IT Asset Management or ITAM is a set of business processes designed to manage the lifecycle and inventory of an organization’s IT assets. What is an IT asset? This includes all elements of software and hardware that you generally find in a business environment. When properly used, an IT Service Management (ITSM) process helps organizations lower IT costs, reduce IT risk and improve their productivity.
Look at it this way: your organization most likely has an office with desks that are filled with desktops and laptops. And these IT assets are packed with all sorts of applications. These assets, hardware, software, and their licences need to be maintained, updated, repaired, and replaced continuously. Wouldn’t it be a great help if you knew which IT assets your organization has? And had a process in place to keep this information accurate?
For instance, tracking all your laptops and their warranty information can help you with budgeting, planning for replacements and support. And putting all your software licences in a database lets you keep track of when your licences expire.
This, in a nutshell, is what IT Asset Management is about.
There are four main benefits to having an IT Asset Management process in place: you avoid penalties, increase efficiency and reduce costs, improve security and improve the agility of your organization. Let’s take a closer look at each benefit:
Want to experience how Asset Management tools work in practice? Watch the video about asset management by TOPdesk.
In the ITIL framework, Asset Management is part of the Service Transition lifecycle stage. This is one of the five lifecycle stages of the ITIL framework. Service Transitions help your organization plan and manage the change of state of a service in its lifecycle. Want to know more about the ITIL framework? Read more about the ins and outs of ITIL.
IT Asset Management focuses on every aspect of hardware, software and software licences. This includes managing software licenses, managing hardware and software life cycles, and saving money by standardizing your IT assets.
SACM, or Service Asset and Configuration Management, is broader and helps you properly control all service assets required to deliver services. What are service assets? Basically, every single aspect of a service is considered a service asset. So, this could be infrastructure, applications and data, but also people, organization and management.
In short, SACM does the same thing ITAM does. But for all service assets and not just hardware and software. For example, an ITAM database would tell you that you own a certain printer. SACM allows you to identify which people are connected to the printer.
Graphical overview in TOPdesk’s Asset Mangement
A CMDB or Configuration Management Database is part of both Configuration and IT Asset Management. It’s basically the central place for managing all your Configuration Items as IT assets. Think of application servers, keyboards and printers.
The CMDB is where you record relevant information about these items such as type, make, owner, version, as well as their relationship and dependencies with other items. Basically, the CMDB is the hub where all your ITIL processes pull their information from, whether it’s incident management, problem management, and of course asset management.
The major difference, if you can even call it that, is that Asset Management is a broader concept than the CMDB. While the CMDB stores configuration records, Asset Management uses the CMDB to control assets: things that have financial value for an organization. It involves tracking information throughout the entire IT asset lifecycle, focusing on things like warranty, contracts, inventory and value.
Asset Management has been an essential part of TOPdesk for decades. Based on our years of experience, we’ve come up with IT Asset Management best practices that make implementing ITAM a breeze. Here are five of the most important ones:
Want to learn more? Explore what our TOPdesk feature Asset Management does.