As information technology organizations grow and mature, there is a greater need to streamline asset management to deliver business value.
As information technology organizations grow and mature, there is a greater need to streamline asset management to deliver business value. However, many IT teams, particularly in small to midsized businesses, continue to struggle with how to comprehensively manage their IT assets —particularly software licenses — in conjunction with their software deployment processes and ongoing patch management.
To get the most reliable inventory data, IT should leverage an automated asset inventory management solution that incorporates asset discovery, an asset database, and related financial data. Once an automated asset management solution is deployed and accurate asset inventory data is in place, IT is in a strong position to proceed with other activities. These activities include automated deployment and migrations, service desk integrations, policy compliance adherence, and proactive software license management.
Typically, organizations manage assets by entering licenses and related materials into a configuration management database (CMDB). However, it takes an automated asset management solution to ensure that those assets are authenticated and adhere to corporate compliance and security policies. With IT change constant, many organizations do not always have a detailed accounting of what devices are accessing their network. Knowledge of your total inventory extends beyond knowing what’s active on the network. It also includes being able to account for devices yet to be deployed (waiting in storage) and devices that have been retired (such as an end-of life laptop). Asset discovery tells you what’s connected to the network and, coupled with a complete inventory of hardware and software data, results in enhanced security and financial controls over IT assets. This delivers value not only to IT but also to the business as a whole.
Automated inventory management is critical for software compliance management because it provides an accurate network picture to ensure your organization is deploying the correct number of licenses with version detail. Knowing the number of licenses owned versus the licenses deployed prevents organizations from over deploying or under deploying software, both of which can be costly — as a result of either a failed audit or wasted budget dollars on unused software licenses. In addition, if unauthorized software titles are discovered, an automated asset management solution should be able to remove those titles to further ensure that clients deployed are compliant with corporate policies. Patch deployment is another area where automated inventory management adds value. It is often a redundant and manual task for the IT department, taking staff away from strategic projects, but critical enough that it can’t be delayed or ignored. Keeping network devices current with the latest patches and service packs reduces the risk that your network will suffer from a preventable breach or virus. This tighter level of client management means an organization can automate the discovery and remediation of noncompliant clients accessing their network.
Being able to assess exactly what your assets are worth at any given point can be critical in today’s budget climate, and automated inventory asset management provides the data you need for such forecasting. This forecasting can extend to support agreements and hardware warranties so that CIOs and other senior IT management can account for those added expenses into their budgets. A complete end-to-end asset management solution includes the detailed reporting that can prepare an IT organization for obtaining necessary budget allocations for IT expenditures, empowering them to leverage data from customized reports to support their requests.