IT Asset Management (ITAM) is the process that manages, controls, and protects the IT assets in your organization throughout their lifecycle. To streamline this process, Asset Management Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) can help standardize your workflow process and make the end-user experience more cohesive.
The practice has a broad scope and, although it makes a big difference, it cannot rely on ITAM technology alone; it also needs the right people, and robust processes and procedures to support it.
In the following sections, we will break down the ITAM SOP documentation (plus you can download an extra free template!), and show you some ideas of how to implement it with InvGate Insight.
Let’s get into it!
Table of contents
- What is a Standard Operating Procedure
- Why do you need an ITAM SOP
- How to create an Asset Management SOP
- Download the ITAM SOP template
- The seven parts of the ITAM Standard Operating Procedure
- How to use the SOP sample
What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?
SOPs are detailed, written instructions describing the step-by-step procedures that must be followed for Asset Management activities. These documents guarantee that key tasks are captured, standardized, and shared with the involved parties. This way, they help ensure that your ITAM practices are carried out effectively and consistently.
Standard Operating Procedure vs. Best practice
There can be confusion around the differences between SOPs and best practices, so let’s take a moment to clear up any confusion. SOPs provide a structured set of repeatable steps to deliver a specific process or outcome, while best practice documentation makes recommendations without being prescriptive.
In short, SOP tells ITAM professionals how to carry out a specific process and will include detailed steps and diagrams where appropriate. On the other hand, a best practice tells professionals what they should do to manage, control, and protect their IT environments effectively. It represents a recommended approach that is higher level.
SOP vs. policy
Another area that can cause confusion is the difference between SOPs and policy documentation. Again, the first outlines specific instructions for performing ITAM activities and are designed to be used by colleagues carrying out those tasks as part of their daily routine. A policy document outlines the high-level guidelines, regulatory and compliance requirements, and governance to be used by all stakeholders of the ITAM practice.
Why do you need an IT Asset Management SOP?
Now that we have outlined what it entails, we will take a look at how organizations can benefit from implementing an ITAM SOP:
- Improved consistency - SOPs ensure that ITAM processes are carried out consistently across the organization. They provide a standardized approach for procuring, testing, deploying, maintaining, managing, and retiring IT assets.
- Increased efficiency: These documents also streamline ITAM activities by clearly documenting each step and setting out roles and responsibilities. This makes processes leaner and more efficient by reducing the risk of errors, duplication, and rework.
- Support for Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC): ITAM involves compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, such as licensing agreements, support contracts, and data protection regulations. SOPs support these requirements and help organizations meet their governance and compliance requirements while reducing the risk of legal, financial, and reputational damage from compliance failures.
- Support for IT security: SOPs help organizations manage and secure sensitive assets effectively, reducing the risk of accidental loss of sensitive assets, data breaches, or unauthorized access.
- Better audit performance: Lack of documentation can be a significant red flag for auditors. A well-documented ITAM practice demonstrates its effectiveness and consistency. SOPs ensure that the correct processes are followed, providing a clear and transparent audit trail, proof of ownership, and appropriate licensing, supporting positive outcomes and an improved audit performance.
- Support for Knowledge Management: SOPs can help support your Knowledge Management function by capturing colleague experience and sharing it across the wonder team. This will reduce the risk of knowledge loss when colleagues change roles and increase collaboration by sharing knowledge, experience, and best practices.
- Cost savings: ITAM SOPs help organizations optimize asset utilization, identify cost-saving opportunities, and prevent duplicate purchases, as well as saving time, effort, and costs associated with fines for noncompliance.
- Continual improvement: A regular review cycle will ensure that SOPs remain aligned with business outcomes and will incorporate new best practices and evolving business
How do you create an Asset Management SOP?
When designing a Asset Management SOP for your organization, consider the following key steps during the process:
- Define the format - It’s important to check to see if your organization has an existing corporate style for documentation before you start creating documentation. If so, use it for SOPs so everything has a consistent look and feel.
- Ask technical teams what areas you should focus on - Your technical teams are the ones who deal with IT assets every day, so they are best placed to advise on what SOPs are needed and what activities need to be captured.
- Set clear process goals - This will make sure that everyone knows what the purpose of the SOP is.
- List all components needed - for the SOP to be followed correctly to account for all prerequisites and components.
- Make it adaptable - When drafting the SOP, particularly for the first few that you create, write the SOP in an outline format so that it is easier to make changes later.
- Request a review from technical colleagues - This will help ensure everything is as it should be, that all key activities are captured and that all the steps are in order. Following the technical review, make any changes as and when needed.
- Make it available to colleagues- Publish the SOP in your Knowledge Management system or portal so that it is easy to access and use.
- Build review cycles - To be efficient, the SOP has to remain up to date.
The three most common places where an SOP is required during the Asset Management lifecycle is at the beginning, transition, and disposal of the asset. Your deskside and hardware teams may already have checklists or other guides for these parts of the process. This is for two reasons:
- Ensure a single step isn’t missed during these complex transitions
- Document the steps for future reference and analysis
Once those transition periods are completed, teams will upload the completed SOP to the asset record on InvGate Insight. This document then lives on with the asset throughout its journey.
Another important document during the lifecycle of an event is a document of destruction, or transfer of ownership. Creating these documents is also easy to create, sign, and upload to the asset record.
Download the Asset Management SOP template
Finally, it’s time to put all this knowledge into action. Along with our Asset Management SOP template, you’ll receive an example of a SOP for capturing asset information. It contains the following aspects of the asset capture process:
- Receiving the asset
- Labeling the asset with an asset tag
- Entering the asset into the ITAM database
- Deploying the asset
- Updating the asset
- Retiring the asset
- Disposing of the asset
The seven parts of the ITAM SOP
The template is structured as follows:
- Title page: sets out the SOP and ensures the appropriate logos are in place.
- Document control: a short table that explains the document history and the dates and details of any changes.
- Table of contents: lists all the headings in the procedure and will ideally contain hyperlinks to make it easier for readers to navigate the document.
- Scope: explains what the SOP will cover and any operating parameters that need to be called out.
- Introduction to the ITAM practice: gives the reader a short overview of the practice and what the ITAM tool is used for.
- Procedure: the actual content of the SOP.
- Further reading: any supporting documentation or linked processes such as security, finance, and environmental policies.
How to use the Asset Management SOP sample?
The SOP should be used by ITAM practitioners when updating the IT asset database. When using SOPs, bear the following in mind:
- SOPs are created to support key practice activities, so work with your support team to understand what they are and then prioritize your documentation efforts accordingly.
- Set out clear roles and responsibilities in your SOPs so everyone knows who is responsible for what when carrying out the activity.
- Build feedback loops into your SOP review cycles, so your SOPs continue to evolve and improve over time.
Incorporating SOPs to your ITAM strategy can have a significant impact on the efficiency and consistency of your processes by standardizing routine and repeatable tasks. Some common examples of this include updating the asset database, tracking assets throughout their lifecycle, and preparing for audits.
With guidelines in place, all you have to do is build them into your ITAM solution for them to be available and accessible to all team members. And, as you’ve seen, doing this with InvGate Insight is a breeze.
If you’re ready to enhance your Asset Management, you can book a free trial in just a few steps, and explore for yourself!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the five parts of SOPs?
The five parts of SOPs are the title page, table of contents, purpose, procedure, quality assurance, and supporting documentation.
What are the three types of SOP?
The three kinds of SOP are simple, workflow-based, and hierarchical.
What is a SOP example?
An example of an asset management SOP would be updating the asset register with new asset information, ensuring that it accurately reflects what is installed in the living environment.
What is the difference between a plan and a SOP?
A plan is a strategic outline of objectives and goals. It sets out what needs to be done at a high level. A more detailed SOP sets out step-by-step instructions that define how specific tasks or processes should be executed to achieve those objectives.