IT asset management is about more than just keeping track of your hardware and software. It’s about these assets working to support IT goals and business objectives.
The IT asset lifecycle is a related set of best practices and processes designed to do just that. As an IT manager, you need to understand the different stages of the asset lifecycle and how each one can impact your organization—sometimes in major ways.
So, in this BlueTally guide, we thought it would be a good idea to take you through the various stages that make up an effective IT asset lifecycle management process.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
What Is IT Asset Lifecycle Management?
IT asset lifecycle management is pretty much what it sounds like.
It’s IT asset management (ITAM), but throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset. It involves documenting, managing, and tracking each asset from planning to disposal (and everything in between)—usually with the help of an ITAM tool like BlueTally.
The IT asset lifecycle management process consists of five stages that entail different tasks, responsibilities, and activities for IT managers.
IT Asset Lifecycle Management Stages
Businesses don’t (or at least shouldn’t) impulse buy. Instead, the lifecycle of every asset should begin with careful planning.
At this stage, IT managers should be identifying areas where the business’s current assets aren’t meeting demands or supporting business goals. Then, they should plan out the acquisition of any new assets to help rectify their existing IT infrastructure.
This typically involves balancing budgetary requirements with technical and business requirements.
Once the IT manager has identified the necessary new assets, it’s time to go out and get them.
This stage means sitting down to do some market research. Your goal is to find a supplier for the asset in question and balance price and reliability.
Am I better off working with a discount supplier to save some money? Or should I pay more for the security and accountability of an industry-leading supplier? These are questions you’ll need to discuss with decision-makers.
This stage also includes the initial configuration of the asset before its first use.
Once the asset is checked out for the first time, the utilization stage begins. Your responsibilities in this stage revolve around tracking the asset’s location and status.
To make this easier, most IT managers use an ITAM tool like BlueTally to assign assets, track their location, approve or deny requests for use, and more—all from a centralized dashboard.
This stage should also include regular check-ins with users to ensure the asset still meets their needs and functions well.
The maintenance stage begins the first time an asset receives scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. During this stage, users will still be using the asset. The difference is that you’ll now be responsible for three kinds of maintenance on top of your asset-tracking responsibilities.
- Preventive Maintenance: Preventative maintenance involves scheduling routine maintenance to avoid problems before they happen.
- Corrective Maintenance: Corrective maintenance means fixing issues to restore the asset to mint condition (or at least as close to mint condition as possible).
- Emergency Maintenance: Emergency maintenance is done in response to an urgent (often time-sensitive) issue.
Maintenance will have the biggest impact on longevity of all the stages in the IT asset lifecycle—so take it seriously! Use a tool like BlueTally to schedule routine maintenance and keep your assets performing well.
Assets don’t last forever. When it’s time to dispose of an asset, the IT manager has to step up once again.
At this stage, you need to do three things:
- Wipe asset data.
- Choose a disposal method (like recycling, donating, selling, etc.).
- Document your actions.
Depending on the asset, these steps can be simple or complicated—especially if the asset help sensitive data. So, while the word “disposal” might call to mind images of the dump, it’s rarely that easy.
Why Is IT Asset Lifecycle Management Important?
Improve Asset Longevity
When you take a systematic approach to ITAM by focusing on the entire lifecycle of an asset—from planning to disposal—you’re able to maximize its value and longevity. Whether it’s finding a reliable supplier or scheduling preventive maintenance, taking proactive steps can help you get the most out of your assets.
Improve Business Outcomes
The strategic planning, acquisition, and maintenance of your assets should all be driven by one goal—improving business outcomes. ITAM is an integral part of any successful business strategy from reducing downtime to avoiding unexpected expenses.
The right IT asset lifecycle management program can save you money in the long run. By being mindful of the lifecycle of your assets—from acquisition to retirement—you can stay ahead of potential problems and save time, money, and resources.
The bottom line? An effective ITAM program is essential for any organization looking to maximize its technology investments.
IT Asset Lifecycle Management Best Practices
1. Choose an ITAM Tool That Supports Lifecycle Management
The most important thing you can do for effective IT asset lifecycle management is to pick an ITAM tool that aligns with your needs. Look for a platform that supports all stages of the asset lifecycle—from acquisition to disposal—and has features designed specifically for lifecycle management.
BlueTally assists IT managers throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset with features for planning, acquisition, utilization, maintenance, and disposal.
With BlueTally, you can keep track of the location and status of all assets in your care. You can also schedule and track maintenance for your assets to keep them in good condition—lowering the risk of downtime.
Detailed asset histories and fields for procurement data help you identify asset gaps, maximize the use of your IT resources, and reduce waste. Plus, when the time comes to dispose of an asset, BlueTally’s streamlined process ensures you’ve tracked all necessary steps for compliance.
2. Document Your Processes
Any routine job that comes up in your day-to-day IT asset lifecycle management workflow should ideally be documented.
Why? Well, for starters, documentation reduces the risk of human error—which, as IT professionals know well, is responsible for 48% of unplanned downtime.
Plus, documenting processes also make it easier to onboard new team members (and hold them accountable for their work). It simplifies training and helps you manage performance, which in turn yields greater productivity.
So, if your team (or business) isn’t already using a tool for documenting internal processes, now’s the time to start. There are tons of great documentation and wiki tools out there nowadays, including:
Make your documentation brief and highly visual. That will make it much more digestible for everyone who needs to use it on a regular basis. Plus, as many visual documentation tools allow you to link documents together and create “bridges,” you’ll be able to save even more time by easily connecting relevant areas of your workflow.
3. Audit Assets Regularly
An asset audit is essentially like taking inventory in retail. It’s a chance to review the assets you have, where they’re located, and how well they’re performing.
Regular asset audits offer a ton of benefits—from more efficient workflows to better security practices. That’s because they allow you to ensure all your assets are up-to-date and running smoothly.
You can use asset audits to:
- Check whether passwords are secure
- Identify and replace old or faulty hardware
- Monitor usage and performance of software systems
BlueTally makes it easy to schedule asset audits (and stick to the schedule you set). Reminders let you know when asset audits are due, and you can customize the frequency of the reminders to make sure your team is always on track.
4. Track Licenses and Consumables
IT departments are full of assets that often fall through the cracks—things like printer ink, software, power cables, and adapters. If you really want to get a handle on the resources your team is using, you need to track those consumables too.
With BlueTally, you can easily keep an eye on expiration dates and licenses for all of your assets so nothing gets past you. Whether you’re running low on user seats or printer ink, you’ll always know what’s up.
5. Utilize Automation
Automating manual tasks can help your team save time—leaving more headspace to focus on strategic initiatives.
Look for an ITAM platform that offers automated features so you don’t have to do everything manually. BlueTally automatically discovers new assets, tracks asset utilization in real time, and sends alerts when supplies are running low.
By leveraging automation, you can ensure that your ITAM processes are done quickly and correctly and that your team has more time to focus on what matters.
Streamline IT Asset Lifecycle Management With BlueTally
IT asset lifecycle management is important to any organization’s technology investments.
By choosing the right ITAM tool, documenting processes, and utilizing automation, IT teams can ensure that their assets are tracked throughout their entire lifecycle while also freeing up time to focus on more strategic initiatives.
With BlueTally, these steps become even more accessible as it provides automated features for planning, acquisition, utilization, maintenance, and disposal, so you don’t have to worry about missing a step in tracking your assets. Investing in the right tools now will save you headaches down the line!
Sign up for a 14-day free trial and see how BlueTally can simplify your ITAM process.