What is an IT Asset Management Software?
IT Asset Management Software (also known as ITAM Software) is a tool that holds entitlement details of your hardware and software inventory.
It is a central IT Asset register that holds information about;
1. Your Endpoints (like desktops, laptops and tablets of your workforce)
2. Your On-premise and cloud software assets and
3. Your On-premise and cloud hardware networks like routers, switches and servers.
Why do IT Teams use an IT Asset Management Software?
1. Visibility of IT Inventory
One of the fundamental reasons, IT teams use an IT Asset Management Tool is to know how many hardware and software assets do they have. Most modern ITAM Software will use an agent or agentless discovery techniques to create a repository of verifiable IT Inventory. Accurate and On-demand view of IT Assets forms the basis for creating an information technology or digital transformation plan for any organisation – hence visibility of IT Inventory is the starting point for most successful IT teams.
2. Entitlement Management of Endpoints
Once IT Teams are aware of the IT Inventory, the next step is endpoint management. Endpoints are the IT Hardware used by your workforce which typically are desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. To configure each device with appropriate software assets and usage rights is central to organisation’s productivity which is facilitated by IT Teams. The key element here is addressing dynamic nature of endpoint and workforce changes – people leaving, new joiners, project changes, software vendor changes and hardware changes all happen dynamically. An ITAM software allows you to continue to configure your endpoints in a dynamic environment.
3. To be compliant with software licencing and avoid software audits
From emails to customer management to project management, almost all of the work done in a modern enterprise today involves working with software applications. Software Vendors invest a huge amount to develop specialised software applications and very protective about how their software is used by their customers. Organisations have significant reputational and financial implications if they have found to be breaching software license agreements. It is for this reason that they use an IT Asset Management Software to tightly monitor use of any type of software licences of their endpoints.
4. Cyber Security and Cyber Defence
It is a well-documented fact that cyber-attacks can be mitigated and minimised by keeping your endpoints and software assets updated with latest firmware and software. The technical term for update management of your software assets is patch management. Using an IT Asset Management System, IT Managers can quickly patch required endpoints and software assets - making it easier and faster to always be patch-ready.
5. Vendor Management
Most IT teams today deal with a number of software vendors – Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Oracle and a number of other software and hardware vendors. Using an ITAM tool, IT and Procurement Managers can take usage driven and business aligned decisions to renew their software and hardware licences.
6. Set-up IT Workflows
Leading IT teams are innovative and good at scaling proven IT processed. For example; setting up CMDB (Configuration Management Database), ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and Configuring Asset Discovery processes – all of them require customisation and configuration for each business. Once configured they need to be rolled out to all the locations so that IT processes and workflows are consistent and hence effective. An IT Asset Management Software forms a part of the framework to set-up and scale configurable IT processes.
7. IT Service Management (ITSM) and Helpdesk
Organisations with more than 50 employees benefit from providing IT help desk convenience for their workforce. Leveraging the information, they already have on software and hardware inventory (from point 1 above), IT teams can provide an effective IT help desk service to their colleagues.
What type of people get involved in ITAM decisions?
1. Chief Information Officer’s
CIO’s measure how their IT Infrastructure is enabling their businesses to be more efficient and productive. Quite often this involves, implementing employee and customer-facing digital transformation projects. Also, it may involve ring-fencing existing IT Inventory from Cyber-attacks. As you may appreciate, accurate view of IT Inventory is central to any IT enablement strategy and hence CIO’s get involved at a high level in IT Asset Management decisions.
2. IT Managers
They are the bridge connecting IT and Workforce to offer productivity. From Software Asset Management Practice to Software Vendor Audits and deciding whether open source tools are good for their workforce. IT Manager’s measure every aspect of their dynamic IT Inventory. Accordingly, it is not surprising that IT Managers are a key decision maker and driving force on anything ITAM.
3. Network Managers
Network uptime and robustness is their key focus, accordingly having a central repository of existing software and hardware inventory is vital to their role. CMDB, Directory Management and SNMP network management can be effectively executed with an ITAM tool. Hence they get involved in the discussions.
4. Security Analysts
Patch Management, Malware hardware disposal, reducing cyber-attack surface and Peer-to-Peer file sharing risks can all be monitored and ring-fenced from a central IT repository – Accordingly they take an active interest in asset discovery capabilities of an ITAM tool.
Types of IT Asset Management Software?
1. Open Source IT Asset Management Software
They mainly suit businesses who have the resources to configure, maintain and support open sourced ITAM tools. Sysaid and Spiceworks are most well-known open sourced ITAM tools.
2. Free ITAM Tools
There are a number of free to start ITAM options. Typically, they have a limit to the number of assets you can manage.
3. Proprietary License Options
There are 221 UK based ITAM tools that offer proprietary licensing options
4. Software Asset Management Tools
They are specialist tools built for managing software inventory. This does not mean they cannot manage hardware assets, but they are mainly developed for managing software tools. There are 129 SAM software options.
5. ITSM Systems
Technically, they are a completely separate type of tool. However, most IT Asset Management Tools have a module or a feature for managing service management or help desk.