As discussed in Protecting Business Interests Through Asset Management, "policy" is an essential part of every asset management program. By design, these programs provide the means, methods and solutions used to ensure that IT assets are properly allocated, preserved and protected. In order to achieve program and policy success, every related action and adopted guideline must be based on actual needs and capabilities. This is the purpose of the “asset management needs assessment”. Read on to learn more.
At the most basic level, asset management practices, procedures and policies are used to track technology assets (hardware and software) by location, ownership, usage, configuration and maintenance status. While technical and organizational requirements will determine the actual scope and extent of any asset management program, related methods often range from the simple to the complex --- i.e. from manual inventory lists to integrated software solutions for inventory, problem management, change control and software distribution.
While it is often assumed that institutionalized asset management is only worthwhile in the large, corporate environment, there is always a way to benefit from practices designed to make it easier and less costly to acquire, allocate, use and maintain technology assets (not to mention the need to protect these assets from loss, theft, destruction and damage). Once technology assets are put in place, they can be hard to track -- mobile devices, relocations, staff changes, and frequent configuration updates, can all transform the overall asset landscape. These changes, when left uncontrolled, can have a major impact on the ability to support and maintain installed technology. And these are issues that can impact any business - large or small.
To overcome these obstacles, related asset management programs must suitably reflect actual needs and capabilities. The program must serve a purpose, it must fill a need, and it must be realistic and enforceable. Otherwise, it’s just bureaucracy. So the first step is obvious – you must be able to identify all needs and capabilities and then plan accordingly. This is accomplished through the “define, align and approve methodology”:
The first step towards defining actual asset management needs is to take a serious look at “where asset management stands today”. This is known as the “current status assessment”, used to evaluate current conditions and pinpoint problem areas as a basis for solution development. This assessment is performed using the following (10) assessment questions:
The answers to the above listed questions will provide a roadmap for program development, providing the basis for matching needs to “solutions”. In all likelihood, every asset management need can be met with one or more possible solutions. This means further analysis and the need to make tough choices. This process is greatly simplified when you have a roadmap for informed decision making. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that each solution is properly aligned with needs and capabilities.
At each point, the “need” is the benchmark by which solutions are analyzed and decisions can be made. This is the overall purpose and intended result of the asset management needs assessment. It’s not about managing assets for the sake of managing assets – it’s about managing assets to protect business interests, maximize IT value and realize the IT management vision.
For more on IT policies, download our free IT Policy Templates (for policy preparation and evaluation) and also see:
Fundamentals of Sound Policy for Managing Information Technology
Email Policies: Tools to Govern Access, Usage and Etiquette
Handbook: Priorities and Planning for IT Asset Management
Using Policy to Set Standards for End-User Technology
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