The Truth Behind Managing IT Assets in Excel
Bu Laura Lepore, Marketing Coordinator
The truth is, you cannot efficiently manage your assets in Excel. Spreadsheets are great for many projects, but they aren’t ideal for managing IT assets.
IT assets are constantly changing, moving around, being updated or being repaired. With that in mind, shouldn’t an asset management solution be unfixed and adaptable to the changing assets? In one of his articles, Stuart Leung, SEO Manager at Salesforce, even revealed that 9 out of 10 spreadsheets have mistakes that are caused by human error, and ultimately could have been avoided.
Do not settle for a static solution when there are affordable solutions that can simplify IT Asset Management. Your assets deserve a proactive solution that provides real-time data and enables automated processes.
Let’s explore 4 areas where you can improve your asset management with a simple, yet modern, IT asset management (ITAM) solution:
1. Asset Lifecycle Management
Track the complete lifecycle of your assets without scavenging through hundreds of columns of data. With the asset information gathered in one central repository, you’ll be able to overlook the entire lifecycle of all your assets. This includes employee requests for specific assets, management approval, procurement, provisioning and even asset retirement, to name a few. At any time, request data in a customized report that only takes a few minutes to download. In comparison, spreadsheets take hours to compile, sort and present in a comprehensible manner.
The following includes all the stages in the lifecycle that a modern solution manages: employee request, upper management approval, employee allocation, geographic location, lost or stolen assets, asset depreciation, asset storing, recycling abilities
2. Manage IT Purchases & Maintenance Contracts
Assets are usually listed in spreadsheets with as many columns of information. In order to monitor supplier agreements and maintenance contracts, business owners usually spend valuable hours updating spreadsheets to keep track. The actual contracts and agreements are also hidden under an inbox of emails or lost in a server.
A modern IT asset management solution integrates purchasing information from procurement systems with inventory data collected by network discovery tools. Whether your procurement system is another spreadsheet or Microsoft Dynamics, a modern ITAM solution can link your purchases and maintenance contracts to assets, so all the information is centralized without having to re-enter the data. Smaller businesses, without the need for a procurement system, can easily manage multiple purchases, supplier agreements and maintenance contracts without the hassle of updating, monitoring, or worrying about the accuracy of a spreadsheet.
3. Manage Asset Loans with Check-In/Check-Out
A modern ITAM has the capability of tracking the movement of assets. In other words, when your business loans assets to users, the solution is built to manage this process, so you don’t have to. It is possible to list the assets and their usage in a spreadsheet but this static approach neglects several parts of the process that your organization requires.
Spreadsheets are missing the proactive approach to a modern solution. An IT asset management solution manages the entire loan process from employee request, through approval and checkout. When an asset is due to be returned, the solution sends an email notification to the user, and if required over-due alerts to their manager and asset owner.
There are several unique solutions that offer the use of a barcode reader to scan equipment efficiently. An example of this process in an actual organization is if an educational establishment is distributing ChromeBooks to their students. A barcode would be an efficient way to track which book each student has and then automatically notify them and the school if they are not returned on time.
4. Onboarding Management
Spreadsheets present flat data whereas a modern solution contains data that can then be streamlined into time-saving processes. An ITAM solution can automate processes to support role-based user provisioning of hardware and software. The on-boarding of new employees can be orchestrated into workflows and checklists that streamline the whole process.
It grants new employees access to the Active directory, emails and the appropriate software for their role. Therefore, if an employee decides to leave, they can just as easily be revoked. A similar process can be done for employees who change departments. The solution can reallocate hardware, for instance, and store the unnecessary software for another employee to use.
Updating excel spreadsheets is time-consuming, prone to error and not scalable to a growing business. They are labor intensive, complex and unresponsive to your organization’s needs. As of right now, you probably spend a lot of time entering data into a spreadsheet that contains hundreds of rows and columns. Compiling the data you need requires patience, and reminding yourself of maintenance status within the cells is almost impossible.
In fact, Jackie Luo, CEO of E-ISG Asset Intelligence, describes how Excel spreadsheets is an example of a bad asset management technology that isn’t trusted among employees for reliable and accurate data, in her post about Bad Asset Management Technologies.
Reduce your time in your spreadsheet and explore the possibilities of a modern ITAM solution. Other benefits include a simplified workflow, customized reporting, user-friendly, easy company integration.
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About the Author: Laura Lepore
With a keen interest in technology, Laura has devoted her work to developing marketing strategies for B2B companies. She has helped organization’s improve their reputation, increased the number of qualified leads and helped them focus on aligning strategies with their visions. Laura is eager to learn more about emerging technology trends and even pioneered the IT Vision Conference 2018 in Montreal.