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What is ITIL Asset Management (ITAM) and its Importance

Managing technological assets has become crucial as businesses become more reliant on technology. According to Gartner, global IT spending will reach £3.4 trillion in 2023, with a sizable part allocated to IT infrastructure and management along the ITIL certification path. Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Asset Management (ITAM) is a framework that assists organisations in efficiently managing ITIL Asset Management and Capacity Management synergise for streamlined IT resource optimisation and agile responsiveness to business demands. ITIL Asset Management is a process that helps a company maximise value, limit costs, and manage risks by planning and driving the entire lifecycle of all IT assets. Read this blog to learn What is ITIL Asset Management, its process, best practices, and benefits. 

Table of Contents  

1) What is IT Asset Management (IATM)?  

2) How to choose IT asset management software?

3) Why is Asset Management important?

4) Process of ITIL Asset Management 

5) What is the connection between Asset Management and ITIL?

6) ITIL Asset Management best practices  

7) Benefits of IT Asset Management  

8) Conclusion  

What is Asset Management?

The International Association of IT Asset Managers defines IT Asset Management as business practices combining a business's IT assets. It comprises financial, contractual, and risk management responsibilities, helping leadership effectively manage these assets' lifecycles. It simplifies the decision-making process as well. ITIL 4 Demand Management further simplifies the decision-making process by optimising resource allocation and aligning services with business needs. Similarly, ITIL Change Management focuses on structured processes for implementing IT infrastructure and service changes.

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How to choose IT Asset Management software?

As your organisation starts to consider the various ITIL Asset Management Software vendors in the market, you need to begin by assessing your intention behind improving your approach. Here is a list of some common signs that show you are ready for employing Asset Management Software:

Your organisation wants to save money

A key technique for organisations to cut their costs, is to optimise their expenditures on various services such as software, infrastructure and platform. Many organisations can utilise best practices for optimising their software licenses, thereby cutting their budget on software. 

More importantly, this is a complex task to complete in a manual fashion. The labour-intensive optimisation of complex licenses demands specialised knowledge and does not scale. Large-scale organisations require a Software Asset Management or ‘SAM’ tool, that is able to automate, accelerate and improve manual procedures. 

You depend on spreadsheets

Organisations rely heavily on spreadsheets for tracking their inventory. However, these inventories do not remain accurate in the long term. For example, a company that utilises spreadsheets to track their assets could be investing a large amount on ‘ghost assets’ which are items they purchase and account for but are physically missing.

You find it difficult to keep up with change in your organisation

Support your organisation has encountered some significant changes like the arrival of new inventory, and theft of employee equipment outside the work premises. Such changes require a dedicated employee that keeps track of all changes occurring within the company.

The growing concern of ‘Shadow IT’

Shadow IT refers to the IT assets, applications and licenses that are purchased and used without intimating the central IT team. Keeping the IT team in the dark entails risk and unnecessary costs. Software that makes collaboration convenient translates to a more productive team.

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Why is IT Asset Management important?

IT assets are crucial for any technology-driven organisation, but these assets can quickly turn into liabilities if not managed well, and there is no structure to keep track of all the assets being used in the organisation.   

1) ITAM helps in removing the wasteful IT assets that might be draining resources 

2) Having a track of every IT asset reduces security liabilities 

3) It also helps with asset utilisation and increases productivity 

4) Having the best IT assets improves reliability and increases productivity 

Process of ITIL Asset Management

Understanding the ITSM vs ITIL distinction is crucial in optimizing IT asset management processes, ensuring they align with broader service management strategies.

Lifecycle stages are a central part of Asset Management, and organisations manage IT assets by defining each stage. Although different organisations can have their unique lifecycle, an IT Asset will generally include these stages: 

1) Planning 

2) Acquisition  

3) Deployment  

4) Maintenance  

5) Retirement

Lifecycle of IT Asset
 

Planning

The planning stage is all about understanding the asset requirements. It entails establishing the requirements for IT Assets based on business goals, budget, and technological trends. It includes extensive research, vendor evaluation, and procurement processes to verify that assets suit the organisation's needs and are acquired from trusted sources. When a significant financial investment is involved, it is crucial to take some time and conduct extensive research to confirm the asset's reliability, cost, and usability.    

Acquisition  

Now that the required assets are identified, the next step is to acquire them. Acquiring doesn't only mean purchasing but also getting it delivered. For hardware, it will need to be transported to the office, and in the case of software, installation. Hardware and software can also be leased, custom-built, or rented. Proper acquisition records, including purchase details, warranties, and contracts, should be properly stored for efficient tracking and management of assets throughout their existence.   

Deployment  

Once IT assets are acquired, they must be deployed and configured according to the organisation's standards and requirements. This includes proper hardware, software, and other component installation, configuration, and integration to ensure optimal performance and compliance with organisational policies. For effective tracking and management, asset configuration parameters such as hardware specifications, software versions, and network settings must be documented and preserved correctly. 

Learn all about the concept of customer journey and user communities by signing up for our ITIL® 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value DSV course now! 

Maintenance

IT assets must be regularly monitored, maintained, and updated during the operational phase to ensure smooth performance and availability. This includes performing regular health checks, applying security patches and updates, managing licenses, and optimising their utilisation. Performance data, maintenance records, and software license details should be recorded and monitored to identify and resolve issues proactively and optimise the assets. 

Retirement

IT assets have a finite life cycle and will eventually reach the end of their useful life or become obsolete. When maintenance cost is no longer viable, retiring them is ideal. This can be due to aging hardware or the availability of better versions in the market.   

You must also consider certain things before retiring the asset: 

1) Can they be resold to recover some investment?  

2) Will it incur extra costs to retire them?  

3) Is there a better alternative to the asset that is being retired?  

4) Will retiring any asset cause issues in the business operations? If yes, what’s the plan to minimise the disruptions?  

Proper retirement processes are essential for ensuring they are safely disposed of following the relevant legal and environmental regulations. This includes decommissioning, securely erasing data, and disposing of them through proper recycling or donation channels. For compliance and reporting purposes, accurate retirement records should be kept. 

What is the connection between Asset Management and ITIL?

ITIL Asset Management is an aspect of the ITIL V4 Framework and Processes. It is one of the five lifecycle stages as part of the ITIL framework. The service transitions help your organisation in the planning and management of the change of stage of a lifecycle service. Learn more about how ITIL facilitates Release Management in our detailed guide on ITIL Release Management.
Additionally, IT Asset Management concentrates on all aspects of hardware and software licenses. The emphasis includes the management of software licenses, hardware and software lifecycles. Moreover, your organisation can also save on its budget by standardising its IT assets. 

ITIL Asset Management best practices  

Just understanding the process of ITAM is not enough.Exploring specialised areas such as ITIL Knowledge Management alongside the best ITIL Asset Management practices can provide additional insights and enhance the effectiveness of IT asset management strategies.

Track all the stages of the ITIL Asset Lifecycle

From acquisition to retirement, tracking each stage of Asset Lifecycle Management is extremely important. Identifying and registering assets, tracking their usage, and ensuring proper retirement when they reach the end of their useful life are all part of this.

Each stage must be completely tracked and well-defined if your organisation has a slightly varied lifecycle. Organisations can ensure they are used optimally by tracking them throughout their cycle. Asset tracking can assist organisations in optimising their utilisation, lowering expenses, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

It is also important to frequently refresh the assets' status to be updated with the latest status. Tracking can be made easier with technologies like Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID), barcodes and GPS, especially for hardware.   

Manage all the software assets and licenses in one place  

Organisations should set up a centralised system for managing all their software assets and licences. This includes keeping an up-to-date database of all software, tracking usage, any contracts or expiry period and verifying licence agreement compliance.

This helps avoid overpaying for software licences by measuring software usage. When planning for software assets, it is essential to determine the best type of license. There are various types of licenses to choose from; volume, individual, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), perpetual, etc. Depending on requirements, get the license that serves the organisation's purpose.

Organisations should develop clear policies and procedures for software management, keep correct records of all software and licenses, and ensure that all employees are trained to manage these policies and procedures effectively. It is ideal to use a software management tool to track everything. 

Start with ITIL v4 and learn all the basics of it with ITIL® 4 Foundation Certification Training Course. 

Integrate ITAM with other ITIL processes

Organisations can improve their IT service management skills by merging ITAM processes with ITIL practices. ITAM processes, such as ITIL Incident Management, change management, and problem management, must be aligned with ITIL Service Management processes.

This involves improving the ability to respond to incidents, detecting and resolving problems, and implementing IT changes. By aligning ITAM processes with ITIL v3 vs ITIL v4 practices, organisations can manage their IT assets efficiently and reach the business' overall goal.

Track the important metrics

Keeping track of important and relevant ITAM reports can help you accomplish your objectives. There are ITAM tools that can help you generate built-in standard reports or any custom report. You can generate a report with relevant metrics depending on your specific objective. For example, if you need to make an effective purchase decision in the planning stage, you can track these metrics:   

a) Depreciating rate of assets  

b) Average violation fees  

c) The average cost of asset maintenance  

Self Audit  

Regular self-audits are a vital part of ITAM. Organisations can assess their ITAM processes and inventories during a self-audit, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and optimising asset utilisation.    

Regular self-audits can also show areas for improvement and lower the risk of noncompliance. Organisations should define clear policies and procedures to perform self-audits effectively, assure employee training, document audit findings, and formulate a plan of action to resolve any discovered flaws. Conducting internal self-audits can help retain control over your IT systems and avoid wasteful spending. Self-auditing can have several benefits:   

1) Early warning  

2) Save from liabilities like fines and penalties 

3) Helps prepare for the real auditing  

Employ Continuous Improvement

ITIL Asset Management, in alignment with ITIL 4 key concepts, is based on the concept of continuous improvement. Organisations can improve their IT environment and optimise performance by routinely analysing IT Asset Management processes, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing changes.

Automating manual operations, implementing new technology, and simplifying workflows are examples. Continuous improvement optimises asset utilisation, lowers costs, and supports business objectives.

Learn about various guiding principles of ITIL in Digital and IT strategy with our ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy DITS course now!  

Benefits of ITIL Asset Management

Some of the key benefits of ITAM are:   

a) Centralised Database: Tracking is easier with a centralised database, and it helps in making better business decisions. Moreover, the organisation can remove, upgrade or optimise the existing assets to maximise efficiency and productivity.   

b) Efficient use of IT Assets: ITAM can reduce costs by efficiently using assets and removing waste that does not add value to the business.    

c) Enhanced security: Security mishaps can be avoided when all the software is accounted for, and their usage is tracked. Any unauthorised access and data leak can be monitored with the help of proper management.   

d) Saves cost and avoids liabilities: Software providers often place terms and conditions for using their software. Not complying with the conditions can lead to hefty fines, and the software that was supposed to be an asset becomes a liability. Tracking all the information like expiration, license type, number of licenses available, etc.    

Conclusion  

ITIL Asset Management can seem like a massive chore, but it bodes well for the organisation in the long run. Exploring ITIL Interview Questions can provide practical insights and prepare you for effective asset management discussions. IT infrastructure can take significant capital, so it is vital to manage it well, aligning seamlessly with ITIL Project Management principles. The overall goal is not to let the IT assets become "liabilities" in any way. 

Learn and understand the concepts of Direct, Plan and Improve and become an ITIL strategist with ITIL® 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve DPI. 

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