4th October, 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS
IT asset management is all about visibility. The bigger your organization, the bigger the problems you might encounter. After the emergence of cloud applications, companies of any size can suffer from asset overload.
This is especially due to the ease of signing up for applications. Every employee in a company can sign up for their favorite SaaS applications.
This can go completely unnoticed by IT if there are not enough SaaS management practices implemented.
The International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) defines IT Asset Management as a set of business practices that implement IT assets across all the business units within an organization.
It has to manage the overall lifecycle of these assets that includes all elements of hardware and software used for your business.
Asset Discovery: Cut the process of manually adding assets into the database, which is extremely time-consuming and is prone to human error. Instead, implement an automated tracking system for data entry.
Organizations can run an asset discovery agent that scans all hardware devices and software that enter your organization with a dedicated tool. This is especially handy for hardware assets that have plenty of components. It will also be helpful in tracking software applications.
Monitoring Hardware and Software: You need to decide the metrics you want to track for your assets. Some of the most used hardware and software metrics include:
Underused/Overused Software Licenses
Number of IT assets
Cost of Maintaining an IT asset
Licensed vs. unlicensed software
Only through defining and keeping track of the metrics can you improve the asset's performance. In addition, it allows you to forecast equipment downtime and repairs.
You can keep note of these metrics to make adjustments to each asset's maintenance duration.
Tracking Asset Lifecycle: A comprehensive ITAM solution helps you to track an asset's life cycle. You can track activity from an asset's procurement to retirement.
Procurement is the first step of an asset's entry into the database. Companies can then use this information to schedule stock renewals and maintenance.
You will also be able to enable alerts for assets retirement. This lets you eliminate IT equipment at its salvage value.
Track Usage of IT Assets: An asset's usage can be tracked by deploying IT asset management software. Using it, companies can identify the usage trends. Reports can also be generated to simplify the process.
This sort of data lets you plan your inventory better — downsize and upsize. It helps you reduce the loss of resources.
Manage Software Licenses and Warranties: If your organization lacks asset discovery capabilities, it's impossible to implement certain ITAM processes. In addition, it is a challenging task to follow best practices such as tracking warranties and licenses.
An ITAM solution enables you to monitor and track details relevant to your IT assets.
For instance, you need to start tracking hardware warranties immediately after the procurement process. Validation of warranties makes sure that there is hassle-free maintenance of IT equipment by the manufacturers.
Tracking software licenses helps businesses stay compliant and audit-ready. They can identify underutilized and unused software applications with a simple scan.
The IT Asset Manager manages, controls, and protects the organization's IT assets (i.e., hardware) throughout their life cycle, from acquisition through final disposition. In addition, the IT Asset Manager designs, develops, and implements the organization's asset management strategy.
But IT Asset Managers are not magicians with crystal balls to know what all applications are present. All they rely on is a spreadsheet where they have to manage applications and renewals manually.
They need to go around employees checking in if they have signed up for new applications, that too every single day. Imagine doing this in an enterprise with 500 plus employees. It can drain your energy and time.
According to Gartner, there are seven specific roles for an IT asset manager. Here is what it states as the responsibilities of an IT asset manager.
Most of the employees in an organization aren't sure of any asset purchasing policy. Most employees aren't even aware of what is considered an asset. If you take up the job of an Asset Manager, you need to start communicating clearly and effectively.
You will need to frame policies as the first step. IT has a lot to gain with effective asset management, but so does finance, who should report on the cost of these assets.
Business managers need to know which apps their employees are using. While renewing a particular app, they should also justify why they need to renew that app and in what aspect it helps in daily operations.
Now that you know the policies that will be established and communicated, it's time to enforce them.
This will start with standard processes and guidelines everyone has followed when it comes to paying and signing up for any SaaS applications. Even the free SaaS application which an employee signs up for, thinking its risk free can push the asset manager to risk.
You should govern the policies and processes and have real-time reporting on all the applications. You must know who owns them, who is using them, how frequently they are used, the most used features, their renewal dates, etc. Make sure you have a valid method to report usage.
You can only measure risk if you know what is in your SaaS ecosystem. You are at constant risk of data breaches, hacks, broken authentications, and many more threats until you get that visibility.
Learn what your specific risks are.
Where do they come from? (Can be insider attacks as well).
How likely are they to happen?
What are the impacts it can have on your business?
Catalog your risks regularly to stay on top of the "what ifs."
If you have understood your risks well, you can move on to remediation if something happens. Remember that no system is foolproof, but you can lower the exposure of risks if you have accurate and real-time reporting across the organization.
As an IT asset manager, it's not only your job to set the policies and enforce them but to pick up the pieces when something doesn't go as planned.
Though it might not be your job to manage IT assets, it's also important to delegate. There are some assets that are only used by one department or team.
Other SaaS applications are used cross-departments. Assign assets to those who can more closely monitor them. They will need to have access to the reporting as you do and make decisions based on that data or work together with you to come up with the best course of action.
Now that you have everything under control, you need to prove that to the business leader. The reports you created will be your justification that IT assets are being well-managed across the company.
Remember, these reports shouldn't be static spreadsheets or disparate reports. Instead, they should be in one single place, accessible to all stakeholders, from a single screen and dashboard.
When you are assigned the job of an IT asset manager, you are the leader. Getting your team to work together is in your hands.
Communicate the value of ITAM practices often by sharing key metrics that prove things are working. For example, metrics such as how many hours have been saved through strict adherence to the IT asset management policies and processes will be helpful.
The role of IT Asset Manager is easier said than done. Manually carrying out all these tasks can be highly tiring and time-consuming. What you need is an automated software management platform like Zluri that can help you save time and energy by automating all the manual workflows involved.
You can get rid of the taxing task of updating your SaaS Management Spreadsheet every day. Once you sign up to Zluri, it analyzes your complete SaaS library.
After that, its centralized dashboard presents you with all the applications, their users, usage, owner, and how much is spent. Thus, it is easy for the IT Asset Manager to renew or de-provision the redundant, unused, and underutilized applications through these essential insights.
Also, Zluri gives real-time alerts whenever a new SaaS application enters the SaaS landscape and makes sure that they are secure and compliant.
The dashboard has all the SLAs stored, which means you no longer need to hunt for them when you need them quickly.
Auto Renewals or surprise renewals can no longer happen as you can set renewal alerts in Zluri's Renewal Calendar. It starts giving alerts 60 days before the application's renewal due date, giving you ample time to decide whether to renew or discard an application.
SaaS operations consist of procuring the right set of SaaS apps, managing access to these apps by users/departments, monitoring their usage, and offboarding them properly when they are no longer needed.
Though with all its goodness, SaaS brings financial, security, and compliance risks to organizations. For IT teams, issues like providing and revoking access to employees during onboarding and offboarding or when their role changes are very time-consuming.
When an organization has a large number of SaaS applications in its SaaS stack, it gives rise to SaaS Sprawl.
In this post, we've discussed 7 symptoms of an unoptimized SaaS stack and solutions to optimize the same.
An obese SaaS stack leads to SaaS wastage. It's a disease! It not only causes financial issues but also gives you security and compliance problems. That's why you must keep tight control on your SaaS stack. And it begins with managing your SaaS vendors.
Being certified helps you to stand out from the crowd. This opens more doors for opportunities as well as helps in getting a significant hike in your career. Further, you may also get better positions in the company via promotions and reduce the risk of comparative layoffs when you possess certificates and others don’t.
IT administrators keep track of all organizational hardware and software assets and ensure that any changes in it are done as and when required.
The role of a SaaS operations manager is to perform various business enabling tasks that were traditionally performed by the IT department, such as IT asset manager, software asset manager, or the more general IT administrator. The key difference is instead of playing a supporting role; this role is to get the complete benefit SaaS has to offer without the risks.