastically improve your ROIs. Imagine being able to instantly tell if a former employee is still accessing certain systems remotely and the cost savings of nipping that in the bud quickly and efficiently.

But dynamic data isn’t just for controlling access; it also makes you a lot more responsive. For example, you could link service management workflows with your backend inventory data, making it that much easier to lower downtime and increase productivity at your workplace.

Mistake 2: Relying Completely on Audits

Transparency is crucial for any organization. This is especially the case as 78 percent of CIOs claim that the top capability of IT is to enable businesses to meet their strategic goals more effortlessly. Therefore, all information we have relating our IT assets needs to be as accurate as possible. This can be helped by audits, as they let you keep track of where all your business assets are, what condition they’re in, and enable you to create greater accountability for your employees. However, audits are manual, periodic, and intensive exercises that take up a lot of time and resources. They’re also not as useful for IT assets as people think.

The answer, then, is discovery. This is automated, constant, and takes up no effort on the part of your administrative team. Robust discovery can, for example, highlight which software you’re paying for but not using, saving you a lot of money in the long term. You can also keep track of software licenses easily, and be reminded when an item needs to be renewed or upgraded. Imagine keeping track of all this manually; the very idea sounds exhausting!

Mistake 3: Not Prioritizing Security

Your tangible business assets are probably well accounted for. They’re likely tagged with Barcodes or QR Codes that properly document every move and custody change. When it comes to intangible assets like software and company data, though, companies can sometimes find themselves out of their depth. How do you secure something that isn’t really there?

A study by Cisco found that around 44 percent of all cyber security alerts go ignored because of the sheer volume of information security teams have to deal with. This is why endpoint security is crucial for IT assets, and also why it needs to be easy to achieve.

Not only does endpoint security eliminate ransomware and malware threats, but it also enables you to take swift action to quell all types of security incidents. These benefits lower the chance of disruptions, allowing your employees to continue doing work as usual.

Of course, protecting sensitive data is extremely important for businesses, but so are other tasks such as compliance management. Following IT asset management best practices, you can demonstrate compliance through the use of in-depth analytics and diagnostics. How’s that for effective?

Mistake 4: Investing Only in Reactive Maintenance

You might think you have your maintenance workflows ironed out to perfection. Something goes wrong, your team gets notified via your helpdesk, and a ticket is quickly generated. As a result of efficient incidence and inquiry tracking, your issue gets resolved fairly quickly, and everything is as it was before.

But when it comes to IT asset management, that’s often not enough.

Maintenance must be planned out in advance or it can cost your company a huge amount of money in lost business-hours time. Of course, reactive maintenance is necessary when things go wrong. However, having a routinized maintenance plan can actually stop these one-off incidents from occurring in the first place. This leads to more dependable service operations and improved asset longevity. In the context of IT assets, you need to be able to manage incidents, upgrades, and releases easily and with less of an administrative burden on your team.

IT Asset Management: The Need to Automate

IT asset management requires rigorous, standardized processes in order to oversee the needs of your assets effectively. Consistent discovery, in-built security, dynamic data, and preventive maintenance can all contribute towards keeping your IT assets optimized, up-to-date, and secure. An IT asset management software can help you achieve all this by automating these crucial tasks and taking the burden of managing valuable IT assets off your shoulders. It can help by streamlining hardware and software management, and handling maintenance and compliance requirements all under one system.

Author Bio:
Momina Sohail works as a Communications Manager at EZOfficeInventory, an IT asset tracking software. She is interested in the way technology interacts with contemporary business culture, enabling businesses to focus on core efficiencies.