If you’ve decided it’s time for your organization to start thoroughly managing its IT assets, it’s likely that you’re looking at free IT Asset Management (ITAM) software with good eyes. The cost of a paid tool can be a drawback, either because you don’t have the budget for it or you’re hesitant about its effectiveness.
However, cheap can be expensive, and ITAM tools are no exception. They are designed to manage hardware and software, two of the most crucial elements to ensure business continuity. And trust us, you don’t want to mess with that.
Keep reading to discover the must-have elements to manage your IT inventory properly and avoid future problems (such as fines and unnecessary expenses), as well as the top IT Asset Management solutions out there.
What is free IT Asset Management software?
Before diving into the realm of free options, let's have a look at what ITAM software is and how it can help organizations manage their assets. IT Asset Management software refers to a comprehensive system designed to track, monitor, and manage an organization's IT assets throughout their lifecycle. This includes hardware devices, software licenses, network equipment, and more.
The tool puts together a centralized view of all IT assets that enables organizations to:
- Optimize asset utilization.
- Reduce costs associated with asset procurement and maintenance.
- Enhance security and compliance.
- Streamline IT operations.
Free ITAM software offers some of these basic capabilities for no cost, but not all of them.
Why do you need free ITAM software?
As the complexity and volume of IT assets continue to grow, and user expectations also increase, managing them effectively becomes a critical priority to ensure everything is running smoothly.
So, here are some reasons why you could be in need of ITAM software (free or otherwise):
- Improved asset tracking and visibility - You may still resort to using spreadsheets or manual methods to track your IT assets. However, these outdated approaches can lead to inaccuracies, data inconsistencies, and limited visibility. A centralized platform enables you to track and monitor assets in real-time, ensuring accurate Inventory Management and enhancing visibility into your IT infrastructure.
- Streamlined Asset Lifecycle Management - Reducing unnecessary costs and prolonging their life span will help you streamline the entire lifecycle of IT assets to ensure that they are utilized optimally. This is why you need a tool to track asset deployments, monitor maintenance schedules, and automate the process.
- Enhanced security and compliance - By keeping a comprehensive record of your IT assets, including software licenses and configurations, you can ensure that all systems are up-to-date, patched, and protected against vulnerabilities. This is particularly important for organizations subject to regulatory requirements and audits.
- Cost optimization - ITAM software helps you identify unused or underutilized assets, allowing you to optimize resource allocation and avoid unnecessary purchases. It should also enable you to track software licenses and subscriptions, preventing overspending on redundant licenses.
3 benefits of free IT asset inventory software
Free IT asset inventory software offers some advantages that can benefit your organization's IT asset management efforts. Let's explore some of them:
- Cost savings - The most apparent advantage of free IT asset inventory software is that it comes at no cost. By opting for free software, you can avoid the expenses associated with purchasing licenses or subscriptions.
- Community support - Free ITAM software typically benefits from a vibrant and active user community. This community-driven environment fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the exchange of best practices. This is key as in most cases, they don’t offer support or charge you for it.
- Open-source flexibility - Some free ITAM software is open-source, meaning the source code is freely available for modification and customization. This enables you to tailor the software to your specific needs, enhancing its functionality or addressing any unique requirements your organization may have. However, you need an agent that can run this task carefully, without breaking the code or creating any bugs.
10 must-have IT Asset Management features
When exploring free IT Asset Management software options, it's important to consider the key features that will help you effectively manage your IT assets:
- Asset discovery - Automatically identifies and scans connected devices and software across the network to create a comprehensive inventory of IT assets.
- Asset tracking - Enables the tracking and management of asset details such as hardware specifications, software versions, purchase information, and location, ensuring accurate and updated asset inventory.
- Software License Management - Helps track and manage software licenses, helping with compliance, avoiding license violations, and optimizing license utilization.
- Contract Management - Provides a centralized repository to manage contracts and warranties associated with IT assets, helping you to make timely renewals and proactive maintenance.
- Automation - Automates asset-related tasks, such as notifications, change status, and other fields, streamlining processes and reducing manual effort.
- Reporting - Generates insights into asset utilization, lifecycle costs, maintenance history, and compliance status, aiding in decision-making.
- Health Rules - Sets up predefined rules and conditions to monitor asset health, performance, and security, allowing proactive identification and resolution of potential issues.
- Smart Tags - Enables the application of customizable tags to assets, providing an additional layer of organization and facilitating easy searching and filtering.
- Software Metering - Tracks and measures software usage, providing data for better software optimization, license allocation, and cost management.
- Customization - Offers the ability to customize fields within your assets to align with specific organizational requirements and processes.
6 disadvantages of free IT Asset Management software
Yes, free ITAM options have some benefits that might be tempting to start with IT Asset Management. But they also have considerable disadvantages to weigh in when evaluating your next step. Otherwise, at the end of the day, you'll end up allocating time, effort, and resources into a tool that will need to be replaced as it does not meet your expectations and objectives.
- Limited features - Typically, free ITAM software doesn't have all the must-have features required for comprehensive Asset Management. Certain functionalities (advanced reporting, automation, or integration capabilities) may be absent, limiting the software's effectiveness in meeting complex organizational needs.
- Limited support - Most of the vendors don’t offer support or charge you for it. And, while community forums may not provide the same level of assistance. This can lead to longer resolution times and potentially impact critical operations.
- Security and compliance concerns - Free software often doesn’t provide enough security features to be considered in compliance with certain industries. In addition, software updates can take longer to be released (or not at all), exposing your organization to potential vulnerabilities.
- Hosting and Infrastructure Management - With free ITAM software, you're typically responsible for hosting and managing the servers, which requires technical expertise and resources that may not be available to all organizations.
- Extra costs - While the software itself may be free, it’s common to have additional costs to enable functionalities. For example, hosting expenses, infrastructure maintenance, customization, support, or integrations. Considering the Total Cost of Ownership is essential to accurately assess the software's affordability in the long run.
- Training and usability issues - This kind of software tends to lack user-friendly interfaces and intuitive usability, which can result in a steeper learning curve for your IT teams. Thus, it may require additional time and resources to train your staff, potentially impacting productivity during the onboarding process.
So, should you acquire a free ITAM tool?
When it comes to acquiring a free IT Asset Management tool, the answer depends on your specific circumstances and priorities. If your organization is on a tight budget and immediate cost savings are crucial, leveraging free software can be a viable option. It allows you to establish a basic level of Asset Management without incurring additional expenses straight away.
However, as we've seen, this decision encounters several limitations in terms of features, support, security, and scalability. What seemed as a smart decision at first might end up in an inefficient and time and resource consuming process for your company and will have you wishing you'd gone for a paid version from the start. If your organization has the opportunity to invest in a more robust and efficient ITAM tool, it's generally advisable to make the transition as soon as possible.
To ensure that you're making the right choice, we recommend selecting a tool that offers a free trial before commiting to the long-term investment. This allows you to test the software firsthand, assess its usability, explore its features, and evaluate its suitability for your specific requirements.
10 best free IT Asset Management software and trials alternatives
These are the ten most remarkable ITAM software options in the market:
- InvGate Insight - InvGate Insight is a comprehensive solution to streamline your ITAM operations. To ensure this is the right tool for your organization, it offers a 30-day free trial and, after that time, you can turn it into your working instance.
It includes all the key features mentioned above. It also offers CMDB, and several integrations (like remote desktop, and InvGate Service Desk, that together are a killer combo for your IT operations).
Its intuitive UI makes it easy to use agents of all tiers and allows a quick implementation - between 2 and 4 weeks. The solution offers several tools to do this like spreadsheet templates to move from your Excel inventory to your IAM tool.
To take a look at it, you can try its live demo and play with all its features.
- GLPI - GLPI is a free open-source ITAM solution. It offers a range of features, including asset tracking, Contract Management, Software License Management, and more. It is customizable and provides extensive community support. However, it can be quite complex to set up and configure. This will make it challenging to navigate for users without technical expertise.
- Snipe-IT - Snipe-IT offers a free self-hosted version and an open-source. It provides capabilities such as asset tracking, check-in/check-out functionality, Software License Management, and customizable asset fields. Snipe-IT is known for its user-friendly interface, but take into account that it lacks dedicated customer support typically provided by paid ITAM solutions.
- ManageEngine Asset Explorer - ManageEngine Asset Explorer has a free version that allows you to manage up to 25 assets. Its features include asset tracking, software License Management, Contract Management, and IT Asset Lifecycle Management.
- OCS Inventory - OCS Inventory is an open-source ITAM software that offers a free version. It provides comprehensive Inventory Management, software deployment, and license tracking capabilities. It may face scalability challenges in larger or more complex IT environments. As the number of assets and users increases, the free software can’t always handle the growing demands, leading to performance issues.
- Snappy Asset Manager - Snappy Asset Manager counts with a free version of its cloud-based ITAM software, with a limited amount of assets that can be managed. It includes asset tracking, Warranty Management, software license tracking, and reporting features. However, it has limited integration capabilities with other IT systems. This can result in manual data entry and hinder the seamless exchange of information between different IT processes.
- Freshservice - Freshservice offers a free trial of its IT Asset Management module, allowing you to explore its asset tracking, Software License Management, and hardware refresh planning features.
- Spiceworks - Spiceworks is a free ITAM software that offers Asset Management features, including inventory tracking, warranty monitoring, and reporting.
- Lansweeper - Lansweeper counts with Asset Discovery, Inventory Management, software license compliance, and reporting capabilities. It supports various IT environments and provides customizable asset dashboards.
- AssetPanda - AssetPanda has a free trial. It provides comprehensive features for asset tracking, Inventory Management, software license tracking, maintenance scheduling, and customizable reporting.
When it comes to finding and committing to the right IT Asset Management software, making sure your organization's current needs, budget, and long-term goals are all being met is essential. But, before diving straight into a free option, it's important to be aware of the drawbacks that they have. These can be limited features, support, and security issues. Doing this will definitely save you valuable effort and avoid future headaches.
If you have the opportunity to invest in a more robust ITAM solution that fits your budget, it is advisable to do so. Having a reliable and efficient ITAM tool can bring numerous benefits, including advanced features, comprehensive support, enhanced security measures, and scalability. All of these are essential for a competitive ITAM practice in today's business landscape.
To ensure you're making the right choice, the best way to go is to consider and analyze as many options as possible by taking advantage of free trials. Ask for InvGate Insight’s 30-day free trial and see all it has to offer!