The Importance of Effective Hardware Asset Management

Emiliano Pardo Saguier June 13, 2022
- 6 min read

Hardware asset management is what you do once you’ve made a thorough inventory of all of your hardware assets. And thus HAM, as it’s known affectionately, is an integral part of keeping your IT house in order. As opposed to software asset management, or SAM, it requires you to pay attention to the tangible assets in your company. 

First, let’s take a look at what hardware asset management is. The first part is, as per our linked article, having a hardware inventory.

“A hardware inventory is a detailed list of all the hardware used in an organization. This includes the laptops, phones, and other devices used by the employees, common equipment like routers, printers, and just about all electronic devices that belong to the company. The list will also have details such as who is using it, when it was purchased, warranty info, software update status, and other information for maintaining the device.”

Let’s see how having a detailed inventory translates into managing your hardware assets.

Hardware Asset Management 

So, now you have a hardware inventory. And after comes that pesky asset management part. You know, where you actually have to pay attention to how every part of the system is doing, and the complex interactions between components. 

So, hardware asset management is, first and foremost, about governance. About tracking every physical asset and making sure it’s compliant with ITIL (if that's your goal), and doing overall good to your IT environment. From asset birth to asset retirement, there needs to be processes in place that keep all of your hardware assets operating at maximum capacity. 

And these correct HAM processes are not just about asset management. When you do things right, the time it takes to correct issues and come up with fixes goes down dramatically. That means that this also will be a net benefit to end users. Moreover, it’ll free up your IT team so they can concentrate on other, more important tasks than hardware procurement or “Mike, the printer’s not working again!” 

Hardware Lifecycle Management  

Nothing lasts forever, and this is true not just for life in  general, but for software and hardware as well. This means that, as with everything, you need to know where each hardware asset is in its respective lifecycle. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, into the molten steel like Arnie at the end of Terminator 2. 

And, just like the circle of life, hardware lifecycle management follows its own pattern: 

  • The time when the hardware is requested. 
  • Hardware procurement 
  • Installation of the corresponding company software
  • Deployment
  • Usage, and anything that comes up with it (replacement, warranty, etc.)
  • Hardware storage, repair, or other time-outs (not retirement) 
  • Item no longer in warranty or maintenance (getting ready to go out the door) 
  • Retirement 
  • Disposal 

And speaking of disposal, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair either. We’re not saying “take a flamethrower to your old assets.” In fact, depending on where you live, some organizations or companies will take old hardware assets off your hands — and pay you for it while they’re at it. . 

Or, if that’s not the way you want to go with your hardware assets, that’s fine. There’s always the option of donating your retired assets to schools, universities, or charitable organizations. 

Hardware asset management lifecycle

Mind you, always make sure to leave every piece of hardware scrubbed clean before it changes hands. You don’t want any sensitive company information in someone else’s position. Cybersecurity isn’t always about the cloud, but about following safe, common-sense data practices (this is why it's important to build a culture of cybersecurity in your company). Plus, your organization can incur huge fines if they don’t deliver their assets completely wiped by the time they get to their new orders. 

HAM and SAM

Both HAM and SAM are two sides of the same coin, sides that must coexist in perfect harmony and balance if you’re going to tackle IT asset management the right way. One cannot function effectively without the other, so you need proper hardware management in order for software processes to work as intended, and vice versa

Say you’re getting a shiny new software online. Has your IT department done their due diligence? As you know, acquisitions are a key part of HAM. Therefore, you need to know beforehand whether the any new software is compatible with the equipment you’ve got already. The more complex the software, the more likely it’ll need specialized equipment. 

And this doesn’t just apply to high-end new software. Legacy software, for instance, will only run on certain equipment as well. That’s why software asset management, with its emphasis on version histories and licenses, is so crucial; it’s not just about the latest and greatest hardware, but also about keeping what still works around until upgrades or changes are absolutely necessary. 

How HAM saves you money 

There’s probably a whole metaphor about cold cuts here, but it’s past its sell-by date. What you do need to know about hardware asset management is that, if you’re smart about it, you can save a fortune. 

How? By cutting down on the costs each hardware asset has during its lifecycle. Basically, you get to keep them in service for the same amount of money, but you get more out of them for less. 

Here are the key aspects that make this possible. You reduce: 

  1. Maintenance costs. 
  2. Overall hardware budgets
  3. Spending on software
  4. Wasted money during the disposal process 

An often-overlooked aspect of managing an asset’s lifecycle is seeing how much overall spending is dumped on it before retirement. But you know better, and capturing that information will lead to you making informed choices about when and how to spend your money. 

Additionally, you’ll meet your financial objectives more comfortably, and that’s never a bad thing. When you’re able to do that sustainably, you can plan ahead with more confidence. The result? Being able to set financial objectives for both software and hardware assets, as well as creating more confidence and transparency. 

Staying on top of your hardware assets will help you make sure you don’t overspend on them. Correct HAM processes will allow you to spend less time and money on identifying and buying new assets. Keeping every item quantified will let you track where it is, how it’s performing, and whether any changes are necessary. That way, when an asset is no longer needed, you can find it and replace it or decommission it without having to perform unnecessary detective work. 

And the consequences of good HAM processes are more far-reaching than you think. While you can save time and money with these common-sense practices, they also trickle down to things like spending less time on ITSM SLAs

What Hardware Asset Management done right looks like

Now, what you need is asset management software that will help you get a comprehensive view of your entire asset library. Overly complicated software that obscures more than it helps will only set back your whole cause and cause frustration in the process (not to mention wasted time and money).

Efficiency is the name of the game here, not fancy-schmancy HUDs where you can’t tell if you’re playing a videogame or getting work done. 

Want to take the smart way out? InvGate insight provides you with a complete, elegant visualization of your IT estate. Everything you need to know about your physical, digital, and cloud-based assets is here, under a single roof.

InvGate Insight

And the idea is to not just have a clear line of sight towards all of your assets, but to get usable information about them. Insight does just that: it lets you access data and insights from both assets and groups of assets, leading to more informed decisions. 

Plus, since Insight centralizes the information from all of your hardware and software assets, it facilitates the creation of a centralized catalog, a CMDB

But hey, you don't have to go all-in without trying it for yourself. See if it works for you and your company with this 30-day free trial period

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