Features and Benefits of IT Asset Management Software
At its core, IT asset management is a discipline based on the collection and analysis of data. In the past, organizations might have kept paper records that detailed their inventory of hardware and software assets, costs for each asset, and other data, but the proliferation of IT within organizations has made it virtually impossible to track IT assets in detail using a paper system.
Organizations that lead the way in IT use IT asset management software to keep up-to-date records of their IT assets that can be used to facilitate important decisions about how IT equipment is managed. Below, we've listed some of the core features of this software and what benefits your organization can expect from each one:
Comprehensive Hardware and Software Asset Tracking
A comprehensive data tracking system must lie at the heart of every effective IT asset management system. The ability to track assets and their attributes across several dimensions is a critical value driver for organizations that want to leverage IT asset management to improve their decision-making when it comes to IT.
The inventory tracking functionality of IT asset management software goes beyond a simple list of what assets you have at your disposal—it includes specific details and specifications for hardware and software that enable real transparency into your IT capabilities. Organizations use IT asset management software to track their computing assets, along with details like the product number, SKU, and date of purchase, and technical specifications like CPU type, processor speed, memory, available disk space, IP address, and numerous other parameters.
License Compliance Management Functionality
Software license compliance is a major issue for organizations that license third-party software. If you license software for multiple users at your organization from a third-party supplier, you may be subject to external audits to ensure that you are compliant with the terms of your service-level agreements. The world's biggest software providers pull in billions of dollars annually by investigating subscribers who are suspected of abusing their services. Whether you're aware of the situation or not, your organization could be hit hard by:
- "True-ups" - Outstanding fees that must be paid if the organization is found to be using licenses in excess of what is allowed in their service-level agreement
- Additional financial penalties for violating the terms of the service-level agreement
- A bill for the cost of the software audit that discovered the non-compliance issues
- Retroactive licensing fees if there is a long history of improper deployment of software that violates the service-level agreement
The bottom line is that organizations need to remain in compliance with license agreements to avoid an expensive software audit that results in big fines. IT asset management software allows organizations to automatically detect what software has been installed on each computer that is connected to the company's network. Automated software detection can be cross-referenced with service-level agreements to ensure compliance and avoid hefty penalties associated with an unsuccessful software audit.
Software Usage Data and Analysis
When an organization purchases 10 software licenses but installs the software 15 times, it could be subject to penalties for violating its service-level agreement with the software provider—but what if the organization purchases 15 licenses and only installs the software 10 times?
Organizations are using IT asset management software to assess software installation and analyze software usage data, helping to eliminate excess costs associated with unused software licenses. Software applications can be used to track the number of machines on which a certain application has been installed, as well as the actual usage statistics for the application. After all, a license paid for is still wasted if the application is never touched by the user—and that's an opportunity for the organization to cut costs.
Many organizations are tracking IT purchases through a procurement system and managing IT inventory through a separate system, but often the link between the two systems is missing. This means that the folks responsible for managing IT assets may not have full visibility of the service-level agreements and contracts that govern software licenses and may not be able to properly plan for future purchases or see when software contracts need to be renewed.
IT asset management software needs to provide the big picture view of how the organization is addressing its needs for hardware and software by integrating procurement and IT management into one dashboard. In this way, organizations can accurately assess their current software and project their future needs in the same interface, allowing for effective strategic planning and budget allocation.
On the hardware side, transparency into purchasing allows IT asset managers to budget correctly for turnover of IT inventory, plan for new purchases in accordance with inventory that is approaching the end of its lifecycle and analyze financial data alongside IT inventory usage data to determine the best route for IT asset disposition.