IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a two-fold equation, comprising Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM). The two are intrinsically linked and cannot function independently of each other.
On the 64th Episode of Ticket Volume, our IT podcast, ITAM expert David Foxen delved into the significance of ITAM and the current standing of both HAM and SAM, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, the gradual shift towards remote work, and the supply chain challenges encountered in 2021.
He focused on the conscientious approach to HAM for cost-saving opportunities and the ongoing transition in SAM's focus from compliance to customer service.
Foxen is a seasoned ITAM professional and the lead consultant at SAM Beast Consulting Ltd. He has extensive ITAM experience with companies like Aeroflex, Santander, Arup, and Johnson Matthey, to name a few. Foxen also founded ITAM Volunteers, an organization that assisted companies grappling with Asset Management adaptation during the pandemic. Currently, he is a committee member for ISO.
Be sure to catch the full episode featuring Foxen as we explore the ever-evolving landscape of IT Asset Management, from the challenges faced during the pandemic to the shifting trends in the industry.
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IT Asset Management best practices
Foxen's journey in IT Asset Management has been nothing short of remarkable. With a passion for the field, he has witnessed firsthand the challenges organizations face when managing their hardware assets. Particularly during the pandemic, the demand for hardware skyrocketed, leading to supply chain issues and confusion. To address this, the Item Volunteers group was formed, providing much-needed support and guidance to struggling organizations.
"Hardware Asset Management has massively taken off since COVID-19, and now people are realizing that you can't do SAM without HAM. You need to do them both, and that's where Item Volunteers comes into play. SAM feels a bit outdated now. (...) Many organizations found gaps in their Hardware Asset Management strategy. They sent home monitors and other hardware without proper documentation, and now they have no idea where those assets are. They're sending out surveys, but I can't imagine they're getting good data from that. It's a hellish situation for many organizations."
One of the notable trends in Hardware Asset Management is the shift in mentality towards extending the lifespan of assets. Financial savviness has taken center stage, with organizations realizing the value of pre-loved hardware assets. Additionally, the focus in Software Asset Management has shifted from compliance to managing named user subscriptions, reflecting the industry's changing landscape.
But it's not just about compliance anymore. Customer experience has become a key priority for Asset Management teams. Quick provisioning of software and hardware, along with excellent customer service, are now at the forefront. The new generation expects instant access to the tools they need, and asset managers must adapt to meet these expectations.
Yet, Foxen said managing software and hardware comes with its fair share of challenges. Performance issues with laptops are often caused by software updates rather than hardware problems, making it crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of compatibility. Moreover, the disposition of assets can be impacted by something as seemingly small as stickers on laptops, affecting their value.
Luckily, he pointed out there are solutions.
Key components to include in your ITAM strategy
Implementing effective Asset Management practices involves several key strategies, like maintaining a comprehensive inventory, enabling transparency, and effective tracking throughout the lifecycle of hardware and software assets. Accurate inventory data allows organizations to make informed decisions about acquisition, allocation, and disposal, optimizing resource allocation.
"It's a bit more patience and educating users that I understand it may seem like your laptop is rubbish, not working, but actually, we've got the tools now where we can see that this vendor's upgraded this and it doesn't work now because the OS needs to upgrade or you know it's maxing out the RAM and they need to provide a bug fix and stuff like that. Whereas understanding how your users are using your hardware and software, that's something that we've taken throughout working in software asset management. (...) It's a big balancing act, but it's an awesome challenge. There's so much value you can add."
The balancing act is understanding the complexity of the nitty-gritty and finding solutions. But before we jump into those strategies, let’s condense the main components that Foxen and Beran discussed:
Regular audits: These are essential for maintaining accuracy and identifying discrepancies in the Asset Management process. Audits uphold data integrity and provide valuable insights into the state of assets. Foxen explained conducting audits enables organizations to optimize resource allocation and make informed decisions about future investments.
Clear policies: policies should cover acquisition, allocation, and disposal, ensuring consistency and accountability across the organization. What he advised is to implement policies for software licensing and compliance to help navigate licensing agreements and avoid penalties.
Security: robust security measures protect assets from unauthorized access or theft. He pointed out that regularly updating and patching software assets will ensure optimal performance and safeguard against vulnerabilities. Prioritizing security helps organizations mitigate risks and enhance overall asset protection.
Education and training: Foxen remarked providing employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle assets properly reduces the risk of loss, theft, or misuse. So fostering a culture of responsibility and awareness empowers the workforce to make informed decisions and contribute to the success of Asset Management initiatives.
Leveraging technology: Asset Management tools and software streamline processes, improve efficiency, and provide visibility into asset performance. Automation of manual tasks minimizes errors and provides valuable insights for informed decision-making.
Now, these are the key strategies that will enable organizations to optimize the asset lifecycle, enhance security, and increase operational efficiency:
- Maintain a comprehensive inventory of all hardware and software assets.
- Implement a robust tracking system to monitor the lifecycle of assets.
- Regularly conduct audits to ensure accuracy and identify any discrepancies.
- Develop and enforce policies for asset acquisition, allocation, and disposal.
- Establish clear guidelines for software licensing and compliance.
- Implement effective security measures to protect assets from unauthorized access or theft.
- Regularly update and patch software to ensure optimal performance and security.
- Provide training and education to employees on proper asset handling and usage.
- Implement Asset Management tools and software to streamline processes and improve efficiency.
- Continuously monitor and evaluate asset performance to identify areas for improvement and cost savings.
- Foster collaboration between IT and other departments to ensure alignment and maximize asset utilization.
This is just a summary of Ticket Volume's episode featuring David Foxen. Be sure to listen to the full discussion with Matt Beran to learn more about his IT asset management best practices and why putting stickers on your work computer is his personal nightmare.
You can find the full episode on popular platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or any other podcast platform you prefer. Remember to subscribe if you're interested in joining the monthly live recordings!