IT Asset Management

Software Asset Management

Software Asset Management applies to the business practices specific to software management, including software license management, configuration management, standardization of images and compliance to regulatory and legal restrictions—such as copyright law, Sarbanes Oxley and software publisher contractual compliance. Legal software use, in an organization, is enforced by such compliance companies as Business Software Alliance, SIIA and FAST. Software is referred to as ‘entitlements’ so that SAM programs confirm the right to use, or entitlement to that software by the user. Automation is used to facilitate this management. Microsoft maintains a list of SAM providers to help customers manage their software.

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Hardware Asset Management

Hardware Asset Management entails the management of all physical components of computers and computer networks, from acquisition to final disposal. Common business practices include Request and Approval processes, Procurement Management, Life Cycle Management, Redeployment and Disposal Management. A key component is capturing the financial information about the hardware life cycle, as this aids the organization in making business decisions based on meaningful and measurable financial objectives.

Role of IT Asset Management in an organization

The IT Asset Management function is the primary point of accountability for the Life-Cycle Management of the organization’s Information Technology assets. This responsibility includes the development and maintenance of policies, standards, processes, systems and measurements. These responsibilities enable the organization to effectively manage its IT Asset Portfolio with respect to risk, cost, control, IT Governance, compliance and business performance objectives, as established by the business. IT Asset Management integrates the physical, technological, contractual and financial aspects of Information Technology assets, in order to create a holistic, proactive approach to achieving the set objectives.

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Goals of ITAM

ITAM business practices have a common set of goals:

  1.  Uncovering savings through process improvement and supporting strategic decision-making
  2. Gaining control of the inventory
  3. Increasing accountability, to ensure compliance
  4. Enhancing performance of assets and the Life Cycle Management
  5. Risk reduction through standardization, proper documentation, loss detection, etc.

Process

ITAM business practices are process-driven and have matured through iterative and focused improvements. Most successful ITAM programs are invasive to the organization, involving everyone at some level, such as end users (educating them on compliance), budget managers (redeployment, as a choice), IT service departments (providing information on warranties), and finance (invoice reconciliation, updates for fixed asset inventories).

IT Asset Management generally uses automation to manage the discovery of assets, so inventory can be compared to ownership information. Full business management of IT assets requires a repository of multiple types of information about the asset, as well as integration with other systems such as supply chain, help desk, procurement and HR systems.

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