What Is ITAM?

IT asset management (ITAM) is a type of business management that’s directly connected to your organization’s IT infrastructure. It’s a means of keeping track of all assets, which is everything in your organization that doesn’t breath. It could be hardware (e.g. servers, computer, printers) or software (antivirus, Microsoft Office) as well as all network and non-network devices, like keyboards and even desks and chairs.

When you’re responsible for managing something, you’ll only be able to do it if you have sufficient knowledge of the “things” you’re managing.

Do I Need IT Asset Management?

So, in order to manage an IT infrastructure, it’s necessary to know about all the parts that it’s composed of IT asset management will give you that knowledge, making it a “must-have” element for any IT service management (ITSM) organization that’s looking to effectively manage its IT infrastructure from a cost, audit, compliance, or any other perspective.

Knowing all of the parts of your IT infrastructure is not enough though. In order to maintain and improve it, you need to know what all those parts do, how they fit together, how they depend on each other, and more. And of course, in these ever-changing times, you also need to make certain that any changes are captured so that all your asset information is up-to-date.

Modern approaches to IT asset management will help to deliver that level of knowledge, facilitating effective management of the assets by capturing, recording, and maintaining the information that the modern IT organization needs to keep its IT services effective and efficient.

How does it happen?

By having your ITSM processes – like incident, problem, and change management – use the asset data you’re tracking. The power for good that these processes offer an organization can be multiplied by the availability of accurate and up-to-date asset information. We can show this with some examples of how accurate asset information supports other processes.

  • Incident management and the service desk: When an end user has an issue that requires them to call the service desk, once they have told the service desk agent their name, a comprehensive ITAM and configuration system can immediately show all of the IT assets that person uses, where the assets are located, the end user’s location and position within the organization, recent similar events, and much more. This can save valuable time – for both the service desk agent and the end user. It also allows for the speedy and accurate referral of issues to the best support team – and shows how often an issue has happened before, what was done about it, and how it has been resolved in the past.

  • Problem management: Without accurate ITAM, finding the root cause of incidents affecting an IT infrastructure can sometimes seem like searching for a single needle is a whole field full of haystacks. But that same issue, with support from an integrated ITAM system, is so much easier and faster to resolve. Connections between what might otherwise seem like multiple unrelated issues can be spotted, with the help of asset data, and resources can then be focused on the correct asset, rather than working through many until the root cause is found.

  • Change management: What are the risks of making a change? Updating a server for example – which services will be affected if the change doesn’t go as planned? Without knowing this information, how can you know risks that your organization faces when changes are being made? Getting that information relies on knowing enough about your assets – information on your servers, their connections, and the software they run. This information will come from a comprehensive ITAM system.

Summing Up

Keeping such a comprehensive set of data up-to-date in a wide-ranging, complex, and ever-changing organization might sound like a daunting, and perhaps even impossible, task. But modern ITAM software offers the key to success here as it can detect the hardware, software, and network assets across your organization; and then capture, record, and make the data available as needed.

Fit-for-purpose ITAM software can do this as often as you like, or need – so not just capturing that data but bringing it up-to-date every day, so you can be confident that decisions based on the your asset data are correct and relevant to the current situation.

However, every organization is different and the structure for recording and maintaining IT asset information will vary somewhat from company to company. The exact details that matter might change across different organizations, but the flexibility of being able to set up an ITAM system to your organization’s exact needs will allow the matching of the data capture and storage capabilities to meet these needs.