Everyone has experienced the terrible feeling that comes from losing something important, such as your car keys. Has your organization ever misplaced an IT asset? Does your organization know where every IT asset is located and who may have that asset? If not, you might have misplaced an IT asset in the past or worse, you have had to pay money after a software audit.
ITAM principles consist of processes and business practices to efficiently manage IT assets within an organization. They provide methods to manage financial, contractual, and inventory for both hardware and software assets. If ITAM principles are followed, organizations will save time and money by avoiding unexpected true-up costs as a result of software audits and they will avoid unnecessary purchases of hardware and software. If you haven’t started your ITAM project, here are three steps I recommend you follow:
- Understand ITAM principles
- Define organizational objectives and goals
- Choose the right partners
Understand ITAM Principles
When an organization desires to implement an ITAM strategy, it is important to have a trained asset manager that can help define the objectives. ITAM recommends processes to manage the lifecycle of IT assets. An asset manager applying ITAM principles will help your organization realize the effort it takes to reach asset management objectives. ITAM processes typically touch every department within the organization, so a lot of preparation is required to understand how each department operates. With an accurate understanding of company processes, an efficient strategy can be implemented to migrate an organization to an automated asset management system.
- If an organization does not want to look externally for a trained ITAM expert, they can have their own employees trained and certified. There are several organizations around the world that offer ITAM training and certification.
Define Organizational Objectives and Goals
Once you have ITAM knowledge and expertise, you will be ready to define efficient ITAM objectives and processes that will help the organization reach their goals
High level objectives should always begin with having accurate inventory information. To obtain accurate inventory information, organizations need to control the purchase and disposal of hardware and software. There should be discussions about the type of meaningful inventory reports that are needed to help understand what assets are owned, where they are located, who is responsible for them, and if they are used for their intended purpose.
Another objective is to understand the cost of IT assets. Linking assets to contracts will help the organization understand the total cost, including any associated maintenance costs. Furthermore, it is important to gain an understanding about warranty information so that hardware refresh activity is planned and performed properly.
Automation should be part of an organization’s objectives. Automation reduces the risk of human error when applying asset lifecycle management. After goals and objectives are clearly defined, preliminary process information should be gathered in preparation for the next step, which will be to choose a partner that can help build the solution.
Choose the Right Partners
To reach the goal of complete automation, ITAM will require tools and services. A large percentage of the work will be defining the asset lifecycle processes. When choosing partners to help build the automated processes, it is important to choose partners with ITAM expertise so that best practices will be applied. It is important to refine processes so they are efficient and don’t create more work for the IT Help Desk. Poorly designed ITAM processes will increase the overall workload for the IT department, since they will have to spend much of their time troubleshooting problems, fighting political battles with the dissenters, and responding to increased support incidents.
Not only do ITAM software and hardware inventory tools need to be designed and setup properly, the processes need to be automated and work efficiently. Make sure all those involved, such as approval managers, are properly trained. Make sure all departments are trained to use processes when purchasing new IT assets. With the right partners, you will have the expertise available to understand how to interview employees from all departments in order to understand how processes work within the organization but, most important, they will be able to provide input to the ITAM design which means they are more likely to buy-in to the project.
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