Looking for an new asset management tool? Here are our top tips for the user friendly features you need.
In most organizations, using various types of IT technologies has become compulsory. Companies in sectors like healthcare, retail, FMCG, transport and food are using diverse types of web and software technologies in an unprecedented way. Companies also use a broad range of hardware peripherals and devices and networking components to access technologies and software solutions. This can get complex over time, and specialized solutions need to be deployed to ensure all these IT assets are being used and maintained. That is where IT Asset Management (ITAM) Software comes into the picture. ITAM solutions are made to inventory hardware and software in a business setup to support many areas including decision-making on redistribution and purchases.
What are the benefits of ITAM Software?
There are many benefits in using specialized IT Asset Management (ITAM) solutions - regardless of organizational sector and size. By using such software solutions, organizations are able to utilize their IT assets in the best possible manner. They can also avoid excess spending and procurement of unnecessary software and hardware resources. Usage of such software solutions also enables the companies to become aware of impending asset failure, allowing them to replace assets with viable alternatives in due time. This helps in reducing cost and hassle associated with technology failures.
ITAM solutions can be used to manage different types of IT assets including hardware devices, networking setups, software licenses, cloud services, digital media content etc.
What features do you need to look for?
These features should be present in an ITAM solution:
Ease of usage and configuration: the ITAM solution you are eyeing for the company should be easy to use and setup. The software will be used by a lot of employees eventually, and all of them may not have technical acumen. A fluid UI and robust search feature are necessary. It is always prudent to have software with a simple UI and short learning curve as it is easier for the newbie to learn. A setup with a complex UI can be tedious for the users.
OS and device compatibility: in most companies, different types of operating systems and devices are used. It is not uncommon to see Windows and Linux based computers, for example. A wide range of mobile devices are also commonly used. The ITAM solution should be cross platform compatible. This will make things easier. Mobile compatible software solutions keep things flexible for the workforce as well.
Scheduling features: while the company workforce can run the software periodically to look for issues affecting IT assets used by the company, scheduling features are useful. By setting schedules for running checkups on assets at fixed intervals, hassle can be reduced. This can be helpful for keeping both software and hardware assets in shape and detecting imminent problems.
Cloud based SaaS: previously, most vendors offered standalone licensed software for ITAM solutions. However, most of them have now moved to cloud based SaaS solutions. These are easier to deploy and can be good for small and midsized companies. A major benefit of cloud based software solution is that you need not worry about local hardware snags and failure. Deploying and updating software through the cloud is much easier compared to a standalone PC based installation. Cloud services are also very secure when configured correctly.
Security: IT asset management solutions are likely to be accessed by a lot of employees in the organization. The solution is linked with valuable IT assets used in the company and so it houses important data. Security cannot be overlooked when shopping for such software. Nowadays, many solutions have embedded multi-level security features. Password based verification is not new, but such solutions often have two-step authentication. Next generation ITAM solutions are likely to have biometric based verification for access. The administrators can set a level of access for various types of users in the organization.
Notifications and alerts: it is better to invest in an ITAM solution that has provisions for alerts and notifications. This way users can be notified of impending software problems or hardware failures. This can be useful in evading serious problems that can impact workflow and productivity. The alerts can be visible, audio signals or in form of email. The app can also send alerts if users forget to carry out pre-scheduled tasks and checks.
Analytics and reporting: top notch ITAM solutions have robust analysis and report generation features. This can be handy when you want to generate reports on IT assets used by the company while using several filters. This can be beneficial to assess the condition of existing IT assets in the company.
And a few extras to look out for...
It is useful if the ITAM software solution you buy for the organization has some additional and useful features, as shown below:
Solid integration: nowadays, most companies need to use different types of software for operations. They also need different types of cloud services. The ITAM solution should be compatible with these services and offer good integration. This will simplify things for all employees. It is better to buy a solution that integrates well with the CRM database, accounting app, cloud services and office productivity suites used in the company.
Good support: the vendor selling the ITAM solution should be able to offer robust, 24x7 support. These vendors usually offer multi-channel support for customers. Organizations cannot afford to let the software stay out of order for long, under any situation.
Scalability: an ITAM software solution should be scalable to match changing operational needs. Initially, the software may be used to track the whereabouts of limited hardware resources and IT assets. However, with time, the amount of hardware assets and peripherals will go up, and the same is true of software and networking assets. The ITAM solution must be scalable to accommodate company growth.
Support and training: the vendors selling ITAM software solutions should offer support materials and training. The support material may come in printed from or as web based resources. Optical media based training materials are also offered by some vendors.
Hardware and networking standard support: with time, new types of hardware and networking devices and peripherals are developed. New standards are deployed in IT setups. The evolution of USB and Wi-Fi standards can be cited as examples. In some companies, old era legacy hardware devices are still used. The same can be said about networking protocols. So, the ITAM solution has to support these diverse protocols and standards.
While buying an ITAM solution, you’ll need to bear all of these elements in mind.
- The solution should be user friendly and have a simple learning curve.
- It should also have wide range of reporting and scheduling capabilities.
- You also need to look for a vendor that offers good support documentation and has reputation in this sector.