Companies spend millions every year keeping their staff equipped with the technical equipment needed to support their organizational roles. Part of those costs involves replacing worn or outdated technology. Some come about due to businesses not doing proper IT asset tracking.
Losing track of IT equipment means your organization could end up spending money on equipment or licenses you already own. Things get misplaced when employees switch to roles requiring different tools or leave the company entirely. It’s also easy to lose track of items when upgrading the equipment used by a business area.
The best way to keep the company from losing money on unnecessary equipment costs is by following solid IT asset tracking practices. Businesses benefit by:
- Reducing maintenance costs
- Optimizing license use
- Helping you come up with more precise budgeting
- Allowing you to make sound equipment purchasing decisions
- Leaving you prepared for audits
Not happy with your company’s current IT asset tracking process? Come up with a solution suited to your organization using these best practices.
- Do a Thorough Inventory Audit
- Capture All Relevant Information
- Map out Asset Life Cycles
- Establish Rules
- Make Sure You’re Compliant
- Find the Right Automated Solution
1. Do a Thorough Inventory Audit
The idea of trying to locate every asset within your company can be daunting. We’re not just talking about desktop computers. You need to locate every desk phone, mobile device, personal printer, and even company-issued headset currently in use within your organization.
Narrow things down by using programs already installed on your software to locate network assets. Methods of doing this include:
- Finding Windows devices doing a domain scan
- Performing a network scan for printers, Linux computers, Macs, virtual machines, and printers
- Doing agent scans on your home network for registered software and other items
- Pinpointing registered mobile devices
These steps should help you identify a large portion of your inventory. Follow up by confirming with employees that they’re currently in possession of specific assets.
IT Assets to Locate
- Software and associated licenses
- Service packs
- Desk phones
Finish off with a floor-to-floor sweep for any assets that might be offline or not hooked up to software capable of tracking it, which can also help to identify shadow IT hardware.
2. Capture All Relevant Information
Once you’ve located each of your company’s assets, start pulling identifying data from each one. The most important information you should be gathering includes:
- A description of the item
- Make and model numbers
- Who the manufacturer is
- The purchase cost of the item
- The department where its currently located
- The designated owner
- The condition of the item
Having this information in place allows managers and other executives to properly assess additional equipment needs. They’ll know they already have the equipment in-house, or if it actually needs to be purchased.
Tag each asset with a tag containing a unique barcode with all relevant information stored in your asset tracking software solution. Scanning this code should tell you everything you need to know about the equipment. (Useful tip: If theft or tampering is a concern, security tags can help to deter these activities.)
3. Map out Asset Life Cycles
What type of performance do you expect from your asset from the time of purchase to retirement? Lay those expectations out in stages and assign a specific state to each. Use those rankings to evaluate where your asset currently falls in that methodology.
Example of Lifecycle Mapping
- Requesting the asset
- Approving it for purchase
- Obtaining the asset
- Installing or deploying the asset (software, hardware, new phone, server)
- Use of the asset
- Storing or repairing the asset
- Allowing the asset to be retired
- Disposing of the asset
The lifecycle of different assets will vary. Sometimes workstations might be put to use for a few months for a contractor, then placed in storage until needed again. Certain users might upgrade to a different version of the software, freeing the older version up for use by another employee.
4. Establish Rules
Make sure you have clear-cut procedures in place when it comes to checking out, assigning, and decommissioning assets. Don’t allow passage from one department to another without enforcing some type of standards on:
- Who’s taking control of an asset
- Decisions to turn an asset back over to IT
- Anyone reporting issues with the asset
- Any requests to decommission an asset
5. Make Sure You’re Compliant
One overlooked aspect of IT asset tracking is ensuring items meet established standards. When was the last time your network received a thorough inspection? Have you examined third-party software put in use for security holes? How sure are you that you’ve encrypted mobile devices to prevent accidental or purposeful transfers of company data?
Your IT asset tracking process can be turned into a valuable tool in keeping your organization secure. Initiate periodic audit inventories and make cataloging this type of information part of your standard procedures.
6. Find the Right Automated Solution
Initiating IT asset tracking with manual processes opens you up to a greater risk of human error. It’s also harder to coordinate the status of equipment between different departments. Employing an automated process allows you to integrate your asset tracking with other company systems. Tagging valuable IT assets means they’re easily scanned with barcode scanners, eliminating human error and speeding documentation.
This allows other areas to easily retrieve data for their own uses, like pulling reports or drawing up budgets. It also facilitates collaboration with other team members responsible for loading and validating asset data.
Improve the efficiency of your organization by implementing some sort of IT asset tracking system. You’ll save your company money and help organize and streamline utilization of assets throughout your company.