What is the IT Asset Lifecycle? 

The IT asset lifecycle defines and describes the series of stages involved in managing an IT asset throughout its useful life. 

In today’s volatile business climate, organizations need to keep a close eye on their IT resources to ensure that every asset is accounted for, cost effective, and being put to proper use. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that IT decision makers have a clear and accurate picture of their IT ecosystem. However, as the army of valuable IT solutions continues to grow, many organizations are discovering that simply keeping track of their IT assets—much less optimizing them—is more than traditional IT departments can handle on their own. 

To help visualize, organize, and coordinate IT assets, companies around the world use the IT asset lifecycle.

The IT asset lifecycle usually follows a formalized process and is often tracked and supported by software tools. Although different organizations in different industries may have their own versions of the IT asset lifecycle, most follow the same basic format. Here, we explore the six stages of the IT asset lifecycle:

Request 

The first step in the IT asset lifecycle takes place before any assets are purchased or deployed. The request stage can also be thought of as an ideation or planning phase, where stakeholders get together, discuss their objectives, and determine which assets are needed and why. The culmination of this stage is a formal request for an IT asset.

Stages of he IT Asset Lifecycle

Fulfill

Once a request has been made, it must pass through the proper channels of approval. Those with the responsibility to approve IT requests should first compare available, in-stock assets to see if any are capable of fulfilling the request. If not, then the IT asset will need to be purchased.

Deploy 

With the right IT asset or assets selected and made available, they next must be deployed into service. IT asset provisioning may make use of workflow automation, allowing organizations to automatically provide applications, cloud resources, hardware, etc.

Monitor 

The monitoring stage is focused on increasing visibility, ensuring optimal and efficient asset usage, and identifying and mitigating risks. In this stage, relevant data may be captured for analysis, informing future IT asset strategy.

Service

Throughout the asset’s life, it will require various forms of service to remain optimally functional. This may include ongoing maintenance, occasional upgrades, or even emergency repairs. Team members need to have regularly scheduled time dedicated to making sure these steps are taken for each individual company asset to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible.

Retire 

Finally, once an asset reaches the end of its lifecycle, it’s time to dispose of it and replace it with a new asset. The IT team must understand and follow the established steps to ensure that asset disposal doesn’t lead to future security risks.

IT asset lifecycle management empowers businesses with the tools and strategies they need to ensure optimal IT asset lifecycle. More specifically, IT asset lifecycle management may provide organizations with the following capabilities: 

Effective planning  

IT asset lifecycle management exists to give organizations an accurate and comprehensive view of all existing IT assets. This information may be put to use to analyze existing IT asset footprints and optimize the entire asset lifecycle to support essential assets, enhance efficiency, and plan to improve future effectiveness. In fact, effective planning informed by the right IT asset lifecycle management system can help create improvement across the board, from planning and purchasing, through refresh cycles, and into asset retirement.

Centralized, cost-efficient procurement

IT asset lifecycle management helps enable smart procurement. It does this by identifying opportunities for consolidation. IT asset lifecycle management systems may also track upcoming warranty terminations as well as end-to-life dates for various company assets.

Streamlined provisioning 

Provisioning may also be improved through IT asset lifecycle management. Automated capabilities can directly populate relevant asset information into ITAM databases, while at the same time linking to identity management systems and HR records—all with a minimum of manual input.

Optimizing utilization

IT asset lifecycle management can help provide a more-comprehensive view of asset portfolios. This allows organizations to map usage trends and optimize the utilization of existing assets. Some IT asset lifecycle management systems can also work with ERP and other planning and analysis systems to make trendspotting more seamless across specific technology stacks.

Improved maintenance efficiency

Top IT asset lifecycle management systems can integrate with ticketing and helpdesk systems. This allows IT teams to generate required lifecycle maintenance interventions automatically. From there organizations can analyze maintenance trends and spot common recurring problems with specific types of assets, vendors, or asset models. Strategy makers may apply these insights to improving future purchasing and warranty decisions to help reduce maintenance costs.

Secure and timely disposal 

The right IT asset lifecycle management also doubles as a security manager, making sure that all broken or obsolete assets are disposed of safely and securely, leaving businesses less open to a variety of risks, vulnerabilities, and liabilities.

The capabilities provided by IT asset lifecycle management bring with them a number of clear advantages. Among these important benefits are the following:

Accurate inventories 

IT asset lifecycle management provides complete visibility and transparency into IT inventories. This means that organizations will be able to make well-informed decisions based on hard numbers, rather than estimates or approximations.

Decreased IT costs and workload 

Correctly employed, IT asset lifecycle management can significantly reduce the time and effort that many organizations would otherwise need to invest in manually managing their IT assets. This not only allows businesses to save money on technology costs and work hours, but also promotes more effective and efficient use of resources. Additionally, IT asset lifecycle management provides a clearer understanding of the total cost of ownership for a given asset, so that leaders can make cost-conscious decisions regarding tools and other resources.

Reduced IT asset risk

IT asset lifecycle management is an effective tool in tracking and enforcing asset policies and regulatory requirements, helping to identify and eliminate risks before they can become actual problems.

Improved employee experience 

Finally, by ensuring that IT assets are better cared for, upgraded regularly, and available when needed, IT asset management may effectively eliminate a major stress point for IT employees.

Getting the most out of IT asset lifecycles means taking the right approach to IT asset lifecycle management. Here we highlight several best practices to keep in mind:

Include stakeholders in the process 

Different departments have different needs. And those needs should be taken into consideration when making any changes to the IT asset infrastructure. It’s important to make sure that everyone who will be affected by the change is on board and that their needs are being considered.

Map out the IT asset lifecycle process

Different assets have different life cycles. IT departments should have those lifecycles, and the processes that are involved, fully mapped out so that they can see where their current technology might fall short.

Make changes reportable, observable, and accountable 

KPIs should be established, measured, and reported on regarding those IT asset lifecycle management changes, so all stakeholders and decision-makers can determine whether the asset policy changes have positively affected the company workflow.

Automate the process

Automation within IT asset lifecycle management not only increases efficiency and decreases human error, but it also helps maximize the number of human resources that organizations can dedicate to tasks that cannot be automated.

Always be on the lookout for other ways to improve 

Business growth can happen by either increasing one’s customer base or decreasing the inefficiencies found within company workflows. Improving IT assets allows organizations to chip away at inefficiencies to help make company-wide workflows more cost efficient.

To fully benefit from a clear IT asset lifecycle, organizations need tools capable of managing and administering these lifecycles, while also remaining adaptive to changing business needs. ServiceNow, the leader in enterprise IT management has the solution, with IT Asset Management.

Built on the award-winning Now Platform, IT Asset Management allows businesses to automate workflows through the entire asset lifecycle—purchasing, inventory, deployments, monitoring, servicing, and asset retirement. IT Asset Management tracks assets between and within each stage of asset lifecycle management, providing unparalleled control and flexibility in managing the assets that so much depend on.

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See how far your IT assets can take you with IT Asset Management.