Best Practices for Assigning IT Assets to Employees
To help correct inefficiencies and control risks, it’s essential for IT managers to have full knowledge of the process behind assigning IT assets to employees. To achieve this, businesses need to deploy an effective IT asset management system. Through IT cost optimisation and IT inventory management improvements, businesses can then begin to improve their entire onboarding and offboarding processes. For instance, by providing a good onboarding experience, 69 per cent of employees will stay longer in a company.
On the other hand, if enough attention isn’t focused on the offboarding, there can be significant impacts on IT operations and costs. In fact, research suggests that 89 per cent of ex-employees still have access to at least one application from a former employer. Out of those, 45 per cent reported having access to confidential data.
Basic Principles of Assigning IT Assets
The process for assigning IT assets is part of the wider IT provisioning and asset management system. To understand the asset allocation process, businesses need to know how it interrelates with other IT processes.
IT Asset Lifecycle Management
The process of assigning assets to employees sits within the IT asset lifecycle. It has the following structure:
- Planning and ordering of new assets
- Allocation of available assets
- Operation and maintenance
- Retiring and disposal
Software Asset Management (SAM) and Hardware Asset Management (HAM) tools can help to administer an assets’ lifecycle. They keep track of their allocation statuses.
SAM and HAM applications notify you of any expiring licences, end-of-life dates and warranty details. Also, they generate reports for each IT assets’ status. Helping you to optimize a business’s IT estate.
While software and hardware are both considered IT assets, they need different treatment because of their nonphysical and physical nature. To correctly report on both types of assets, business’s must measure them with a different set of indexes and metrics. To do so, each one needs specialised software or, at least, dedicated functionality.
Using Software Asset Management
Software is a non-physical asset which can be either a cloud-based or on-premise application. Regardless of the type, they can also be remotely assigned to employees. It managers need an available software license to be associated with an employee’s account or a host machine.
IT operations can claim back licenses from previous employees or those who no longer need access. As such, old licenses can be reassigned to new employees.
Challenges of Assigning Software Assets
Hardware is limited to the number of existing physical entities. Whereas software relies on licenses to dictate the number of available assets. As this is not a tangible quality, licenses can easily be mismanaged.
They can either stray out of the vendor’s compliance terms or over-license in fear of being audited. Both scenarios have an unnecessary cost associated with them.
Software Asset Management Software helps IT teams get a clear picture of their license usage and compliance. Enabling IT teams to optimally assign assets to employees as the business requires.
License camping and hogging is also a source of inefficient use of software assets. It can be prevented by promoting better collaboration between IT and the employees. As well as employing software usage monitoring tools.
Using Hardware Asset Management
Assigning hardware assets requires a more complex process due to their physical nature. The following information must be available before assigning hardware to employees:
- Type of asset (such as laptops, mobile phones, and routers)
- Asset vendor, model, and specifications
- Warranty details
- Date of procurement and end-of-life date
- The physical aspect of assigning a hardware asset (for example, handing an employee their new laptop cannot be automated)
Challenges of Assigning Hardware Assets
Physical assets are prone to wear, damage, and misuse – eventually counting towards asset depreciation. They can also incur operational and maintenance costs.
Poor reassignment and offboarding processes are the key reasons for losing hardware assets. In fact, on average, 263 laptops were lost per organisation over 12 months.
Establishing a Process for Assigning Assets
To overcome the above challenges. IT asset managers need to establish rigorous processes for IT provisioning and asset assignment. These processes need to cover both new and existing employees and assets.
Assigning Existing Assets
Firstly, IT asset managers need to consolidate any disparate processes. Using a standard and simple process is impactful.
The IT provisioning needs to be reviewed from the ordering of new assets to the disposal of old ones. Including the process for assigning and reassigning assets to employees.
The next step is to integrate the onboarding and offboarding processes with an asset management system.
Lastly, the configure rules for onboarding and offboarding processes. For example; rules based on location, seniority, department, or function.
For onboarding, this would include:
- Allocating correct hardware based on the level of seniority and role (For example, higher-end laptops are generally allocated to employees in technical roles or senior managers)
- Granting access to the correct software based on the role (For example, granting access to Adobe Photoshop for people in the design teams)
- Setting up an organisational email account
For offboarding, this would include:
- Revoking all software access on the day the employee offboards
- Disabling the organisation email account if the employee leaves the company
- Setting the date for the employee to return all hardware equipment
- Reimaging and resetting any hardware assets to prepare them for reassignment
Assigning New Assets
In the case where new IT assets are bought, IT asset managers should look at assigning them as swiftly and accurately as possible. The process of deploying a new application includes:
- Identifying all teams that require access to the new application
- Identifying the roles and levels of seniority that require access
- Ensuring the number of licenses available will cover all employees
- Communicating with the affected employees about the change
- Granting access to all members of the identified teams
- If required, revoking access to the old application
- Ensuring the ITAM tool is adequately updated
Automating the Asset Assignment Process
IT managers can commit errors and spend a long time manually assigning assets. Especially when dealing with a large number of queries such as recruitment events or company-wide deployment of new software.
But, a modern IT asset management tool with automation features speeds-up this assigning process. While also lowering the rate of errors.
If businesses have a well-defined process for assigning software then they can simply translate those steps into an ITAM tool. For instance, if a new salesperson joins, the automation tool can reserve a license for a CRM software application.
The license can then be assigned on the day when the employee officially starts their new role. This eliminates manual requests and having to provide manual access from the IT team.
The automation process can be taken a step further, where an ITAM tool can check for assignment statuses of each asset. This can then trigger the necessary actions based on threshold levels.
Integration Between ITAM and HR Systems
The allocation of assets is the intersection between IT and HR processes. This is especially true in the context of employee onboarding and offboarding.
HR management tools contain all employee-related information. Some tools also store information about assigned goods that go beyond IT assets, such as company cars.
As most tools are dedicated to HR management, they do not provide visibility over the IT estate. This means no information about license compliance and provisioning of new assets. There is no ability to grant or revoke access to applications.
Thankfully, HR tools have exporting capabilities that consolidate employee information into widely used formats such as spreadsheets.
Likewise, ITAM tools can also make use of tools such as spreadsheets. They can batch input employee information and trigger an automated process. This process can be scripted, helping to avoid any manual exporting and importing of files.