Are you noticing that it’s becoming tougher and tougher to keep track of your assets? Maybe your company has been growing rapidly in the past few months, or you’ve been expanding into new offices that needs more IT equipment?
If the thought of your manager asking you «how many Microsoft Surface laptops do we currently have ready for deployment in the New York office?» gives you the chills, then this article is just what you need.
We’ll look at the 14 best practices for IT Asset Management in 2023 - using state of the art techniques and tools to help you ditch your spreadsheets and get your assets under control.
Once you’ve implemented these best practices in your company, you’ll be able to answer the questions «where is ...», «who has ...» or «how many of ... are left» in minutes compared to hours or even days.
14 IT Asset Management Best Practices for 2023
Here are the 14 best practices for IT Asset Management in 2023:
- Define and categorise all your items
- Assign and checkout assets to employees
- Build specific products before assets
- Keep track of your consumable items
- Don't forget about your accessories
- Identify and manage your asset components
- Remember your digital assets
- Add your office locations
- Synchronize your employee directory
- Centralize all your manufacturers and suppliers
- Stay on top of asset maintenances and audits
- Setup notifications to never miss important events
- Automate ITAM by integrating it into your existing workflows
- Calculate your assets' depreciation
Start off by deciding which of your items are actual asset (such as laptops or phones), and which ones that are accessories, components, consumables or software licenses.
Once you’ve done that, go ahead and create categories for your items. Use broad category names, such as Desktops, Monitors, TVs, Printers instead of names like Samsung Monitors, as this will make your category overview much simpler later on.
Once you have a list of categories that works best for all your assets and other items, add them to your asset management system.
You should also decide if you’d like to have a EULA for assets in that category, and if you’d like products using this category to have custom fields. Perhaps you’d like to add the monitor size as a custom field for all products using that category?
Once you’ve added all the assets to your system, you need to assign them to the employees that are currently in possession of the assets.
That way, you won’t just know who has an asset, but also how many assets a specific employee currently has. By doing this, you’ll also build a checkout log that shows you the full history of an asset.
When you’re checking out assets to employees, it’s important that you specify the current condition of the asset before checkout in detail, when it’s due back, and even add a photo of the asset.
This should be emailed to the employee as well, so there won’t be any discussions if the asset is returned in a significantly worse condition.
IT Asset Management Softwares like BlueTally lets you checkout assets to employees with one click, and even lets you checkout assets to locations as well. This is useful for assets such as TVs and Printers.
You’ll be notified when the asset is due back, and when you check it back in again, you can also add the assets condition in the same way you did when checking it out. The employee can also get a confirmation of this as well.
Most companies have multiple assets of the same product, such as having 30 iPad Pro 12.9" tablets. Make your life easier by creating specific products in your asset management system for the assets that you have, instead of re-entering the product information each time you create an asset.
In this case, you’d add Apple as a manufacturer to the system (with all their manufacturer details), and then add iPad Pro 12.9" as a product, and specify the model number and the EOL.
You should also add custom fields for the product type, such as Storage Space, so that all assets added using this product can enter the amount of storage space that's in that specific iPad Pro 12.9" asset.
That way, you don’t have to lookup all the model number and other details of the iPad Pro 12.9" every time you add a new asset.
BlueTally supports all of this in a very simple way, and has powerful customizable fields that not only gives you a text field, but dropdown lists, date fields, number fields - and even lets you pick if the field should be required or not. You can also build kits to checkout your most used products together with one click.
It’s easy to forget about keeping an eye on your company’s consumable items, such as printer ink and paper.
While they might not have any significant financial value for the company compared to the more important and expensive assets, running out of them can quickly become a nuisance at the office - imagine the stress if all the printers ran out of ink or paper.
You should define a minimum value of items that you need to have in the office, so that you can receive notifications when it’s time to re-order, as well as specifying both the model number and order number. And you should also enter the purchase price of the consumables as well.
BlueTally lets you add as many consumables as you want, receive notifications when they are running out, and even lets you check them out to employees - that way you can spot any abnormalities, such as if any employees are doing something they shouldn’t.
Anything that isn’t important enough to have a unique barcode on it, and at the same time is too important to be a consumable item, should be classified as an accessory - things like headsets, keyboards, trackpads and cables. Losing track of your accessories can become costly, so it’s important to not forget about these items.
When adding accessories to your system, it’s important to be specific with the model number and the product name so you don’t end up with generic entries such as Black Keyboard, but with specific model entries like Logitech MX Keys instead.
And as with consumable items, you should define a minimum value of items that you’d like to have in the office for each accessory - that way you can get notified when you’re almost running out.
BlueTally lets you add your accessories with their image, product name and model number, as well as the required minimum quantity you’d like to have in stock before being notified. You can check out accessories to employees as well, so you’ll always know who has what.
Sometimes it can be useful to have upgraded components available in your stock, such as SSDs with larger space and faster RAM. When you’re managing these types of components, it’s important to remember that they belong to an asset, and not an employee.
If you give someone a laptop that you’ve upgraded with better RAM and a faster SSD, you need to make sure you don’t forget about this, for example if you’d like to downgrade them later, or to prevent users from possibly swapping out components.
When adding components to your system, remember to add the specific model number of the component, and note down the unique serial number of each component when checking them out to assets.
BlueTally makes this a breeze, as it lets you checkout components directly to assets.
It isn’t just the assets you can touch and feel that are important to manage in your asset management system, you also need to remember your digital assets, such as software licenses and product keys.
There are a lot of things to keep in mind with these type of licenses, such as their expiry date, possible termination dates, how many seats that are in use, and so on.
When adding your software licenses, it’s important to think of every product key as an individual seat, so you can check out specific seats to employees. That way you always know who is using which exact product key, and when that specific employee’s license will expire.
BlueTally not only lets you checkout licenses to employees - you can also checkout licenses to assets. This works great for use cases where a license is allocated to a desktop computer used by multiple people. You’ll also get notifications when it’s time to renew your license.
If your company has more than one office, it’s important to add all of the locations to your system - that way you can always know how many assets are at one location, and which location an asset is at.
You should also differentiate between assets that are simply belong to/are at a location, versus assets that are checked out to a location (such as routers, access points, etc.).
When adding locations, keep in mind that you should document everything as clearly as possible - that way the asset management system will be of value to everyone who uses it. Instead of calling a location for Location 2, be specific and call it New York Office, and add the complete address.
BlueTally lets you add all your locations very easily, with a custom name, the total address and even an image of the location.
One of the most frustrating parts of ITAM is the double work required due to employees coming and going. Not only do you have to remember to keep track of your assets, but you also need to add new employees to your system, and remove employees who’ve left.
That’s why you should aim to have this done automatically by your system, so you can minimize double work, headaches and reduce the risks of wrong manual inputs.
BlueTally has native integrations with Microsoft Azure Active Directory and Okta - as well as full SCIM 2.0 support, so you never have to remove or add employees manually yourself. This makes doing ITAM significantly easier.
You should add as many details about your suppliers and manufacturers as you can to your system. This doesn’t only include their support details, but also any type of coupon codes, custom urls for ordering and any dedicated contact persons.
Not only does it make ITAM more convenient, but it also increases security - as you know exactly who your team will reach out too if they need to, instead of scouring the internet for phone numbers or email addresses that could be fake.
BlueTally lets you add detailed information about your manufacturers and suppliers, and even lets you add their logo to keep everything looking sweet.
You only need to do this once, and from there you can just select them when entering any type of asset in the app - that way you can instantly see the amount of assets, licenses or other items you have from a specific supplier or manufacturer.
The job of ITAM doesn’t stop when you’ve successfully organised and checked out all your assets to employees - you also need to remember maintenances and audits of the assets.
It’s important to audit assets to ensure they are still working as intended, and that they haven’t been lost or damaged by the employee.
You should at a minimum schedule a yearly audit of all your assets - this doesn’t just make your own job easier, but is also vital for accounting and book-keeping, as the assets are part of the balance sheet of the company.
If anything was to happen to the asset, such as screen breaking or something similar, it’s important to log it down, specifying the type of repair that was performed, when it was performed, how long it took, what it costs and who it was performed by.
You should also log all other types of maintenance, such as upgrades, tests, calibrations and support cases.
BlueTally lets you keep track of any upcoming audits of your assets, as well as the ability to schedule asset audits. It also notifies you when audits are overdue, and you can also keep track of asset maintenances in the same way.
It’s very easy to forget about important events happening with your assets, such as due audits or maintenances, expiring licenses or warranties, or items in low stock.
That’s why you should setup a way for not only you, but the entire team to be notified of these events - so that you stay on top of your ITAM.
The best is to have a minimum of two notifications, the first one a while before the actual event - so that you have time to prepare, and the second notification on the actual day it’s due.
BlueTally notifies you of these important events both in the app, as well as via email. You get notified whenever the available amount of licenses, consumables, components or accessories goes below the predefined minimum quantity, in addition to expiring warranties and licenses, as well as audits and maintenances.
Many of the ITAM tasks are part of a larger business workflow, such as a new employee joining the company, or someone quitting. These types of tasks can be automated by implementing them into your existing workflow using APIs.
You could automatically checkout a kit of assets and consumables to a new employee that is added to your HR system, and automatically send them confirmations of their acceptance of the assets - or do the opposite when someone quits.
You could also pull data from the system, so that you can build you own custom dashboards or show a list of all assets given to an employee in another system for example.
BlueTally has a powerful and configurable REST API that can be integrated into any other system, that lets you build your own customized integrations to automate any part of the asset management.
Once you’ve added all your assets to your asset management system, you should also start calculating the deprecation of the assets based on the purchase prices entered, the estimated end of life of an asset and the minimum value after depreciation.
Depreciation numbers are vital information for the company’s financial department, as what an asset was purchased for a few years ago isn’t very relevant for them today, however the current asset value after depreciation has been subtracted is what’s used for estimating the total values of the company.
BlueTally automatically calculates your assets depreciation for you, and has a powerful Depreciation Report that you can share with the rest of the company with one click.
All you have to do is add a deprecation in the app, add the duration of the depreciation and the minimum value after depreciation. You’ll then select this depreciation when creating a product, and it will automatically calculate it for you for each asset based on the entered purchase price and purchase date.
How to pick the right ITAM software
By implementing the best practices above, you’ll be ahead of the curve and be able to get your assets under control, as well as your accessories, components, consumables and licenses.
Half the battle is picking the right IT Asset Management software that lets you fully implement these 14 best practices in a simple and fast way - that’s where BlueTally comes in.
BlueTally is a simple to use asset management solution made specifically for companies that are currently outgrowing their spreadsheets - try out our live demo to get some inspiration and get started for free at bluetallyapp.com.