Businesses use so many IT assets that network administrators may struggle to keep track of them all. But, just as with a warehouse of goods, your business must track your inventory of IT assets. These include: desktops, laptops, servers, processors, hard disks, operating systems software, anti-virus software etc. To help you keep an accurate inventory without constantly making manual updates, there are dedicated computer inventory software systems.
Computer inventory software scans your overall IT network infrastructure and records every detail about each computer on the network, including software installed and the operating system. You just set up the software with a domain or local administrator password.
This Buyer's Guide will help you better understand how computer inventory software works. We've included all the essential details that you should know before selecting a solution for your business.
Here's what we'll cover:
Computer inventory software lets users automatically discover and track all the assets in their organization that are on the same network across multiple locations and throughout the life cycle of each asset.
These solutions monitor assets on your IT network and generate reports that include details of software and hardware configurations, such as the operating system, motherboard, random access memory (RAM) and hard drive of each computer.
This software helps businesses stay compliant with software license agreements. It also lets you evaluate each computer's readiness for technology upgrades, installation or platform migration.
Computer inventory management in Samanage software (Source)
To help you understand the finer points of computer inventory software, we've broken down the most common features below. Read on to find out the different capabilities that computer inventory software offers.
Vendors offer a variety of functional depth and breadth in their solutions, but most of them will offer some or all of the following capabilities:
|Data discovery and storage||Allows you to automatically identify, collect and store new computer inventory details as soon as they're added to your IT network. These details include information about the computer system and firmware updates, memory storage size, USB ports, removable media, processors, network interfaces and operating system.|
|Asset tracking||Lets you track details throughout the life cycle of an asset such as asset purchase dates, asset manufacture dates, as well as hardware and software installation/expiry dates.|
|Reporting||Generates printable reports on the hardware and software details of computers in your network such as existing asset usage data, model number, dates of previous updates, administrators involved in the installation process, total resources utilized and unused hardware. You can also export, filter, search, share and copy the reports.|
|Alert notifications||Sends email notifications whenever prohibited software is detected in the IT network or when new hardware or software is installed/uninstalled on an asset in the network.|
|Warranty management||Tracks the warranty information of all the hardware and software assets that are part of your organization's IT network.|
|Third-party integrations||Lets you integrate the computer inventory software with other software in your organization such as knowledge management or network monitoring software.|
To find out which vendors offer specific features, give our advisors a call at (844) 852-3639 for a free consultation. This will help you shortlist solutions from the ones listed on this page.
Before you start evaluating different computer inventory software options, you should understand your needs in comparison to those of the overall market. Most buyers of computer inventory software will fall into one of the following categories:
Small businesses. These buyers focus on daily requirements such as collecting, storing and tracking information about their computer hardware and software assets (around 250 to 300 assets). They need basic computer inventory software that helps them progress from spreadsheets to a digital inventory process. They want to streamline their tracking process, but at a low cost.
Midsize businesses. These buyers often need additional features not offered in the basic plans, such as alert notifications and warranty management. Midsize businesses usually have a significant number of assets (around 2,500 to 3,000) but lack the expertise to manage their growing numbers.
Large businesses. These buyers require a system that offers majority of the features listed. They will also seek a solution that integrates with their existing platforms, including network monitoring software. With a large employee count, such businesses have a large volume of hardware and software assets (15,000+).
We've mentioned some benefits of computer inventory software above, such as automatically discovering and storing inventory data, tracking inventory and create reports. Here's a comprehensive list of the primary benefits:
Efficient allocation of existing hardware and software resources. The software alerts you if there's an unused laptop or desktop in a department, so you can reassign it either to a new hire or an existing employee who needs it. This process saves your business the money, time and effort needed to purchase a new device.
Avoid unnecessary purchase of hardware and software. At times, you may have purchased hardware or software that you already owned but weren't aware of, either because you forgot about it or it got lost in the long list of IT assets that are yet to be checked. That's why you need a thorough inventory system. It will prevent unnecessary or double purchases of IT assets, as well as help you efficiently manage their use and maximize their utilization.
Prohibit installation of illegal or prohibited software. When employees install prohibited software on their systems, it poses a threat to your whole network. Unfortunately, this happens more than you may think. Illegal software installations put your business at risk of virus infections. But computer inventory software helps prevent these situations, as it alerts IT admins whenever illegal software is being installed on any system.
Despite the benefits, you should keep the following considerations in mind when you're evaluating vendors:
Does the software support integrations? Check with the vendor whether its solution supports integrations with your existing applications, such as knowledge management or network monitoring software. Smooth integrations between both systems allows for the efficient import and export of data.
Is the software scalable? Ask the vendor whether their solution can scale up as your organization grows. The software must be able to support the multilocation IT network infrastructure that expanding businesses often need.
Does the vendor offer customer support? Check whether the vendor offers support 24/7 or only during business hours or not at all. Also, ask for available support options such as email, phone or live chat.
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