IT asset management software reduces the cost and complexity of managing IT tasks by providing a single repository for all information relating to hard and soft technologies, plus other inventory that falls under the purview of the IT department. There are hundreds of such products out there, from basic free programs to advanced solutions that fully integrate with help desk software and other essential functions. To help you navigate this market, we’ve created this buyer’s guide. Use this and the IT asset management software reviews tab to make your selection.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
This describes a special breed of inventory monitoring software designed specifically to address the unique needs of an IT manager. This means tracking anywhere from one to millions of individual pieces of hard and/or soft technology assets and integrating with servers, networks and service desk as necessary to help troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently.
Most systems are designed for inventory oversight, including tracking a company’s entire technology services and networking inventory. More advanced systems will automate that and other processes, allow for tighter asset control and management of information needed for service desk resolution and reporting, as well as integrating with other company IT needs (e.g., client management).
Depending on the specific product selected, an IT asset management solution could provide some of the following features:
|Inventory management||This is the core application of IT asset management software. It’s the centralized database that lets management see at a glance all important data on IT assets, like where they fall on the replacement cycle.|
|Device discovery||This application saves time and effort by scanning a company’s networks for connected devices. After discovery, the devices can be automatically entered into the inventory management application.|
|License management||This application helps companies maximize the efficient use of the software for which they’ve purchased licenses. (Software licenses often have stipulations about the number of permitted installations or concurrent users.)|
|Support ticketing||Open and close requests for IT support, tracking resolution speed, common problems, solutions to unusual problems etc. This is typically offered within a larger help desk or ITSM platform.|
|Hardware monitoring||Shows the active state of connected hardware, including data on its uptime/downtime. This is often used to monitor the health and status of company servers, and can be invaluable for avoiding sudden surprises and malfunctions.|
Internal buyer. Companies that manage their own IT departments may need a system to manage their networking, VoIP and server usage to protect against malware and to ensure maximum uptime. For these businesses, there are several free or low-cost options available. Spiceworks is among several vendors that offer free IT asset management tools for smaller users.
Customer-focused buyer. Companies that provide outsourced IT services need their system to be able to assign assets to customers and integrate with billing and accounting. It also needs to integrate with clients’ systems, which can be a challenge, so be sure to consider how the software will impact your customers as you peruse your options. SAManage for Zendesk and Netsuite Online are good options to consider.
Enterprise suite buyer. The prime example of this buyer might be a telecommunications company, or any other business that loans, leases or otherwise manages hardware for a very large number of customers. These companies typically support customers from a service desk, meaning that the system needs to integrate with a help desk and/or sales force system to maximize the efficiency of customer service resolutions. FrontRange and Power2Assets for Sage SalesLogix are two enterprise IT products to consider.
There are several market trends you should understand as you conduct your software comparison. They include:
Free software. With Software-as-a-Service reaching critical mass as a business strategy, the innovation phase has kicked in and companies are looking for new ways to enter specialty markets. In that environment, many vendors are beginning to offer free IT asset solutions. As could be expected, these are usually supported by ads and/or “pro” upgrades, but that doesn’t mean they are less effective solutions—they still offer high quality and performance, and for many smaller companies these free offerings present a very viable solution that should not be dismissed just because it sounds too good to be true.
Asset to help desk integration. According to a Gartner research study, IT analysts spend an average of 17 minutes per support call, and 42 percent of that time is spent establishing the location and configuration of the target product. For this reason, IT software vendors like SysAid and Web+Center are now offering a solution that combines asset tracking with service desk—in other words, providing a single system that maintains all of the relevant information on customer assets, which is immediately provided to the analyst on every service call. This shaves several minutes off every call, saving money and improving customer satisfaction.
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