Understanding Asset Management
Optimize your selection of an asset management software package
Companies implementing asset management see improved governance and reduced spending and manpower costs

Asset Management Software Explained

There are several types of asset management including:

  • IT Asset Management
  • Fixed Asset Management
  • Enterprise Asset Management
  • Financial Asset Management
  • Infrastructure Asset Management
  • Digital Asset Management

xAssets provides solutions for the first three in the above list, IT asset management, Fixed Asset Management, and Enterprise Asset Management. Customers also leverage our flexibility and configurability, meaning solutions are extensible so they can change to adapt to an organizations requirements. This includes Defense Operations in the US and UK, Explosives Management, Clinical and Crime Scene Evidence Management, order processing and other customised solutions.

This article provides detailed explanation for the first two items in the list, IT Asset Management and Fixed Asset Management.

IT Asset Management Explained

Overview

This section explores what an IT asset management (ITAM) solution is and why companies implement IT asset management software, and also discuss the potential benefits this software can offer.

As your IT systems grow ever larger, it's critical you have a clear picture of your company's network and assets.

The best way to achieve this is with an efficient and bespoke IT asset management (ITAM) solution. Using a dedicated tool for the end-to-end management of all your software and hardware assets, you can more easily manage the entire lifecycle process and derive benefits for you and your company in a variety of ways.

Integration is key, if your ITAM solution has a discovery tool, can take feeds from discovery other tools, and from cloud solutions such as Intune, JAMF, JIRA, AWS, and from on-premise data stores such as Active Directory, then we find implementations are far more likely to achieve full utilisation because almost all of the data needed is fed into the system with no data entry needed.

What does an ITAM tool do?

IT asset management software is a tool specifically designed to manage the acquisition, tracking, ageing and disposal of IT assets throughout their entire lifecycle.

Such a tool also provides you and your company with information such as where assets are physically located, who is using them, and the functions they're performing. A good ITAM solution will also give you detailed information about your individual assets and include the ability to produce detailed reports for decision making.

Key driving factors

There are a number of key drivers behind why companies implement an ITAM solution. Generally speaking, they breakdown into the following 3 areas:

Financial benefits

Based on US data, Gartner and Mehta Groups have suggested that 10% to 40% of IT costs can be saved by managing IT assets effectively. These cost savings typically come from the following:

Software license reuse

By knowing what licenses you have available and who is using them, you can save considerable money on the number of seats you've purchased. Similarly, when a tool is no longer as useful as it once was, you can phase it out and move that investment into more productive areas.

Help desk efficiency

The right ITAM solution will give you a comprehensive overview of the issues your help desk teams are currently dealing with and what is being done to resolve them. This directly results in shorter call resolution times and greater productivity across all levels.

Reuse of assets in storage

Well-managed and well-maintained assets last longer and can be retired later. This gives you optimum value from your IT investments and ensures staff can rely on the tools they use.

Proactive inventory management

No one likes unpleasant surprises. With a professional ITAM solution in place, you can instantly be alerted should attempts be made to attach new devices to your network or when a user tries to install unapproved software. This also gives you and your users peace of mind around network security issues and protection from unnecessary risks.

Centralized purchasing

One of the central features of a professional ITAM solution is the end-to-end management of asset purchasing, ageing and retirement. With the right tool in place for your company, your financial teams can easily work together to process purchase orders and make asset requests in one easy-to-manage location. You'll also see real savings by using bulk purchasing.

Management of intangible assets

This includes a host of items that might not readily come to mind. These could be intellectual property, documents, patents, contracts and leases, copyrights, and other high-value company assets. Being able to track and manage these in one location saves valuable time and provides easy access to named stakeholders.

Software license compliance

Full visibility of your software license compliance position is a must in a business environment. You can face serious fines and penalties for using inadequately licensed software. A modern ITAM tool will tell you at a glance what software your users have installed and whether those instances are correctly licensed.

Staffing benefits

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

Help desk device access

Help desk and other support teams can instantly access PCs to see disk space, installed software, and any recent changes that have been made to the system.

Device location

Staff can quickly find assets in storage and allocate them to individuals or groups as needed.

Limiting down time

When servers or other assets go down, failover and replacement equipment will already have been documented in your ITAM solution and so can quickly be brought online to fill the gap.

Centralized procurement

By ensuring only nominated stakeholders can make purchasing decisions, unqualified staff don't spend time contacting vendors. This cuts overspend and wasted staffing hours.

Easier upgrades

Because you have total visibility of your assets, upgrades can be pushed out at the right time and the right pace. And if there are any hitches, you also have the ability to roll back any upgrades that fail or cause conflicts.

Management oversight

Given the wealth of data your systems produce, it's not surprising that a robust and professional ITAM solution should also include detailed reporting functions. These tools give your management teams access to relevant charts and reports that help speed important decision-making processes.

Other benefits

Beyond the financial and staffing benefits associated with implementing an ITAM tool, companies also typically get the following benefits from an asset management solution:

  • Increased asset reliability through scheduled maintenance
  • Improved security by removing assets that might constitute a business risk after a given age
  • Auditor compliance reporting
  • Centralized management of the entire asset base

Common requirements for IT asset management software

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

  • Network discovery to find all network-based and cloud-based hardware and software
  • Maintenance of manually entered IT assets
  • Software asset management and software license compliance
  • Integration with other systems like Microsoft Intune, SCCM, Azure, Active Directory, HP Webjet, other discovery and ITAM tools
  • Barcoding
  • Contract management
  • Asset lifecycle management
  • Service management and help desk functions
  • Key performance indicator reporting (KPIs)

In addition to the above desired benefits, they will also often gain additional, unexpected advantages:

  • Easy inventory reporting by classification
  • Visibility and reuse of assets in storage
  • Completeness of inventory through integration with existing systems and discovery tools
  • IMACS - reporting of changes between two time points
  • Full inventory of monitors, printers, VMs and peripherals
  • Management of intangible assets such as IP, documents, patents, contracts and leases, copyrights
  • Full visibility of the company software license compliance position
  • Visibility of cloud assets alongside on-premise assets

Conclusion

Although the specifics of IT asset management may vary from organization to organization, the core concepts remain the same: effective asset management requires careful planning and the implementation of a professional ITAM solution to ensure you get the most value from your investments. By taking the time to consider what you need to effectively manage your company's assets, you can improve your bottom line, make the most of your assets, and reduce your exposure to risk.

Fixed Asset Management Explained

Overview

This section explores Fixed Asset Management and why companies implement Fixed Asset Management software. It also covers the potential benefits associated with Fixed Asset Management software solutions.

Almost everyone works with some form of digital technology on a daily basis. So it's not surprising we often think of our IT assets first when looking at ways to get the most out of our company's equipment.

Entire business sectors revolve either partially or in whole around the use of highly-valuable and very expensive physical, fixed assets. And these assets require the same end-to-end management as any IT asset if companies are to get the best use and value from them.

What Is Fixed Asset Management?

Fixed Asset Management is the tracking, monitoring, and maintaining of your company's physical equipment. This includes obvious things such as computers and vehicles, but also less obvious items such as furniture, machinery, and other physical assets.

A robust and comprehensive Fixed Asset Management software solution should include benefits such as:

  • Fixed asset tracking and monitoring
  • An overview of equipment and machinery at multiple sites
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • A record of lost, stolen, sold or retired assets

Choosing the right Fixed Asset Management software solution can mean the difference between the efficient management of resources and substantial financial loss and exposure to risk.

Why Fixed Asset Management Is Important

Maintaining Fixed Assets such as servers, transport vehicles and furnishings requires a substantial capital investment. So keeping detailed records on their location, state of repair, licensing, maintenance agreements, depreciation, etc. is important for controlling their related expenses.

These assets form a sizable chunk of your company's net worth. In fact, according to IBM, for some businesses as much as 40 percent of their investment goes toward buying equipment and vehicles.

That's more than enough reason to make sure you're about what assets you have and what's being done with them.

Or, to put it in starker perspective: Without a well-managed Fixed Asset Management practice, your business could experience:

  • Unplanned downtime
  • Equipment faults or failures
  • Misplaced, lost or stolen inventory
  • Safety or environmental breaches
  • Failure to meet compliance or regulatory standards

This can translate into significant losses – particularly if your company is a large concern with a significant inventory of fixed assets. In addition to the above, poor management can result in fines, lost opportunities and productivity, and serious damage to your company's reputation. And this is just the upfront costs. The ongoing impact could also affect the services you deliver, products you supply and even overall customer satisfaction.

What Makes A Good Fixed Asset Management Solution?

The right Fixed Asset Management solution should suit your business needs, regardless of your company's size or asset holdings.

For instance, if yours is a very small company, tracking assets using a spreadsheet may seem attractive.

But manual data entry is prone to errors and impossible to manage when asset numbers increase significantly or complicated maintenance and scheduling variables are involved.

Asset tracking becomes an even bigger issue if your company is a multi-site, global business with significant holdings. You can quickly see how something as unsophisticated as a spreadsheet can never meet the challenge of managing such an array of assets.

To ensure you get the best value and use from your Fixed Assets, you need to think in detail about what you want to achieve with a Fixed Asset Management solution.

When companies approach us to discuss their Fixed Asset Management needs, they are most often looking for:

  • 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 performance reporting and asset KPI reports

Not only can we meet all of the above criteria, but by integrating xAssets into their systems, customers often gain additional, unexpected advantages:

  • Easy inventory reporting by classification
  • 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
  • Automatic updating of the asset register through integration with other systems
  • Updating of other systems through integration with the chosen tool
  • Email alerts on key events such as spare part storage thresholds, disposals, capital acquisitions
  • Instant help desk assignment of assets to an incident to facilitate quick resolution
  • Modeling of forecast depreciation

And because our standard “out of the box” configuration meets the needs of most customers, installation is quick and easy.

But even if your site or business needs a more bespoke installation, we can have your system up and running for you in far less time than the majority of our competitors.

Conclusion

Although the specifics of Fixed Asset Management may vary from organization to organization, the core concepts remain the same: Effective Fixed Asset Management requires careful planning and the implementation of a professional Fixed Asset Management solution to ensure you get the most value from your investments. By taking the time to consider what you need to effectively manage your company's Fixed Assets, you can improve your bottom line, make the most of your assets, and reduce your exposure to risk.

Further reading

IT Asset Management best practices

Fixed Asset Management best practices

Further best practices articles can be found here

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