Strategies for Effective Hardware and Software Asset Management


Organisations with complex and increasingly IT environment are having a major challenge which is managing their technology in the most effective way possible. With so many assets to track that comprises of desktops, laptops, smartphones and VoIP phone systems, fax machines, servers, printers, and more. In addition to the proliferation of people working on remote devices, software and hardware’s which needs to be constantly updated, and the need for firewalls, anti-virus programs, license consumption, expiration and technology advancement can suddenly seem daunting task. There is also a strong call for Pro-active management of IT assets and the effective preparation of what is next as the saying goes - every dollar made by your organization is influence by technology. There are tremendous savings to be achieved on technology software within an organization. Through software asset management (SAM) and effective Hardware Asset Management (HAM), there is the potential for big savings on hardware as well as software.

Hardware Asset Management (HAM): The management of physical components (desktops, laptops) and computer networks is the Hardware Asset Management (HAM) from the procurement stage to the retirement of the asset. Hardware asset management needs to be part of organization’s overall scope and processes with other IT processes. Just like software, hardware needs to be managed correctly to ensure organizations are making the most out of their assets. Processes need to be in place to manage assets from the point of request, to the moment the assets are retired. Effectively managing hardware assets can also have an impact on the amount of time it takes to fix hardware problems, track hardware record and status within the organisation network.

Hardware Asset Management and Software Asset Management (HAM & SAM)Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) go together. A SAM project will not work as effectively or successfully without having hardware asset management processes in place, or some form of HAM management structure. It is important to note that with any projects that relate to new software, hardware considerations must also be addressed. SAM processes need to incorporate HAM, and vice versa. Organizations cannot do one effectively or properly without the other. Software has impacts on hardware. Example: Is the hardware spec powerful enough to run the software? Furthermore, hardware impacts on software (legacy software that only works on certain spec desktops). Interrelating the two disciplines and having an overall ITAM process that considers both hardware and software matters is the best way of effectively managing IT assets, whilst ensuring compliance is met for both hardware and software.

Cost Savings: Having HAM processes in place can save an organization a fortune, both on hardware and subsequent software. Actively and correctly managing hardware assets throughout its lifecycle can lead to a reduction in the amount of money spent on the hardware during its lifecycle at the organization.

  1. Reduced maintenance costs
  2. Reduced hardware budgets
  3. Reduced software spend
  4. Potential to save money through disposal processes

Managing hardware assets also helps on the yearly spend on hardware. Having a process in place to manage existing assets reduces the time and money spent on identifying the need for new pieces of hardware. Knowing the specification, location, and department of where the hardware asset is allows the service desk to regain any machines that are no longer needed, or from a user that has since left. It also helps keep a record of those hardware assets that are ‘in stock’ and ready for deployment. Having these processes in place helps save not only money, but also a lot of time on the service desks SLA’s (service level agreements).

An important aspect is capturing the financial information about the hardware life cycle, which helps the organization in making business decisions based on meaningful and measurable financial objectives. This also helps organizations to budget for the next years IT budgets in both software and hardware assets, thus giving a justification for HAM and giving transparency to the IT stakeholders. Effective IT asset management strategies differs with company size. For large company size, it is a good practice to generate a monthly assets report. You can track the machine movement for any unmanaged machines. Also, this helps you tally with the new sequential computer name assigned.

Below are 5 strategies hardware and software assets management

  1. Determine whether the goal of IT Asset management (ITAM) is operational, efficiency, risk management or compliance. It is best to have specific goals.
  2. Source for the best, SAM technology solution to tackle the current challenge — ITAM is too big of a task to be fulfilled with legacy technology.
  3. Ensure the technology selected covers the assets deemed most critical (servers, switches, laptops, desktops, medical devices – more importantly IoT devices).  This will vary by organization.
  4. Understand what information is needed and wanted, how frequently the information needs to be collected and what it needs to be reconciled against.
  5. Determine what other systems of record is required, and individuals in the organization need access to that information.

Conclusion: Effective Hardware and software Asset Management can save an organization time and money when incorporated into processes and policies. If you are focusing on implementing SAM, then now is the time to start considering the Hardware asset management and Software asset management. There are many IT asset tools out there. I would personally look out features like lightweight, accuracy and ease of deployment. Good asset management tools have a device discovery engine that can crawl your network to audit windows devices that are connected. I would recommend Rayventory Discovery tool and SmartTrack Application which is a perfect one stop solution for HAM and SAM. With such tools, you can have an overview of IT assets reports like hardware, software and compliance quickly and at your finger tips.

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