Real SMB IT: It Asset Management, On the Cheap

March 23, 2009

Having a handle on your IT assets is important. Both in the context of ITIL and from the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your IT assets. 

For larger businesses in the SME space, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of tools that you can purchase.

For smaller businesses, you can do it yourself – and do it pretty cheap as well!

So here is how to start an asset management system on the cheap.

Step 1 The Asset Tags

If you are tracking assets by a name like Jeff’s PC or Printer next to Christine. What happens when Jeff leaves or the printer is moved?

Companies such as Maverick Label  will do Asset Tags in smaller batches, complete with your company name and logo starting at about a buck per tag.

That Asset Tag number becomes the global identifier for that asset. That remote sales rep calls with a laptop or projector problem?

That number will pull up every detail for you.

Step 2 The Asset Data

The exact data that you want to track may vary, but I track the asset number, the device serial number, make, model, manufacturer, purchase and warranty dates, vendor, asset type, who it is assigned to, location, and some general configuration information. I also keep space to document any service and historical information of the asset.

Step 3 The Asset Tracking Tool

Yes, it can be something as simple as a spreadsheet. However I like to use the freely down-loadable Microsoft Sharepoint Team Services.

I used Sharepoints custom list ability to create the asset management tool quickly, and free.

The benefit that I find is that with Sharepoint’s search capability I can pull up any asset by its asset number, or any other criteria.

Who has the projector that Jane used to use? one sec … got it

Which PDA is John using? .. got it.

The SMB Takeaway

Managing the life cycle of your IT assets is the first step in ensuring that you are accounting for both the whereabouts, and status of all IT assets.

It also reduces the time and cost of servicing assets as you have a central repository of each and every asset you own.

It also reduces purchasing assets that you may already have in surplus, and can even identify assets that are beginning to fail to frequently. 

And best of all, for smaller businesses, you can do it cheap!

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