08 June 2023
Will Islwyn Lambert
Tips for Managing IT Assets on a Budget
Managing IT assets has become more crucial than ever, and the end goal is to maximize efficiency, profitability and compliance, and minimize risk.
This article lists some ways to make the most of your IT budget, enhance productivity,and maintain a healthy and efficient IT environment.
In our experience, companies can run very successful ITAM functions on a tight budget. One of the key factors in achieving that is putting in
the right systems to manage assets. Fundamentally, you need to know:
- What you've got
- Who uses it
- Where is it
- Is it's performance up to the job
- Does it carry associated risks
- Does it carry associated costs
- Is it compliant
- Does it maximise efficiency for it's users.
This data gives you the intelligence needed to manage IT assets. This must be combined with the functionality needed to manage IT assets effectively:
- Asset register
- Asset lifecycle functions
- Software Asset Management
- Procurement and Receiving
- Disposal and obsolescence
- Service Management
- Contract Management
- Key Performance Indicators
We recommend implementing a central data source which includes data from network discovery and integrates with on-premise and cloud systems
to pull all relevant asset data into a single holistic repository.
1. Implement Automated Network Discovery
Network discovery tools offer a comprehensive view of the entire network ecosystem, with very little effort needed to implement.
This visibility enables IT teams to identify and catalog devices, applications, and servers,
empowering them to make informed decisions about resource allocation and optimization.
Moreover, automated network discovery aids in tracking changes, detecting vulnerabilities, and ensuring compliance with licensing requirements.
By implementing this technology, organizations can streamline their IT asset management workflows,
minimize manual efforts, and save valuable time and resources. With automated network discovery,
managing IT assets on a budget becomes an achievable goal, allowing businesses to extract the most value from their technology investments.
2. System Integration
Integrating existing systems into a central hub allows the asset data stored in the source systems to be viewed and managed in a single repository.
The integrations we support include:
- Microsoft System Center - SCCM
- Microsoft Intune
- JAMF, Cisco Meraki and Kandji
- Active Directory and Azure Active Directory
- HP webjet for printers
- Azure cloud server instances
- AWS cloud server instances
- Google cloud server instances
- Dell and Lenovo Warranties
Other integrations can be implemented quickly at low cost.
Where appropriate these integrations can enable real-time or near-real-time updates across platforms,
ensuring that asset information remains accurate and up to date.
3. Smart Procurement Strategies
Prioritizing needs and focusing on essential equipment and software licenses is crucial.
Exploring options for refurbished or off-lease equipment can provide significant cost savings without compromising performance.
Building relationships with vendors or resellers who offer budget-friendly solutions can also help negotiate favorable pricing.
For example, smaller vendors will sometimes negotiate a discount in return for reviews, case studies and references.
Considering open-source alternatives or negotiating volume discounts can further stretch the IT budget.
By implementing at least some of the following strategies, businesses can make cost-effective procurement decisions while managing IT assets on a budget.
- Analyse the organization's requirements to ensure that asset procurement aligns with business goals.
- Develop a well-defined procurement plan that includes budgeting, vendor evaluation, negotiation strategies, and preferred procurement methods.
- Identify multiple vendors and compare their offerings, prices, warranties, and customer reviews to find the best value for money.
- Negotiate with vendors to secure volume discounts or explore group purchasing options with other organizations to reduce costs.
- Evaluate the feasibility of purchasing refurbished or off-lease IT assets, which can provide cost savings without compromising performance.
- Establish a centralized procurement system that streamlines the purchasing process, ensuring consistency, accountability, and cost control.
- Explore open-source software options or cost-effective alternatives that meet the organization's requirements while minimizing licensing costs.
- Build long-term relationships with reliable vendors and suppliers who understand the organization's needs and can provide competitive pricing and favorable terms.
- Periodically review procurement processes, contracts, and expenses to identify areas for improvement and ensure compliance.
- Utilize asset tracking and management systems to monitor lifecycle, location, and usage of IT assets.
4. Streamlining the Receiving Process
A streamlined and well-organized receiving process helps control costs and ensures accurate inventory management.
Implement standardized receiving procedures, such as thorough inspections and verification against purchase orders,
businesses can avoid unnecessary expenses due to incorrect or damaged items.
Additionally, promptly updating the asset management system with received assets allows for better tracking and prevents discrepancies.
Microsoft Autopilot can be used to deploy standard builds of Windows computers, and similar systems such as Kickstart and Apple Device Deployment
can facilitate automated builds of Linux and Apple devices. Ansible, Puppet, and Chef are also worth reviewing.
By optimizing the receiving process, organizations can minimize errors, reduce delays, and maintain an accurate record of IT assets,
ultimately maximizing efficiency while managing IT assets on a budget.
5. Using an IT Asset Register
An IT asset register is a powerful tool for effectively managing IT assets while operating on a limited budget.
By maintaining a centralized database of all IT assets, businesses can gain visibility into their inventory, track asset details,
and make informed decisions about resource allocation.
When working with budget constraints, an asset register enables organizations to optimize asset utilization, identify obsolete resources,
and plan for future upgrades or replacements strategically.
Additionally, it aids in tracking software licenses, managing maintenance schedules, and ensuring compliance.
By maintaining an IT asset register, businesses can optimize their asset management workflows, reduce unnecessary expenditure,
and maximize the value of their IT investments, ultimately achieving operational efficiency even when resources are limited.
6. Utilizing Software Asset Management (SAM)
Software Asset Management (SAM) is a key component of managing IT assets on a budget.
With the rising costs of software licenses, optimizing software licensing becomes critical to cost control.
SAM enables businesses to effortlessly track, manage, and optimize their software assets,
ensuring compliance and maximizing value. By conducting regular audits, organizations can identify unused licenses,
allowing for license reallocation.
SAM also helps prevent over-licensing and potential penalties by accurately tracking license agreements against installed instances.
Moreover, it aids in identifying opportunities for open-source or cost-effective alternatives.
7. Increase Efficiency with Cloud Asset Management
Cloud Asset Management is a game-changer for businesses looking to manage cloud assets effectively while operating on a limited budget.
This includes virtual servers, cloud storage, SAAS applications, cloud services including (Email, SMS, domains, DNS, ecommerce, AI),
cloud backup solutions and may include cloud-dependent on-premise applications.
Cloud Asset Management allows organizations to gain visibility and control over their cloud assets, including virtual machines,
storage, and applications. By monitoring usage, identifying idle resources, and implementing rightsizing techniques,
businesses can eliminate unnecessary cloud expenditures.
Many ITAM solutions now include the ability to store cloud services and cloud assets side-by-side with on-premise inventory. This allows
tracking of service interdependencies and allows expenditure in cloud and non-cloud to be reviewed in parallel.
8. Customizing Functionality by User Group
To effectively manage IT assets on a budget, providing each user group with only the functions they need is a strategic approach that can
yield significant productivity, time, and cost savings.
By implementing user access controls and customizing permissions, businesses can ensure that employees have access to the specific tools and functions required
for their roles, without unnecessary extras. This approach minimizes the licensing costs associated with providing full access to all software and applications for every user.
It also reduces the risk of unauthorized access and potential security breaches.
By tailoring user access to individual needs, organizations can optimize their IT asset management, enhance productivity,
and maintain a simple and productive IT environment, all within the constraints of a budget.
9. Spares and Storage Management
Managing spares and storage is a crucial aspect of managing IT assets on a budget.
Having a well-organized system for spare parts and storage can significantly reduce costs and enhance operational performance.
By carefully tracking spare parts and ensuring proper storage, businesses can avoid unnecessary purchases and extend the lifespan of existing assets.
Implementing a centralized inventory management system helps keep track of spare parts, making it easier to identify and utilize them when needed.
Additionally, optimizing storage space and implementing proper asset storage practices can prevent damage and reduce the need for premature replacements.
By managing spares and storage effectively, organizations can minimize expenses, optimize resource utilization,
and make the most of their IT assets within budget constraints.
10. Regularly Review and Optimize IT Asset Management Practices
Continuously reviewing and optimizing your IT asset management practices is essential for long-term success.
Set aside time periodically to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, tools, and processes.
Identify areas for improvement, such as streamlining workflows, updating tracking systems, or exploring new cost-saving technologies.
Regularly assess your asset inventory to identify obsolete or underutilized resources that can be phased out or repurposed.
By consistently fine-tuning your IT asset management practices, you can adapt to changing needs, identify cost-saving opportunities,
and maintain optimal efficiency within your budget constraints.
One excellent way to consistently, quickly and repeatedly review your ITAM practices is to implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
These can often be reported by your ITAM toolset. Some sample KPIs are listed below:
- Inventory Accuracy
- Value driven reporting
- Aging, expenditure, resources, low specificiation assets and roles
- Software compliance
- Sql server databases
- Performance measures
What Next ?
We recommend a brainstorming session with your key people in ITAM, ITSM, networking, and key end users, to help identify
areas where savings, efficiency improvements, compliance improvements or risk exposure can be addressed.
- Identify quick wins, examine the feasibility of each one and implement a solution as quickly as possible
- Identify expenditure streams which could be reduced
- Identify asset availability issues and whether they can be sourced by procurement, repurposing, or storage management
- Identify longer term strategic goals
- Implement a solution which gives you visibility of the measures needed to track continuous improvement