What is IT Asset Management? Everything you need to know in 2024

What is IT Asset Management? Everything you need to know in 2024

It might be hardware, it might be software, or it might even be entire systems - here's how to ensure they're managed properly.

Published on 26th February 2024

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is the process of accounting for the location and condition of all business assets. The goal is to optimize asset use, so that all asset lifecycles are as long as possible and the company saves the most resources.

IT assets might be physical laptops and office chairs, or they might be intangible things like software licenses. Whatever the case, your business will need to have a plan in place in order to ensure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. For better security, efficiency, and long-term success, you need an IT asset management process.

What types of IT asset management are right for you? What is asset tracking and how can it help your operation? And how can you get the process started? We’ll answer all those questions and more.

In this guide

What Is IT Asset Management? (ITAM)

Information Technology asset management — sometimes shortened to “ITAM” — refers to a process for managing everything that a company owns, from software to hardware.

IT asset management is an essential element of most businesses, and any medium or large operation should have a dedicated IT asset manager on the team. These manager should work to increase asset lifecycles with both preventative and corrective maintenance, as well as tracking all asset locations at all times.

What is an IT Asset?

IT assets can be broken down into two categories: Tangible hardware (from staplers to heavy-duty vehicles) and intangible information (software, paperwork, or IP). Even the processes and systems that a business uses to operate can be considered intangible assets, which ironically makes an IT asset management plan itself an IT asset.

Example of the most common tangible IT hardware include laptops, desktops, displays, headphones, keyboards, adaptors, desks, chairs, light fixtures, speakers, scanners, printers, and video conferencing systems. Examples of common intangible IT assets include business software, subscriptions, deeds, product warranties, licenses, and intellectual property.

How Does IT Asset Management Work?

All IT assets should be tracked and regularly audited. Some assets may be used or moved frequently. For example, a laptop might be signed out to one employee for a day or a week, before being returned and signed out by a different employee. The same might be true for an intangible software license.

Not all assets are moved, but the condition of all assets must be regularly audited. A light fixure is unlikely to ever be moved once it’s installed, but its condition can easily change if a bulb burns out. IT asset tracking and auditing can reveal issues early, allowing for maintance that can keep normal operations running smoothly.

IT Asset Management Process

IT asset management isn’t a single task. It’s an ongoing process that you’ll need to continue fine-tuning across the entire course of your business journey. Treat it like a marathon, not a sprint.

A business’s exact IT asset management plan will vary, depending on the assets used and the size of the operation. However, some general principles can help guide you through the process of instating and evolving your own plan.

Document your current setup

From the first day it launches, every business is already “managing” its assets. Without a plan, however, you’re likely managing them poorly. The first step to improvement is logging all your current assets’ locations and conditions. Try putting together a single spreadsheet listing of your assets, so that you’ll have a primary guide to refer to. You should also document your current approach to tracking your assets, even if it’s just through word-of-mouth.

Determine your asset groups

Group your assets by type. Laptops and chargers might be one group, while IP and deeds will be another. You’ll be treating these assets differently: Laptops will likely be checked out by employees for one-time or ongoing use, while your property license simply needs to be kept in a safe location. By grouping them, tracking and assessing them will become easier in the future.

Determine your asset needs

Your employees will likely need to use certain assets at set times or for specific purposes. Figure out what these are, and you’ll be able to build your management practices out in response to your asset needs. For example, this may be seasonal: A landscaping company’s lawnmowers can likely be moved to the back of the warehouse during the winter, but the snow blowers should be easier to access.

Assign employee roles

Once you know which employees will need which assets, you can create certain roles to put them in. Perhaps the writers at a marketing firm will need access to the standard laptops, while the design team will need higher end laptops with Adobe Creative Suite licenses.

Remain open to collaboration

Don’t silo all asset management concerns with a single manager or team. Every employee may not need to use every single asset, but they should all have an understanding of how the management process works, so that they’ll know their part within the system. To encourage collaboration, make your documentation available to anyone at your company.

Best Practices for IT Asset Management

IT asset management is just one part of a broader web of business management practices that will help you make the most of your assets. Here are the related practices that you should weave into your process.

4 Types of ITAM

How do you group the assets you’re managing? In today’s internet-reliant world, we’ve moved beyond just hardware and software. Here are the four general categories of asset management to consider.

Hardware and software asset management

This approach handles common IT assets like laptops and the applications on them, and extends to servers, chargers, and other frequently used tech tools. It might even encompass entire workstations.

Digital asset management

Digital assets might include licenses and any other owned digital information tracked with administrative metadata, including images, video, and web pages. These can be managed through software tools.

Cloud asset management

Many IT operations depend on cloud service providers — typically Amazon, Google, or Microsoft — to host their systems. These cloud services must be managed with dedicated programs, and may require an employee familar with cloud software.

Fixed asset management

Non-movable assets must be checked regularly for wear and tear, but they can be managed without the complexities of signing them in or out to specific employees. Examples of fixed assets include desks, chairs, printers, light fixtures, and AC units.

Why Is IT Asset Management Important?

IT asset management is the skeleton of a business: It provides the structure that all your daily operations depend on to stay in working order.

Without the right management, assets will become lost, and you may find yourself buying too many of one type of asset while running out of another type of asset. Every time you mismanage an asset, you’ll lose out on potential revenues.

You’ll also need to know the condition of all your assets at all times. Keeping old IT assets around too long opens your operation up to data breaches or other cybersecurity concerns. The cyberattack industry regularly costs businesses over a billion per year collectively, with individual businesses losing over $100,000 a year according to one 2023 study.

Benefits of IT Asset Management

We wouldn’t recommend IT asset management so strongly if its benefits weren’t key to a successful business. Here are the top benefits you should expect from the process.

Steady workflow

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of reliable, efficient work for a business: Any unexpected work blockages will inevitably push revenues down. Keeping assets well functioning is key to ensuring that a business is operating at peak capacity. As a result, IT asset management plans are essential to nearly any business.

Costs saved

IT asset management also saves money that would otherwise go towards replacing or repairing assets. Without a management system, assets can and will be lost, stolen, or treated poorly, all of which will cut their lifespan prematurely short. Asset tracking costs money, but it will ultimately save you a lot more money.

Regulatory compliance

Any business must follow local, state, and federal regulation. This comes in many forms, from tax filing procedures to real estate compliance. The information you’ll have on hand thanks to a good IT asset management plan will help you maintain data compliance, HR compliance, health and safety, and more.

Improved security

Increased visibility of your assets will naturally deter theft or misuse. In the case of powered assets, from computers to vehicles, you may even be able to track out-of-hours use. That increased visibility also applies to cybersecurity concerns, since you’ll be able to keep tabs on company information that might otherwise to stolen in phishing or ransomware attacks.

Centralized operations

Simplcity is key. By keeping all asset locations and conditions charted out in a single location, under the care of a single asset management team or manager, you’ll reduce the chances of miscommunication.


Your business growth will require ever-increasing amounts of assets. Without a plan to track each one, you’ll likely see an increasing in misplaced assets or problems with accidentally ordering too many or too few.

IT Asset Management Software

Using a dedicated IT asset management software will give you access to a range of useful features. The best asset tracking companies will offer these functions and you should also look for them when considering if free asset tracking software solutions are robust enough for your business needs.

Next Steps: How to Start IT Asset Management

Every industry and business has different IT asset management needs. To figure out yours, start by documenting all your current processes, grouping all your assets by type, and determining what asset needs each of your employees has.

Once you have a plan in place, don’t sit on your laurels. Keep auditing your assets, and figure out a regular maintenance plan for any assets that might otherwise break down. Corrective maintenance is good, but preventative maintenance is better.


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