What is the IT Asset Life cycle?

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

In today’s volatile business climate, organisations 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 organisations are discovering that simply keeping track of their IT assets—much less optimising them—is more than traditional IT departments can handle on their own. 

To help visualise, organise, and coordinate IT assets, companies around the world use the IT asset life cycle.

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


The first step in the IT asset life cycle 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 the IT Asset Life cycle


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.


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 organisations to automatically provide applications, cloud resources hardware etc.


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.


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 that these steps are taken for each individual company asset to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible.


Finally, once an asset reaches the end of its life cycle, 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 an optimal IT asset lifecycle. More specifically, IT asset lifecycle management may provide organisations with the following capabilities:

Effective planning

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

Centralised, 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-of-life dates for various company assets.

Streamlined provisioning

Provisioning may also be improved through IT asset life cycle 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.

Optimising utilisation

IT asset life cycle management can help to provide a more comprehensive view of asset portfolios. This allows organisations to map usage trends and optimise the utilisation of existing assets. Some IT asset life cycle 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 life cycle management systems can integrate with ticketing and helpdesk systems. This allows IT teams to generate required life cycle maintenance interventions automatically. From there organisations can analyse 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 life cycle 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 life cycle management bring with them a number of clear advantages. Among these important benefits are the following:

Accurate inventories

IT asset life cycle management provides complete visibility and transparency of IT inventories. This means that organisations 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 life cycle management can significantly reduce the time and effort that many organisations 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 life cycle 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 life cycle 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 life cycles means taking the right approach to IT asset life cycle 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 life cycle process

Different assets have different life cycles. IT departments should have those life cycles, 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 life cycle management changes, so that 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 life cycle management not only increases efficiency and decreases human error, but also helps maximise the number of human resources that organisations 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 organisations to chip away at inefficiencies to help make company-wide workflows more cost efficient.

To fully benefit from a clear IT asset life cycle, organisations need tools capable of managing and administering these life cycles, 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 many depend on.

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