Proper IT asset management creates more efficient business processes.
IT asset management means not just tracking hardware, software and licensing agreements, but also mapping out the relationships between all of the above. Keeping tabs on the equipment you own is always a good idea, but using that information to simplify systems is a great idea. "There is little value to knowing the number of desktops and servers a company has," says Robert McNeill, an analyst at Forrester. "It's interesting, but if it's not linked into a business problem, there's not very much value."
When it comes to software and tools, IT asset management breaks into two basic categories. There are autodiscovery tools that probe for assets across IT systems and report key metrics such as storage availability and -performance. And there are data repositories that keep real-time inventories of systems and help CIOs understand how assets are connected to one another.
But it's not as easy as it sounds. David Farlin, vice president of IT at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., uses asset management software from BMC Software to help his IT staff manage roughly 10,000 IT assets, but "the effort to do itand do it wellwas surprising to us." Developing common terms and setting up rules around reports and how things would be tracked was more complex than he expected, he says. "If I had to do it again, I would have put more resources on it than I did."