IT Asset Management (ITAM) is the process of managing IT assets. IT assets are hardware, software, systems, and information that an organization uses in the performance of its business activities. Hardware IT assets include servers, computers, printers, and mobile devices. Software includes applications with licenses, open-source systems and databases, and cloud-based assets, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.

What’s important to note about IT assets is the fact that all of them can only be used for a finite period of time. This finite period of time is what’s called the IT asset’s lifecycle. While an IT asset’s lifecycle can look different from one organization to another, it generally consists of the following stages: planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance, and retirement. At each stage, the organization wants to maximize the value of each asset, and that’s where IT asset management comes into play.

What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?

IT asset management or ITAM is a process, practice, approach or framework to managing IT systems and assets throughout their lifecycle. Again, IT assets generally go through the planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance, and retirement phases. Because of this, IT asset management is also known as asset lifecycle management or IT asset lifecycle management.

IT asset management can also refer to software that organizations use to manage their assets. These software assist IT asset management professionals in doing their jobs through automatic reminders of software updates or subscription renewals, for example. These software are especially helpful if your organization uses more than one platform simultaneously.

Unlike IT operations management, IT asset management isn’t concerned about delivering IT services or optimizing system performance. What it is focused on, however, is the implementation of processes to manage an organization’s asset inventories from purchase or acquisition to disposition or retirement, and automating those processes to maximize the value of IT assets.

These IT asset management processes include accounting for IT assets, deployment or use of IT assets, and their maintenance, upgrade, and disposal or retirement. It’s basically ensuring that tangible and intangible assets that are still of value to the organization are tracked and used properly from the start to the end of their lifecycle. Accounting for IT assets means identifying and marking it in the organization’s tracking system, and maintenance means troubleshooting or updates.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) Strategy

When dealing with IT asset management, you’ll need a strong strategy. An organization’s IT asset management strategy should consist of overseeing, managing and optimizing a wide range of technology and other company-owned IT assets used to run a business. It also includes assessing whether IT assets should be optimized, replaced with a cheaper option, or upgraded to newer technology.

The end goal or main objective is for IT resources to be used both effectively and efficiently. IT asset management also helps to lessen costs by finding ways to optimize an IT asset’s usage. For instance, IT asset management can limit the number of assets in use or extend their lifespan to avoid expensive upgrades. IT asset management achieves these goals by using inventory, contractual, and financial data as well as being aware of risk management factors to make decisions about IT assets.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) Best Practices

Stay on top of your organization’s IT investments by following these IT asset management best practices. 

  • Create a dedicated team. Form a group of knowledgeable IT professionals to focus solely on IT asset management of the company. They’ll define the goals, develop the ITAM program, and collaborate with other departments.
  • Adopt an ITAM mindset. To achieve your organization’s IT asset management goals, everyone in the company must adopt an asset management mindset. Make this a company policy, from which all IT asset management actions will stem from.
  • Streamline existing IT infrastructure. Through the process of IT consolidation, your ITAM team will identify redundant systems and merge or simplify them. Consolidating your IT assets will streamline tasks, boost productivity, and cut costs. This also includes streamlining your organization’s software and hardware, i.e., your hardware and software should be compatible and well integrated.
  • Create clear governance policies. Focus on good governance and include ITAM goals that define and manage scope. Then revisit these goals, processes, and policies when the organization’s scope and priority change.
  • Protect your IT assets. Deter theft, loss or unwanted transfer of company-owned IT assets with an IT asset tracking solution. This can also help coordinate maintenance and replacements. In addition, implement physical anti-theft measures, especially for business-critical IT tools and equipment.
  • Shun shadow IT practices. Shadow IT practices are when employees or staff buy, manage, and use applications, licenses and other IT assets without the knowledge of your organization’s ITAM team. Keep the ITAM team updated through the use of collaborative software that makes communicating with the team quick and easy.
  • Optimize IT asset use. Your ITAM team needs to have a handle on IT hardware assets of the organization. Using hardware asset management software can help them have a clear and accurate picture of which assets have low usage or need to be replaced. Not only will this result in optimal use of IT assets but also increased productivity and decreased stress and frustration of employees and staff. 
  • Keep employees informed about ITAM. Keeping employees and staff in the loop about software updates, maintenance, or upcoming replacements can help in their decision-making and productivity.
  • Be open to feedback. Continuous improvement should be a goal of your ITAM team, so encourage feedback from other employees. Ask them about the status of their IT assets, their needs, and how they think the organization’s ITAM program is doing.
  • Plan for maintenance. Your ITAM team should schedule regular maintenance on your organization’s IT assets. It helps to have extra equipment, such as laptops, for employee use while their equipment is undergoing routine maintenance. Having a plan for what employees can or should do during IT asset maintenance will help as well.
  • Budget and avoid unnecessary IT expenditures. Having an inventory of your organization’s IT assets will help your ITAM team to track their lifecycle. With this data, they can provide valuable information about how much to budget for new IT assets or upgrades. An IT asset inventory will also help your organization to avoid buying unnecessary IT assets.
  • Authorize audits to ensure compliance. When companies operate their IT assets out of compliance, they pay vendor penalty fees. Regular internal audits will ensure this doesn’t happen.
  • Keep assets updated or upgraded. Monitor your IT assets regularly so you can update them when necessary. Also keep track of obsolete IT assets and upgrade them with newer tech.
  • Establish an IT asset disposal or retirement process. IT asset disposition allows your organization to dispose of an IT asset and recoup some of its costs, such as when companies purchase old hardware to sell as refurbished. You can also give your old IT assets to recycling companies or donate them to schools and charities.