Effective IT Asset Management is an absolute must to ensure high-quality IT services without huge expenses. Implementing an ITAM strategy has many perks in diverse areas such as Knowledge Management, IT security, finances, and employee experience. However, the only way to truly benefit from all of these is to do proactive IT Asset Management.
To help you with that, we put together a list of ten ways in which you can do exactly that – and explore the consequences of being reactive instead of proactive.
Keep reading to learn more!
What does it mean to take a proactive IT Asset Management approach?
In a few words, a proactive ITAM approach understands an organization’s IT asset management requirements. As the name suggests, it anticipates the IT services the organization and its employees may need. Based on this, it’s helpful to ensure that the company has the necessary assets to support these requirements at a minimal cost.
Proactive ITAM begins with taking account of the organization’s IT assets and creating detailed inventories. This way, you know the number of software licenses, hardware devices, and non-IT assets your organization has (and if they're assigned or vacant), and you can automatically track them to have a real-time status.
But if you think that alone would be awesome to have, wait until you hear the rest. Once your inventory is in place, you can understand if the assets are meeting business requirements, if investing is needed now or in the future, and so much more!
With proactive IT Asset Management, you’re providing your organization (and your ITAM team) with valuable information to predict and act on before problems arise.
4 benefits of a proactive ITAM strategy
Doing proactive Asset Management has several benefits:
- Reduces IT expenditure for the organization.
- Improves IT security and helps with vulnerability management.
- Keeps the organization and its IT Agile.
- Reduces the risk of compliance failures.
What’s the difference between proactive and reactive ITAM?
If being proactive is all about getting ahead of problems (and avoiding them, most of the time), with a reactive asset management approach, you’ll be trying to resolve ITAM issues as they come up.
Let's say the ITOps team reports that the company doesn’t have the hardware to support its infrastructure. Instead of being proactive and staying on top of the business requirements (which in this case would imply that the IT department foresaw the problem, acted in consequence based on the available hardware inventory, and probably avoided the problem at all), you work on a solution once the issue arises, and if you don’t have an updated inventory at hand, pretty much the only thing to do is to acquire new hardware.
As you can see, in a reactive approach there’s a lot less planning or long-term strategy involved, which means you’ll spend money unwisely, be exposed to cybersecurity risks, and improvise as you go.
10 ways to do proactive IT Asset Management
Enough with the theory. It’s time to take a look at ten ways to implement proactive IT Asset Management in your organization.
1. Build an Asset Management team
A dedicated Asset Management team is a must-have for a proactive IT asset management strategy. ITAM is complex, and it involves multiple processes and responsibilities. Organizations use a large number of software and hardware tools that require careful management – they have to be regularly updated, monitored for security vulnerabilities and performance issues, and changed as necessary.
Furthermore, failures in asset management can be costly. Compliance failures can invite heavy fines and penalties; software vulnerabilities can make the organization prone to cyber-attacks if they’re not patched on time.
All of these are tasks that should be assigned to IT asset managers that have the knowledge and time to deal with them.
2. Purchase Asset Management software
Asset Management software takes care of most of the actions associated with proactive ITAM, so it’s a no-brainer to acquire it – and ditch that spreadsheet you have instead.
An ITAM solution will provide you with a complete picture of your software and hardware assets and their status, data to analyze your IT asset expenditures, and insights to improve your ITAM processes and better plan the strategy.
In this sense, with InvGate Insight you’ll have:
- A thorough understanding of your hardware and software inventory.
- A CMDB to see how your infrastructure is related.
- Automated asset tracking.
- Contract lifecycle management.
- Software metering.
With these capabilities, it can streamline your company’s IT asset management processes seamlessly.
3. Pay attention to Asset Health Management
Asset Health Management keeps track of the health of the physical assets of your organization. They are an integral part of proactive ITAM and are used to detect any issues with devices to decide whether to repair or replace them. So, it’s crucial to improve their reliability and lifespan.
InvGate Insight's Asset Health Rules.
For instance, InvGate Insight’s Asset Health Rules will show you the status of your assets based on your organization’s compliance requirements. You can customize the set of parameters that triggers the criticality scale to match what you consider an issue.
With this information on their side, the ITAM team can detect issues before they become a problem, and try to predict how the assets will behave or perform in the future.
4. Use automation
Proactive ITAM is resource-intensive. Processes like asset discovery and inventory management will take a lot of resources if done manually, and will be prone to human error. With automation, you can improve your ITAM processes and make them robust and efficient.
Of course, InvGate Insight lets you automate:
- IT asset discovery to scan your network periodically.
- Alerts to be notified when there’s an issue with your assets.
- Reports to receive periodically on your email account.
- And more!
This way, you’ll reduce your team’s workload, ensure that everything is being monitored constantly, and reduce errors in the processes.
5. Partner with Finances
Another clever idea to do proactive IT Asset Management is to create a strong partnership with the Finances department. This way, you can capture IT assets right from the purchase stage, which means that you’ll build the IT budget in collaboration with them and be involved in the purchase process.
Optimizing the costs associated with the IT assets is a huge part of ITAM, and by partnering with Finances, you’ll be proactively working towards better asset acquisition and effective maintenance decisions. Combining the knowledge of both areas will conduct your organization to leave silos behind and take decisions that take into account the organization’s requirements and financial status.
6. Predict the employees’ needs
Another strategy to implement a proactive ITAM approach is to predict what the company employees would want before they request it. The ITAM team should be able to evaluate the organization’s IT asset needs, software and hardware usage, and market trends to fill the needs before they slow down the workflow or productivity.
Predicting the demand includes monitoring asset performance, knowing the number of employees using the different solutions, listening to their pain points, and being aware of the different roles’ asset requirements. But that’s not all; it also includes keeping track of industry trends to get ahead of new needs, roadblocks, and requests.
In this sense, proactive demand analysis and asset procurement are crucial for creating a great digital employee experience. By actively listening to the users, you’ll be able to put them first and provide them with the best possible tools to perform their job.
7. Implement preventative maintenance
To do proactive IT asset management, businesses also need a preventive maintenance strategy for their assets. Most organizations often have an "if it ain’t broken…" policy towards maintenance. And though this is not necessarily the wrong approach (especially for low-risk assets), being reactive may have a negative impact in the long run.
Preventative or preventive maintenance consists of scheduling regular maintenance and updates to prevent costly downtimes and expensive repairs and to extend the devices’ lifespan.
The good news is that Asset Management teams can automate this to a large extent, for instance, by programming automated diagnostics, and running regular security checks on their overall infrastructure.
8. Include end-of-life asset management
Even with perfect maintenance and regular updates, you’ll eventually have to replace or upgrade your assets. To be proactive, businesses should plan for the end-of-life of their assets.
Most companies replace or upgrade their devices only way after their end-of-life, and after their performance has started impacting the employee and customer experience (as well as the organizational productivity).
This approach can be costly since being near the end of the lifecycle means that hardware assets can become unreliable and cause disruptive downtimes. On top of this, vendors may stop providing security updates to software assets, which can leave the organization vulnerable.
Once again, it’s essential to track the assets’ lifecycle, monitor their health status, and establish a timeline to dispose of them as soon as (or even before) they become obsolete.
9. Focus on continual service improvement
A mindset of continual service improvement is key for proactive Asset Management since it allows you to spot pain points and improvement opportunities to make your ITAM strategy better.
To implement this, ITAM teams should constantly collect feedback from stakeholders regarding asset performance and iterate its services, assess the business requirements and set metrics for asset performance based on this, and continually monitor and track these metrics to improve them.
10. Don't forget about IT security
One of the main advantages of proactive ITAM is enhanced IT security. Instead of scrambling to fix threats or roll out patches, it prevents or mitigates the risk of threats in the first place.
For this, your ITAM team should build a strong cybersecurity culture that champions security from the asset acquisition stage. In addition, they should also have a robust patch management strategy, a plan to stay on top of security patches and ensure that all assets are updated in time, and an overall vulnerability management strategy to keep track of cyber threats associated with their systems and mitigate the risks.
Proactive IT Asset Management helps your organization reduce security and compliance risks, optimizes IT hardware performance, and helps you better manage the IT budget. It includes keeping track of the organization’s assets, monitoring its performance, managing security threats, predicting the changing business requirements, and adapting the ITAM strategy accordingly.
Unlike a reactive ITAM, this approach gives your organization more time to manage changes and helps prevent downtime and reduced performance. Organizations that do reactive ITAM tend to be constantly putting out fires and running around trying to fix things. On the contrary, with proactive ITAM you can anticipate issues before they cause trouble.
To put it into practice, you need a dedicated Asset Management team with the right knowledge to implement it. And you'll also need to make everything easier! Don't forget that you can request our to see it first-hand, or you can so they can walk you through it.