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Saturday, July 21, 2007

IT asset management

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IT asset management (ITAM) is the set of business practices that join financial, contractual and inventory functions to support life cycle management and strategic decision making for the IT environment. Assets include all elements of software and hardware that are found in the business environment.

Software asset management

Software Asset Management applies to the business practices specific to software management, including software license management, configuration management, standardization of images and compliance to regulatory and legal restrictions—such as copyright law, Sarbanes Oxley and software publisher contractual compliance. Legal software use in an organization is enforced by such compliance companies as Business Software Alliance, SIIA and FAST.

Software is referred to as entitlements so that SAM programs confirm the right to use, or entitlement to that software by the user. Automation is used to facilitate this management. Microsoft maintains a list of SAM providers to help customers manage their software.

[edit] Hardware asset management

Hardware asset management entails the management of the physical components of computers and computer networks, from acquisition through disposal. Common business practices include request and approval process, procurement management, life cycle management, redeployment and disposal management.

[edit] Role of IT asset management in an organization

The IT Asset Management function is the primary point of accountability for the life-cycle management of information technology assets throughout the organization.

Included in this responsibility are development and maintenance of policies, standards, processes, systems and measurements that enable the organization to manage the IT Asset Portfolio with respect to risk, cost, control, IT Governance, compliance and business performance objectives as established by the business.

IT Asset Management integrates the physical, technological, contractual and financial aspects of information technology assets to enable a holistic and proactive approach to achieving the objectives.

[edit] Goals of ITAM

ITAM business practices have a common set of goals:

* Uncover savings through process improvement and support for strategic decision making
* Gain control of the inventory
* Increase accountability to insure compliance
* Enhance performance of assets and the life cycle management
* Risk reduction through standardization, proper documentation, loss detection

[edit] Process

ITAM business practices are process-driven and matured through iterative and focused improvements. Most successful ITAM programs are invasive to the organization, involving everyone at some level, such as end users (educating on compliance), budget managers (redeployment as a choice), IT service departments (providing information on warranties), and finance (invoice reconciliation, updates for fixed asset inventories).

IT asset management generally uses automation to manage the discovery of assets, so inventory can be compared to ownership information. Full business management of IT assets requires a repository of multiple types of information about the asset, as well as integration with other systems such as supply chain, help desk, procurement and HR systems.

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