For IT departments, the task of keeping track of all the hardware, configurations, software licenses, user permissions, and other information about IT assets is exceedingly complex. Logbooks and spreadsheets are not up to the task. In response, for the past dozen years companies have worked to set up configuration management databases and IT asset management software to try to bring every asset into a common management framework.
To date, there has been progress, sometimes dramatic progress, but the dream of having perfectly documented IT systems operating under a master plan remains elusive. While IT departments have been able to bring certain assets under control, as soon as one area has stabilized, the technology changes. User-owned smartphones and tablets, cloud storage, software-as-a-service, server virtualization, virtual desktops, and other new technologies keep throwing asset management plans off target.
Our study, IT Asset Management Best Practices, finds that in recent years, the percentage of organizations deploying IT asset management systems and methodologies has risen. Figure 1 shows 61% of organizations currently have asset management systems, up from 53% in 2010. However, over the past three years, the adoption rate for these systems has been relatively flat—rising from 58% in 2011 to 63% in 2012, and then dropping slightly to the 61% figure in 2013. The number of organizations that have adopted asset management tools appears to have reached a plateau for now.
IT asset management applications are used to discover what assets are deployed, how they are configured, and where they are physically located. Such systems can monitor software usage and licensing and can be important for license compliance and IT service management. The data is used to populate and maintain a configuration management database, which is then used as a central data pool for functions such as granting user permissions, allocating resources, deploying standardized servers and desktops, tracking license usage, managing hardware life cycles, speeding help desk ticket resolution, and a host of other activities.
In the full study, we look at the changing nature of the asset management field, at how far along organizations are in implementing asset management systems, and at some of the tools and practices available for improving asset management. We also assess asset management adoption by organization size and sector.
This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, IT Asset Management Best Practices. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).