Hardware and Software ITAM takes a variety of forms, ranging from the management of a dozen hardware assets and a handful of software assets, all the way up to multi-branch businesses involving thousands of machines, software, and licenses. Asset management teams are usually small, specialized, and given free reign to implement and evolve their own effective ITAM strategies. Regardless of end application, all ITAM strategies have similar goals, and most strategies will encompass a handful of ITAM “best practices” to optimize the tracking and accounting of company assets.
A key aspect of asset management will always be hardware and software tracking, a central component to good ITAM. How these systems are accounted for will vary from team to team, with some overlap usually present between the duties of systems administrators and ITAM specialists. As a result, systems management software and asset management software often share many similarities, with some software developers even offering solutions that aim to handle both tasks. It’s important to understand the differences between these two types of software and why a dedicated asset management platform working in conjunction with systems management software is vital to efficient asset management.
The Purpose of ITAM
In order to understand how dedicated asset management and more traditional IT systems management platforms differ, it’s important to reiterate the intended purpose of good ITAM and what encompasses a full ITAM strategy. Asset management is primarily a data and tracking focused task and seeks to account for multiple aspects of a businesses IT assets:
- Inventory Reports: Creating and tracking asset inventory and the management of software licenses, along with alerts and tracking for leases, warranties, and licenses expiring.
- Asset Lifecycle Tracking: Accounting for the expected lifecycle of an asset, most prominently hardware, but software as well. This begins when the asset is requisitioned and ends when it will be decommissioned, with a plan in place for the end of lifecycle
- Asset Tracking: The tagging of hardware and software assets as well as the inclusion of these assets into a repository that can be easily accessed by the ITAM team. This can include everything from hardware to software, as well as mobile devices and cloud-based SaAS products. It often includes user information as well.
Proper maintenance of these ITAM goals allows administrators to forecast IT costs, gain control over individual assets, and improve the efficiency of IT assets on a company-wide scale.
Now synonymous with ITAM, asset management software, like IT asset management by SysAid, is a requirement in the field. With small ITAM teams of 3-5 individuals often managing thousands of assets by themselves, a software solution aimed to assist in the tracking and tagging of these assets become a necessary component of ITAM.
Due to the nature of ITAM, there is often overlap between systems management and asset management. As a result, systems management software should compliment good ITAM. This can lead to the assumption that standard systems management software can handle many ITAM duties on its own. Systems management software is used to deal with the end asset with patches, software deployment, and monitoring. It’s important to note that logistical tracking and data acquisition isn’t a part of systems management software. This is entirely in the realm of ITAM, and why systems management software is an ineffective replacement for dedicated ITAM platforms. It’s common to see asset management software that will also perform some of the duties of a systems management platform, but rare to see the opposite. Neither software excels at both categories, resulting in the need for separate platforms for each.
Having two separate solutions operating completely independent of each other can create issues if symbiosis between the two platforms isn’t found. This is why systems administration and asset management need to go hand-in-hand. When these two systems are used together, more useful and more accurate data can be ascertained and put to use to create effective asset management.
Consider the amount of data generated by a systems management software’s reporting feature if it can be linked to an IT asset management platform. Up-to-date hardware, software, and patching information can be aggregated into one convenient location for asset management teams to put to use. This can reduce or even eliminate future problems within the system, and makes the management of assets move more smoothly as a whole.
Systems management and asset management will always correlate with one another within a company’s infrastructure. In order to execute a good ITAM strategy, teams must work together to create a linked plan that covers all the requirements of good management in both departments. Using software for both systems administration and asset management that works well together can help facilitate this link and allow for a more productive IT environment.