Evaluating IT asset management software: Who do you trust?
Nowadays, more or less all companies have to deal with diverse kinds of IT assets. Using IT assets (software, hardware, digital media and networking) is no longer specific to the technology giants.
Companies belonging to niches like retail, healthcare, finance, automobile and FMCG also need to deal with diverse IT assets and technologies for their operations. So, tangible as well as non tangible stuffs are deemed as IT assets eventually. To ensure all these IT assets can be used in the apt ways and kept in best shape, the businesses use IT Asset Management Software .
Guide to choosing apt software solution for IT asset management
There are plenty of ITAM software solutions you can pick from and selecting the apt one for your company may not be easy. To ensure you buy the most apt ITAM software for the organization, you need to evaluate the vendors on some key parameters. These are:
- How user friendly the software is for use and learning- The asset management software is likely to be used by a majority of your workforce round the year. So, it definitely needs to be user friendly. The UI should be fluid and simpler to navigate. It is even better if you can customize the software interface to suit your work needs.
- What are its main functions- In a company, an ITAM solution is used for many purposes. These software are used to keep inventory of all the IT assets used by the company- to start with. Besides, the software can be run periodically or at preset schedules to track condition of these assets. This helps the entities in finding warning signs when an asset can fail or develop snags. In the long run, it helps those companies in cutting down running costs incurred in buying new assets. It also helps reduce workload on the employees to execute periodic IT asset checkups by using automation.
How compatible is the solution with diverse IT assets-In different companies, wide ranges of IT assets are deployed. While some companies use the latest hardware and networking components, in some companies, decade old legacy devices are still used. There are varying standards for USB and networking protocols, for example. Various networking storage and external storage solutions are also used in such organizations.
When it comes to software assets the diversity is noteworthy too. The most commonly used software types in the business setups include accounting software, productivity apps, database software, email clients and security solutions. There are many types of business/enterprise security solutions, as it is. Nowadays, companies use cloud based software services a lot too. The ITAM solution you buy has to support all these software.
- How compatible is it with different OS and platforms- It is not only about compatibility with existing hardware and software assets of the company, the ITAM solution has to be compatible with the devices and OSes it will run on. The company may have computers running different versions of windows and in some cases some computers may run on Open Source operating systems too. The company may have employees using different types of mobile devices as well. The ITAM software has to be compatible with all these devices and computers.
- Is the software cloud based or on premise- Until a few years back, most of the asset management software used to be on premise type- much like other software solutions. However, in the last decade adoption of cloud based SaaS has shot up everywhere. Nowadays, you can buy cloud based ITAM solutions. This will be better for the companies that do not want to spend much on hardware resources.
- Does the software need third party services/framework to run- Some of the popular IT asset management solutions can be run in the web browser directly. However, to run a few other such solutions, your computer or mobile device may need third party frameworks and services to be installed. For example, some such software may require third party frameworks like JRE or Microsoft Dot net framework to be installed to function properly. You have to decide whether you are okay with using such third party services for using the ITAM tool or not.
- Is the tool flexible enough for future needs of the company-The ITAM tool you pick for the company has to be flexible enough to match future usage needs. When you buy such a tool, the number of IT assets ( all types) may be limited. However, with time the company will invest in more hardware and software assets. The IT asset management tool should be able to accommodate the new types of IT assets.
- How secure is the tool- As it is natural, an IT asset management application will be used by a lot of employees in your company- almost on a regular basis. So, you cannot really afford to invest in such a solution that is light on safety front! Thankfully, the majority of existing asset management solutions come with multiple safety features embedded. Password protection is there and some tools also offer provisions for enabling two step authentications- much like what you get in online services like Gmail. The future generation tools may have options for advanced biometrics verification for access. These software also have options for setting access level for various types of users. This way all employees cannot access crucial company information and they cannot delete or change such information, even by mistake.
- Scheduling and automation- If your workforce has to spend a significant amount of time in using the ITAM tool, then the purpose of buying it is not fulfilled. Top notch IT Asset management applications come with inbuilt automation and scheduling features. Once you configure the schedules, the software will run scan for vulnerability and hints of problems in the listed IT assets of the company. This way, potential problems can be identified before they can escalate and cause interruptions at work and lead to losses.
- What kind of training material/user guideline is provided- The vendors making IT asset management solutions offer extensive documentation and user guideline materials for their buyers, as it is. You need to check this aspect before selecting any such vendor and its products. Usually, they offer user guideline in printed form, and electronic formats like PDFs. You may also be able to get such training and support materials in form of optical media.
- What type of support is offered- Like any other type of software, the ITAM tool used by your company may develop snags. When that happens, the first thing you will need is prompt service/support from the software vendor. Nowadays, most vendors offer support through various channels. These include phone, chat, email and social media etc.
- Does the tool comply with company protocols for handling IT services/technologies- In different organizations, certain protocols and practices are practiced. Some companies adhere to specific set of guidelines to use IT services (like adherence to ITIL methodologies). Similarly, some other companies may have guidelines to use FTP services or VPNs. You should think if you would like to deploy an ITAM solution that requires overriding the pre set IT service usage guidelines in the company or not.
IT service management (ITSM) refers to all steps taken by an organization to design, plan, deliver, operate and control the IT services they offer to their customers. IT service management takes on a "process-oriented" approach towards management, focusing on IT services and requirements for customers rather than IT systems. Also, unlike processes that are used for technology-oriented IT management, like network management and IT systems management, ITSM stresses on continuous improvement.
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