It sounds obvious, but carrying out an inventory of assets is an IT task many businesses underestimate the value of, or never get round to doing at all – albeit with good reason.
Carrying out and maintaining an IT asset inventory helps your business to manage its technology investments, and can provide a range of other benefits to guide purchasing, upgrade/renewal and training decisions to squeeze the last penny of value from all your assets. In this article we discuss where to start, and why asset inventory is so crucial.
Shouldn’t IT already know what it’s got?
Perhaps there is a case to be made that any department should know what it’s purchased, and given time undoubtedly any credible IT department can lay their hands on that data. But in the present day and age, would you need to count the tyres in this warehouse to know how many there are? Unlikely.
It’s the same for IT assets whether hardware or virtual. Without the right tools in place IT inventory can be a laborious and time-consuming task, and therefore one that slips down the priority list, gets rushed, or overlooked entirely.
Indeed, in some larger firms, the role of IT asset inventory manager (or a derivative of) is a full-time job – for example on just one well-known job site alone there were over 300 positions advertised as of December in the UK. So we know it’s tough for many smaller or mid-sized IT departments to find the time or resource to carry out inventories.
In our view it is crucial that IT departments aren’t flying blind – a good inventory enables you to understand what applications you’re running, how long they are supported, and if there are any solution gaps or forthcoming redundancies.
Perhaps most importantly of all, an effective IT inventory exercise enables a business (not just IT) to improve its planning, and potentially reduce any costs by avoiding paying for overlapping technologies. For CIO.com, “when done properly, IT asset management can have a direct impact in lowering both hardware and software spending. Having better control of the IT asset lifecycle also helps drive standards into organisations, which will improve efficiency and reliability”.
So IT knows what applications it’s running. How does that help the business?
For us, effective inventory enables 3 main benefits:
- Reduce overlaps and obsolescence = Cost reduction
- Lifecycle management = Supporting the business
- Solution coverage and provision of cutting edge tech = differentiation
Fundamentally, carrying out an inventory allows modern IT departments to see what they are working with, and with that data, to work out what they have, need and don’t need. It also allows the department and the wider business to plan, manage and resource IT projects to better fit the broader company goals, and therefore to build a stronger foundation for the firm’s efforts to differentiate from its competition.
Okay – how do we get started?
It’s not easy to sit down and start an IT inventory exercise, but don’t take our word for it. Back to CIO.com, who take the view that “getting started is not simple. True governance practices require that the company’s learning and growth culture with an effective long-range plan will guide the successful implementation of this business initiative”.
So, the best thing to do could be to give the friendly team at PAV a call to see how we’ve helped other customers understand their IT estate, and more importantly how we have helped them to use that data to make better informed business decisions.