As the battered economy begins its long, uphill recovery, IT professionals are under great pressure to squeeze every last ounce of productivity from their limited budgets.
One way to increase efficiency and save on costs is by managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization and disposal of hardware and software applications within the organization. IT asset management is often overlooked as other technology concerns take precedence. This leads to redundant and unnecessary spending and underutilized resources. It also increases risk by exposing the company to potentially costly compliance issues such as the misuse of software licenses.
From a cost-saving standpoint, having an accurate inventory of IT assets is critical when deciding whether to purchase more assets, redistribute current assets, or retire them completely along with associated costly maintenance contracts and license renewal fees. Without a comprehensive management program in place, IT assets can cost organizations far more than they should. In addition, maintaining and distributing assets across the company while ensuring employees have the tools they need to do their jobs becomes complicated when the assets cannot be readily found.
One solution is asset management software, which delivers efficiencies across the organization by offering IT admins a map of the PCs, servers, network devices, accessories, software licenses, updates and in-house software residing across the enterprise. With a good asset management system, an IT admin can monitor company assets while doing other tasks, eliminating the need to dedicate scarce tech support time to that responsibility.
Asset management software provides IT admins with visibility across the network via a management console that presents a clear and up-to-date inventory of all technology. The information gleaned would include the number and location of desktops; what hardware needs to be replaced; what software needs to be installed or updated; and what unused legacy licenses or applications can be discontinued.
In addition, a good portion of an organization’s IT spending goes to unnecessary or underutilized equipment and software. Organizations often buy more equipment than they need, and they tend to underestimate the equipment they actually own. A client company of Hewlett-Packard estimated that it owned 700 PCs; the company was surprised to discover that it actually owned 1,200.
Keeping Track of IT
An asset management system can do more than simply inventory hardware and software. It can also track when each machine was purchased; what processor it uses; who installed what software on it and when; how often it is used; and when and how it was or will be retired. Asset management can also help put the best resources into the hands of your workforce.
Asset management can also help put the best resources into the hands of your workforce.
For instance, an underpowered PC can be swapped out for a PC with more memory and a faster processor. A best-of-breed solution also enables remote monitoring and provisioning, automating a previously laborious process of tracking assets physically. Effective asset management software also delivers central management and configuration capabilities, cutting IT costs and speeding the upgrade and provisioning cycle.
Organizations can recoup wasted dollars, redistribute resources and reallocate bandwidth by implementing a robust system that helps its IT efficiently identify unused or underutilized technology assets.
David Richards is president of CrossTec in Boca Raton, Fla., a leading provider of software solutions for network and classroom management.