IT Asset Management (ITAM): Definition, Types, Roles and Benefits

IT management

As your business scales, it is increasingly important to efficiently manage your software and hardware assets throughout their lifecycle. Doing so helps reduce risks, plan your budget more effectively, minimize business disruptions and understand how effective your IT infrastructure is in driving success for your organization. 

What is IT asset management (ITAM)?

IT asset management is a process (and a set of technologies) that ensures an organization’s assets are deployed, tracked, patched, maintained, upgraded and eventually disposed of. An important aspect of IT asset management is determining how well your IT infrastructure supports your unique business needs. Essentially, the purpose of IT asset management is to maximize the value created by the IT equipment within the organization by monitoring its status throughout its lifecycle. 

What are examples of IT assets? 

The term IT assets is used to denote the hardware, software and information your organization uses. This largely includes IT-managed workstations, servers, software, cloud servers, virtual desktops, networking devices and workstation accessories like keyboards and a mouse. Historically, IT asset management has been focused on managing only physical devices. However, it now involves effective management of their virtual and software-based assets as well. 

What is the objective of IT asset management? 

IT asset management aims to ensure that all valuable assets (hardware and software) within an organization’s IT environment are duly tracked and utilized. Efficient IT asset management helps keep track of an organization’s IT (both hardware and software) purchases and optimize asset lifecycle management. This also facilitates effective cost planning by enabling you to maximize the use of your IT assets, create effective provisioning budgets, optimize future expenses and reduce unnecessary expenditures. 

Who is responsible for IT asset management?

There are primarily two roles that are responsible for IT asset management in any organization; asset engineer and asset manager. Also known as a reuse engineer, an asset engineer is responsible for creating and maintaining an inventory of reusable assets and integrating them into their workforce as required. The asset engineer may also provide support for or retire outdated assets.  

On the other hand, an asset manager is responsible for leading and managing the acquisition and distribution of assets within the organization. In the next section, we’ll give a detailed overview of the day-to-day responsibilities of an IT asset manager. 

What is the role of an IT asset manager?

Now that we know the importance of an IT asset manager in an organization, let’s take a look at the primary roles and responsibilities that he/she is tasked with.

  • Create and duly communicate policies for asset purchases within the organization. 
  • Responsible for the governance, processing and reporting of all the applications within an IT environment. 
  • Maintain visibility of the asset ecosystem in order to identify, assess and quantify security risks. 
  • Must be well-equipped to remediate any incidents when things don’t go as planned. 
  • Assignment and monitoring/managing of assets. 

What are the types of IT asset management?  

Here’s a list of the different types of IT asset management: 

Software Asset Management 

As the name suggests, software asset management involves managing and optimizing processes such as the purchase, installation, utilization, monitoring, maintenance and disposal of software applications in an organization. 

Hardware Asset Management 

Hardware asset management entails the strategies, processes and tools used to manage the physical components of an organization’s IT infrastructure. These physical components include desktops, laptops, servers and other devices. 

Cloud Asset Management 

The process of controlling and managing the cloud infrastructure of an organization, including the application data stored within the cloud, is known as cloud asset management. In other words, cloud asset management helps with the tracking, maintenance and compliance of an organization’s cloud inventory. 

Mobile Asset Management 

Mobile asset management involves managing the serviceability and availability of mobile devices that are used to control, manage, protect, move, secure and store inventory within an organization. 

What is IT asset lifecycle management? 

IT asset lifecycle management is the process through which an organization can optimize the reliability and operational performance of an asset during its lifespan using effective tools and strategies. Let’s take a look at the various stages in IT asset lifecycle management. 

  1. Plan: The first stage in IT asset lifecycle management entails identifying a need that is not being met. In this stage, you need to research assets that might solve the problem.
  2. Develop/Acquire: After identifying the asset that can help cater to your unique needs, you need to procure and acquire the asset. Acquiring involves purchasing the assets and getting them delivered to your office.
  3. Integrate/Deploy: The third stage of the IT asset lifecycle management involves the integration and deployment of the asset at your facility. An additional budget must be allotted to cater to the installation of the asset at your facility.
  4. Maintain/Improve: In this stage, you must develop a maintenance plan to ensure that the asset continues to function as intended. You must ensure that all the maintenance tasks are being duly carried out by the concerned teams in a timely manner.
  5. Retire: Once the asset has reached the end of its lifecycle, spending on its maintenance might no longer be a financially viable decision. At this point, it makes sense to retire the asset and replace it with a new one. 

Why is IT asset management important? 

The main goal of IT asset life cycle management is to determine when an asset is likely to reach its peak performance and how long it can be utilized optimally before it can eventually be disposed of. This data-driven approach helps businesses ensure that they can keep their assets operational for as long as possible. 

What are the benefits of IT asset management?

Some of the major benefits of IT asset management are listed below. IT asset management helps organizations:

  • Predict their IT needs more effectively 
  • Make smart decisions regarding IT asset purchases 
  • Proactively replenish resources as required 
  • Enhance the quality of their IT services 
  • Accurately evaluate the total cost of ownership of any given asset 

Reduced IT risks and costs 

IT asset management helps combat the problem of shadow IT and risks posed by rogue applications. It also helps protect your IT environment from cyberattacks and optimize IT expenditures. 

Optimized asset utilization

IT asset management is very useful in understanding license distribution, usage rates and so on. 

Superior, consolidated governance

IT asset management empowers organizations with one single source of truth that helps them improve efficiency and control their IT environment more effectively. 

Operational efficiency

With efficient IT asset management, organizations can develop a better understanding of asset roles, capabilities, ROI productivity and utilization within the organization. 

How does an RMM or endpoint management solution help with IT asset management?

Many folks consider remote monitoring and management (RMM)/endpoint management to be a solution for troubleshooting and monitoring your assets. These solutions of course are great, but a best-in-class RMM can do so much more to supercharge your IT asset management. 

You can’t manage what you can’t see. Here is a list of ways in which an RMM or endpoint management solution can help with IT asset management. 

Automated diagraming and topology map 

Network monitoring enables deep continuous network scanning to understand all of your assets on the network. If your RMM/endpoint management solution integrates with your IT documentation solution your asset management is even easier! It can then discover all endpoints and assign them to the organization, department, or machine groups set up in IT Glue. This synchronization also ensures that, should you off-board a workstation, it will be updated in your IT documents. 

Patching  

Asset management is all about ensuring your IT assets are safe and performing at their best. Effective patch management is vital to effective IT asset management. 53% of ransomware attacks are the result of unpatched software. Efficient IT asset management helps improve visibility and reduce the risk of ransomware attacks. 

Automated software deployment, user onboarding and user configuration hardening  

An RMM/endpoint management solution can help improve the productivity of end users, expedite new user onboarding with automated software deployment and improve security by hardening user configurations. You can leverage policies to perform all these functions. You can set policies for unique user groups as well. Your Finance team likely needs radically different software solutions than your Creative/Design team would. Ensure you’re effectively delivering the right tools while protecting the respective teams. 

Manage IT assets and your hybrid environment with Kaseya VSA  

Kaseya VSA is a next-generation, unified RMM solution that maximizes IT operational efficiency with complete IT asset discovery, monitoring and management. It gives you the visibility and functionality you need to manage all of IT in a single UI. If your endpoint management solution can’t manage your hybrid IT ecosystem, it’s time to upgrade. Request your demo today! 

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