Understanding Asset Management
Optimise your selection of an asset management software package
Companies implementing asset management save substantial money and manpower resources
The benefits of implementing asset management almost always exceed expectations

Asset Management Software Explained

Overview

This article is intended to help the reader understand why companies implement asset management software and what the potential benefits are. Companies who implement asset management software do so for specific reasons and typically they will gain more benefits than expected soon after implementation.

We have learned over the past fifteen years of implementing enterprise solutions, that most companies will save a lot of money and enjoy a substantial reduction in administrative manpower by implementing an Asset Management Software package.

There are several key reasons why companies need Asset Management Software. Usually the primary drivers are visibility and increased efficiencies which lead to reduced manpower, reduction in spending, asset reuse, visibility of inventory, visibility of compliance positions, warnings based on asset related events, risk management, security management and management reporting.

The key to any asset management system is an Asset Register (or a CMDB), usually with functionality built around the records in that register. Some help desk systems contain Asset Registers, although they rarely provide the functionality and accessibility needed to manage assets effectively. Low cost asset registers usually do not provide the flexibility to configure their applications as needed.

Common Requirements in Fixed Asset Management Software

When companies approach xAssets for a Fixed Asset Management solution, they typically have in mind one or more of the following requirements:

  • A simple asset register to assist with corporate governance
  • Depreciation Calculation and Financial Asset Management
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Barcoding - tagging and periodically scanning assets to ensure correct inventory
  • Planned Maintenance - keeping machinery maintained
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Asset Performance Reporting and asset KPI reports

Those companies will usually gain all of the above benefits which are relevant to them, and often the following unexpected benefits will also apply:

  • Easy reporting on aspects of the inventory by different classifications
  • Visibility and reuse of assets in storage
  • Visibility of the reliability of assets by manufacturer, model and user
  • Reduction in asset purchase costs through reuse and price comparison
  • Asset register kept up to date automatically through integration to other systems
  • Other systems kept up to date through integration with the Asset Management Software
  • Email alerts on key events such as spare part storage thresholds, disposals, capital acquisitions
  • Help desk can instantly attach an asset to an incident to facilitate quick resolution
  • Modelling of forecast depreciation

Common Requirements in IT Asset Management Software

When companies approach xAssets for an IT asset management solution, they typically have in mind one or more of the following requirements:

  • Network Discovery to discover IP based Hardware
  • Maintenance of Manually Entered IT Assets
  • Software Asset Management and Software License Compliance
  • Integration to other systems like SCCM, SMS, Active Directory, System Center, HP Webjet
  • Barcoding
  • Contract Management
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Service Management and Help Desk

Those companies will usually gain all of the above benefits which are relevant to them, and often the following unexpected benefits will also apply:

  • Easy reporting on aspects of the inventory by different classifications
  • Visibility and reuse of assets in storage
  • Completeness of inventory through integration to many existing systems and discovery
  • IMACS - Reporting of changes between two time points
  • Full inventory or Monitors, Printers, VMs and Peripherals
  • Management of Intangible Assets such as IP, documents, Patents, Contracts and Leases, Copyrights
  • Full visibility of the Software License Compliance Position

Financial Benefits

Gartner and Metha Groups have suggested based on US data that 10% to 40% of IT costs can be saved by managing IT assets effectively. We have also seen similar savings in other aspects of asset management outside of IT. These cost savings typically come from the following:

  • Software License Reuse
  • Help desk efficiency in reducing call resolution times through asset visibility
  • Reuse of assets in storage
  • Well managed and well maintained assets last longer and can be retired later
  • Ability to crack down on inventory changes as they occur (e.g. when a user installs software)
  • Centralization of purchasing and savings through bulk purchasing
  • Management of Intangible Assets such as IP, documents, Patents, Contracts and Leases, Copyrights
  • Full visibility of the Software License Compliance Position

Manpower Benefits

Asset management software typically saves workforce time by giving rapid access to relevant information:

  • Help desk have instant access to a PC to see software, disk space, and recent changes
  • Staff can quickly find an asset in storage and deploy it quickly
  • When servers go down, failover and replacement equipment is already documented
  • Centralized procurement means unqualified staff are not spending time contacting vendors
  • Upgrades are easier to execute, because you have total visibility of the assets to upgrade
  • The Board have access to relevant charts and reports, saving management time
  • Management of Intangible Assets such as IP, documents, Patents, Contracts and Leases, Copyrights
  • Full visibility of the Software License Compliance Position

Other Benefits

Outside of financial and manpower benefits companies typically also enjoy the following benefits from implementing asset management:

  • Increased asset reliability through scheduled maintenance
  • Increased asset reliability through proactive detection of unwanted changes
  • Legal Compliance in terms of SOX, software licencing and corporate governance
  • Set disposal due dates for assets which might constitute a business risk when they reach a given age
  • Reports ready for Auditor visits
  • Centralised management of the entire asset base

Service Management

Although xAssets primarily sells asset management software it is important to realise that Service Management cannot be effective without being tightly integrated into an asset register or CMDB. The service desk will struggle to resolve calls without visibility of the asset, its specification, its history, its recent changes and the history of its users and usage. For those reasons, we have built integrations to leading help desk applications AND we also supply a service desk system within our products to enable customers to implement asset centric service management as part of their asset management implementation.

What to Look Out For

There is a significant difference between the low cost asset management software packages available today and the "enterprise" packages from companies like xAssets. The key differences with enterprise aligned packages are:

  • Scalability to support large organisations
  • Configurability - meet customer requirements for business processes and customisable forms
  • Programmability - able to meet any requirement through APIs, languages, and other access points
  • Integration - a standalone asset management system is of limited benefit
  • Stability - ensure your choice has a substantial user base and an enterprise pedigree
  • User Experience - each user sees just the functions and processes they need
  • Completeness of solution - the functionality for what you need today and what you need in future
  • Support - substantial return on investment can only become reality with excellent vendor support in place

xAssets provides one of the most configurable applications available. We allow the configuration and development of forms, queries, reports, menus, dashboards, layouts, user profiles, user groups and data recognition. With xAssets Asset Management Software it is possible to create entirely new business functions and workflows from the out of the box package, effectively we are able to meet any asset-centric requirement, usually without programming.

This depth of configuration also enables inference of data. For example xAssets software can recognise the Location of an asset from its IP address. Sometimes departments or locations are inferred from part of the computer name. Accounting codes in the accounting system might infer a cost centre code in the asset management system. Essentially, configurable systems like xAssets enable the inference of any data item from any other, they enable the raising of email alerts and notifications based on the results of any query, and can show, for example, a configurable system like xAssets will show a specific form for certain types of asset class or incident status.

What to do now?

Decide a starting point for your approach based on whether your need is primarily related to Financial Asset Management and Depreciation, IT Asset Management, Planned Maintenance or Asset Centric Service Management. List your key requirements and scour the web for sites like this which will help you become aware of what other features and benefits might be helpful. Review the tools that meet your requirements based on functionality, benefits, features, architecture, company standing, support policies and costs, and then engage with the vendors to ensure those products meet or exceed your requirements.

Click here to learn more about xAssets Fixed Asset Management >

Click here to learn more about xAssets IT Asset Management >

Click here to learn more about xAssets Network Discovery Software >

Click here to learn more about xAssets Service Management Software >