IT asset management allows your business to keep track of all the IT equipment (‘assets’) it owns or uses. The aim of asset tracking is to be able to answer: what IT does your business own, and where is it?
Most companies carry out IT asset management by building an IT inventory listing all their IT equipment. This type of asset tracking can bring several benefits to your business:
Carrying out IT asset management on paper may be the easiest way to get started, but updating records and finding information can be a hassle. Instead, it’s usually best to store your IT inventory electronically.
The most obvious solution is to create a simple database or spreadsheet using a program like Microsoft Access or Excel. This type of inventory can be adequate, as long as you think carefully about what information you plan to store.
Alternatively, while asset tracking software might take a little longer to set up, it could save you time in the long run. These programs are designed specifically to help businesses with IT asset management. They can often be integrated with other systems (like support desk software) and vary in features and in price, so it’s a good idea to consult your IT supplier before deciding which package to use.
To build an IT inventory from scratch, you need to record information about every piece of IT equipment in your business. Some asset management tools may automate this process by scanning your network for devices, then analysing each in turn.
For example, Dell Asset Management can significantly reduce the risks and costs of managing desktop and laptop PCs. The service is simple to deploy and requires virtually no up-front expense. With over 180,000 PCs under management in 60 countries worldwide, Dell Asset Management provides a proven and powerful tool to companies of all sizes – whether they have 500 PCs or 25,000.
If you're building your inventory manually, make sure you include all hardware items such as printers and scanners, servers and telephone systems. You should also remember to include any devices that may not be kept in the office such as laptops and mobile devices. See our IT inventory template for a helpful example.
For hardware, details about the manufacturer, model, serial number, specification, any upgrades (what was upgraded and when), purchase date and supplier are the most important items to record.
You should also log the physical location of each piece of hardware (which building, office and desk?) and who has day-to-day responsibility for it. To identify hardware quickly, it’s a good idea to give each item an identification number and put a sticker or tag on it.
Keeping track of software is trickier because there are no physical items to identify. Again, some asset management software can record what’s installed on each of your computers automatically. If possible, record the software version, date installed and licence number.
For further, related information on asset tracking, see: