What is IT asset management (ITAM)?

IT asset management is the process of efficiently managing IT equipment throughout its lifecycle or period of ownership to maximize its value to the business.

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IT asset management definition

Also known as “IT asset lifecycle management,” or just “asset lifecycle management,” ITAM is a framework for proactively and strategically managing the acquisition, usage, maintenance, and retirement of IT assets.

 

Not to be confused with IT operations management, which is concerned with delivering IT services and optimizing system performance, ITAM focuses on implementing and automating processes for managing complex asset inventories from purchase through disposition.

Stages of IT asset management

While many think that ITAM starts when an asset hits inventory, it actually begins from the moment the need for a new IT asset arises. Here are the five phases of ITAM and the requirements for each:

  • Requisition: The requisition process begins when someone within a business submits a request to acquire new IT equipment. ITAM best practices include having a standardized, automated way for requests to be submitted and a pre-defined set of criteria against which requests will be evaluated and approved or rejected.
  • Procurement: This phase is where the acquisition of IT assets takes place. Vendor selection, contract negotiation, financing procedures, and successfully bringing purchased assets into inventory are key aspects of IT asset management that come into play during this phase.
  • Deployment: At this stage, IT equipment makes its way into use, whether that be in a data center, on a factory floor, or at an individual’s workstation. ITAM best practices involve using inventory management tools, equipment assignments, and specific “owners” and locations. 
  • Maintenance: Asset maintenance encompasses routine physical upkeep, software updates, and any needed repairs. Automated processes, supported by management tools, are the hallmarks of mature IT asset management systems for maintenance.
  • Retirement: All IT assets eventually reach the end of their life and need to be taken out of use. Occasionally, equipment breaks down, but with good IT asset management practices in place, the cost of keeping aging assets is carefully weighed against the performance benefits of replacing them with more current technology.

Benefits of IT asset management

The ultimate goal of ITAM is to provide the best possible ROI to the business when it comes to IT asset consumption. From negotiating favorable contract terms, to enabling proactive maintenance and eliminating downtime, to recouping value from retiring assets, the practice of systematic IT asset management helps reduce total cost of ownership, or TCO. Beyond benefits to the bottom line, this helps the business afford to upgrade to the latest technologies more quickly than it otherwise might and gain competitive advantage.

ITAM, HPE, and sustainability

When it comes time to retire IT assets, a critical aspect of the process is responsibly removing old equipment from inventory. In many cases, working assets can be refurbished and remarketed, which not only puts cash back in businesses’ pockets, but helps them meet corporate sustainability goals. With its focus on the Circular Economy and sustainability, HPE Financial Services helps businesses of all sizes recoup value from aging IT assets and keep assets in use as long as possible, while reducing the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfills.