5 Tips for Asset Management Planning

By Brian P. Watson Print this article Print

Experts offer advice for keeping tabs on the software tools that keep tabs on all your tools.

Information-technology asset management is changing, seemingly, by the minute. The software tools that manage I.T. assets from cradle to grave have many moving pieces--just ask the users we cited this month--and ownership changes have redrawn the competitive picture. (For example, just after we published our February feature, Symantec announced plans to acquire Altiris, one of our featured vendors.)

So, how do technology managers stay on top of the changing marketplace? A few experts who spoke to Baseline in January offered some advice for keeping tabs on the software tools that keep tabs on all your tools.

1. Know your processes.
Make sure you've defined your business processes and policies before investing in I.T. asset management software. "ITAM is 80% process and 20% tool," says Gartner analyst Patricia Adams. Keep in mind, she adds, that processes can't be static; companies should constantly reevaluate their goals and tailor their processes to fit.

2. Don't be short-sighted.
Don't get blindsided by initial up-front costs, says Kenneth Corriveau, chief information officer for marketing firm OMD. When you only see dollar signs, you're bound to miss some of the functionality that can turn that spend into big savings for your company.

3. Be a thorough shopper.
"An ITAM tool is not one-size-fits-all," Adams cautions. For a small to medium-size business, an out-of-the-box product may be ideal, but larger companies, she says, will likely have to customize the software to meet their needs.

4. Think big.
Asset management carries a certain connotation. "Think up a level," suggests Mindi Crozier, manager of information-technology service operations for Cox Communications. Instead of limiting your idea of the software to inventory and contracts, think of it in terms of configuration management, a way to manage not only the hardware and software components of your systems, but also the way they interconnect. That way, Crozier says, you'll tie together the technology and the service, which makes for a better sell in the front office.

5. Understand the threat.
The Business Software Alliance, an industry group that polices piracy, offers rewards into the six figures for accurate reports of companies using business software illegally. The fines for the company can be even higher. "If you're a company that's cut a lot of corners in a sort of willful way, you're potentially facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines in order to settle the case," says Neil MacBride, vice president of legal affairs for the BSA. Asset management tools help, MacBride points out, but companies need to do more to educate their employees about the risks involved with mismanaging their software tools.

This article was originally published on 2007-02-28
Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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