Keeping track of your organisation’s IT hardware inventory can be challenging, especially if you are still dependent on manual processes. And if you aren’t managing your firm’s IT assets efficiently, you could end up being short of vital equipment, or even the opposite problem – spending money on hardware your organisation doesn’t use.
This is why so many organisations eventually decide to invest in asset inventory management software for the tracking of their IT hardware inventory.
But even before you get to that stage, there are steps you can take to ensure greater efficiency in your IT hardware inventory management – such as the below.
Know what you have
It might seem almost too obvious a point to make, but do you actually know what IT equipment your organisation has? You may have a vague idea of what PCs, computers and hardware are on-site, but with no idea of your inventory’s combined worth. Or you might have a list of assets in a spreadsheet that hasn’t been updated for a year or longer.
Whether you use an old list of assets as your starting point, or you decide the data you have is so inadequate that you’ll have to start from scratch, you should be putting together an overview of your organisation’s IT hardware that is complete, accurate, and current.
Tag your IT hardware
Not all of your business’s IT hardware assets, especially in this modern age, will necessarily be desktop computers that remain in the same location in the same office for months or years at a time. Many might be frequently moved in, around and outside the premises. This is especially true during these Covid pandemic times and the need for remoting working.
The most obvious examples of such movable assets are surely smartphones and tablets. However, there may also be laptops among your firm’s IT equipment that staff routinely use when working from home. In addition, organisations with multiple sites will need to be mindful of how computers may be moved from office to office, such as when new staff in a different location require them.
Regardless, the most important lesson here is that you need to track the movement of these assets. Various technologies have long been used by businesses for this, such as barcodes and QR tags. Here at ACMS UK, our Vision software uses near field communication or radio-frequency identification (RFiD) technology – branded Vision-tags – to track assets and even provide live information on their current location and status.
Record asset information
The beauty of such tagging technology as the above is that it enables you to not only know what the asset is and where it is presently located, but also add further information that could be useful in the longer-term asset management of your IT hardware inventory.
The exact information that you decide to add is likely to vary from one asset to the next. Nonetheless, there are certain items of information that often show up on asset tags for IT equipment, including user manuals, PAT testing dates, maintenance schedules and warranty expiry dates.
Also bear in mind – especially given the considerable data IT hardware typically holds – that you’ll need to maintain an up-to-date record on usage of these assets to ensure compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Assign hardware to locations and people
Whether you’re recording which of your organisation’s IT assets have already been distributed to certain people and sites, or you’re onboarding new co-workers, it’s vital to know who is responsible for which pieces of IT equipment.
Being able to easily assign certain hardware to particular individuals or business locations is another benefit that the right asset management platform, such as ACMS UK’s Vision solution, can bring. By always knowing who is in charge of each asset, you will always have a colleague you can talk to about the usage, maintenance and eventual replacement of that asset.
We all know the frustration caused on a day-to-day basis by IT hardware on our organisation’s premises that might suddenly stop working. You may therefore be forced to arrange for reactive maintenance on certain assets from time to time, to help fix problems and minimise any unanticipated downtime.
However, by taking a more proactive and preventative approach to the maintenance of your firm’s IT hardware inventory, you can help keep track of each asset’s lifecycle, and make more informed decisions on the ongoing maintenance of the equipment. This will allow for any emerging issues with a particular asset to be spotted and resolved before they have a chance to deteriorate further.
Whether you need to have inspections, PAT testing, or reactive maintenance undertaken on given IT hardware from time to time, such interventions will be needed at some point.
The asset tracking software that your organisation invests in should therefore make it easy for your staff to include information on each asset tag that could be useful for the equipment’s ongoing maintenance. Our own Asset Management platform, for instance, gives you the ability to upload and store images, CAD drawings, documentation, guides and even video footage, attached to specific items in your inventory.
Use IT hardware inventory management software
In historical terms, the emergence of dedicated software for managing an organisation’s IT hardware inventory is a relatively recent development. But why would you necessarily wish to use a software platform for keeping track of your assets’ location and who is currently using them, instead of a simple pen-and-paper arrangement such as an equipment sign-out form?
The short answer is that in today’s world, more and more businesses are realising just how flawed, incomplete and laborious the ‘old’ methods of asset tracking are. The aforementioned equipment sign-out form can be susceptible to human error, and even if it wasn’t, it’s an awkward and time-consuming way to keep tabs on where your IT equipment is. It may also be more difficult to share with colleagues who are now working remotely.
Spreadsheets have also often been used in the past for IT hardware inventory management. But even these don’t provide real-time information on the current status of a particular piece of equipment, and therefore still need to be constantly manually updated, with the associated risk of mistakes. This is before we even consider the scope for a hardware failure or computer crash to potentially wipe out much or all of your data.
Such factors help explain why secure, cloud-based asset management software are becoming the go-to choice for so many organisations seeking to optimise their IT hardware inventory management. These software solutions – such as Vision – allow for assets such as IT equipment to be easily recorded, tracked and monitored in one place, online. That, in turn, helps take the labour and stress out of ensuring genuinely up-to-the-minute asset management. The data hosted in Vision is live so it will always be the most current information available to you.
Could now be the right time for your organisation to find out more about the full capabilities of Vision?
If you suspect so, the ACMS UK team is available via phone or email to answer your queries, and to give you the benefit of a demonstration of our highly regarded platform.