Closing The Circle of the IT Asset Lifecycle
The IT asset lifecycle can be defined as “the sequence of stages that an organization’s information technology asset goes through during the time span of its ownership.” As businesses adapt to changing circumstances, new steps are appearing in the the lifecycle of their IT assets. Laptops and tablets that are generally reserved for use in the office are now being taken home by remote employees, adding new complications for IT departments.
From when you first acquire an asset to its termination of use, the ability to track the full lifecycle helps organizations of all sizes ensure that they are using the asset to its full capacity – and helps companies see where and how they are using their finances. There are a variety of software programs that make the process of tracking assets incredibly easy. What was once a tedious, time-consuming process has been reduced drastically and gives users an abundance of features to save time and money along the way.
It’s no secret that the backbone to keeping any company in business that uses electronic equipment/communication tools is the IT department. From telephones to tablets, computers to printers and everything in between, this invaluable team ensures your organization has working equipment to help the company run on a daily basis.
One of the cornerstone components of the IT department’s job is to track and manage IT assets. They need to know the ins and outs of all equipment, where it's supposed to be, how it’s being used, and its maintenance/repair history. If they don’t have accurate and up-to-date data about IT equipment, workflow can be impeded.
3 Stages of an IT Asset Lifecycle
Every asset has a lifecycle, which is comprised of 3 stages:
- Acquisition– This is the beginning of the lifecycle. Once the asset is determined to be needed, researched, purchased and added into inventory, its lifecycle journey begins.
- Operation/Maintenance– This stage is how the asset is used and maintained through its life. It’s important to track data on who uses the asset, what it’s used for, how often is it used, and where it's being used. And then how is the asset maintained, repaired, upgraded, etc. Some assets can withstand heavy use while others are only used for a short time. The maintenance data is especially important when it comes to budgets and spending.
- Disposal – This marks the end of the IT asset lifecycle. In this stage, it’s removed from service, sold, re-purposed, thrown away or recycled. If there is still a need for the disposed asset, the lifecycle begins again with the acquisition of a replacement.
Failure to Track the IT Asset Lifecycle
Failing to track and maintain IT assets can be quite expensive. From the wasted time searching for lost/missing equipment to spending additional dollars to replace equipment thought to be lost, and so much more. The key to successful asset tracking has real-time visibility through effective and easy-to-use asset software
Today’s asset software platforms can track the entire IT asset lifecycle in one central location, with viewable data in real-time. Many platforms include built-in scanners, that work with barcodes that can be used from employees own smartphones and tablets. The software comes with a variety of customizable features that can streamline your workflow and help employees work more efficiently and productively. The best asset tracking solutions and tools also enable organizations to track repair and maintenance schedules, asset locations, and other crucial asset information.
The data recorded can show valuable insights into your IT asset investments, such as how much you invested in the asset, the expected IT asset lifecycle based on maintenance, upgrades, repair histories, how and where the asset is used, as well as which employees are most likely to use it.
Benefits to Effective Management of the IT Asset Lifecycle
IT asset management, no matter the industry, helps increase organizational productivity. Companies benefit by making better purchasing decisions based on the data recorded for IT needs and services.
The benefits of tracking the entire IT asset lifecycle include:
- Better knowledge of the requirements for a planned asset purchase.
- Better informed forecasting/purchasing decisions.
- Timely replacement of consumables and resources.
- A more complete picture of the total cost of ownership.
- Improving the quality of the services the IT department provides.
For example, if a certain tablet is about to retire/expire or can no longer handle the upgrade to a new operating system, you can budget to order upgraded versions of the equipment and don’t have to spend time trying to fix a tablet that is phasing out. Recorded data can give you a good idea of how that asset has performed and approximately how many times it has needed to be upgraded, if it constantly needs to go in for service and how many employees really need it on a daily basis. That can be a big factor in spending and more importantly, smart spending.
By understanding what an IT asset lifecycle is and how to manage it, you are increasing the value you bring to your organization through smarter planning and efficient processes. Asset Panda has perfected the practice of tracking an IT asset lifecycle through our asset tracking and management platform. Our cloud-based software makes it easy for all your employees to access IT asset records in real time, so they’ll know exactly what’s going on with each piece of equipment. Our interface is set up to track all details relevant to asset lifecycle. You can easily tell when an asset was acquired, what maintenance has been performed on it, and what rules and regulations apply. This will help your team ensure that your work practices are safe and within the requirements set by your industry.