What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)? Meaning, tools and best practices

What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)? Meaning, tools and best practices

IT asset management involves acquiring, procuring, monitoring, optimizing, maintaining, and retiring software and hardware assets.

Published on 27th September 2023

What Is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?

IT asset management is a subset of IT operations management that deals with the acquisition, procurement, monitoring, optimization, maintenance, and retirement of both software and hardware assets. ITAM is a crucial discipline if you want to extend the lifespan of technology resources and use them to their full potential. Cybersecurity, digital transformation, AI adoption, and business growth all hinge on an effective ITAM strategy.

Typically, business expansion and IT advancement go hand in hand. More earnings and sales lead to requiring more employees, which subsequently demands additional desktops, servers, and larger networks.

Bigger organizations also prefer to bring more operations in-house, opting to save money by administering their own HR, accounting, or finance departments by licensing third-party software. As they hire more staff, additional IT personnel become the need of the hour.

If your business is expanding, it won’t be long before you need to set up an IT asset management policy. This would enable you to administer your software and hardware resources across their entire lifecycle. The goal is to minimize business interruptions, manage budgets, eliminate risks, and acquire an overview of how IT influences business outcomes.

Defining ITAM

IT asset management, or ITAM, is the practice of accounting for deploying, maintaining, upgrading, and/or discarding the organization’s technology assets. It strives to maximize the value of IT machinery within an organization by integrating financial, contractual, and inventory data to monitor the status of IT assets. Typically, these assets can be classified as either hardware or software.

What is an IT asset?

An information technology (IT) resource is any data, software, or hardware an organization uses to run its business. It can be of two types:

IT assets have a limited lifespan. IT asset lifecycles can be proactively managed to maximize their value. Each organization may define the phases of this lifecycle differently; however, it usually involves planning, purchasing, implementation, and upkeep.

The application of processes across all lifecycle phases to figure out the total cost of ownership and optimize asset utilization is an essential component of IT asset management.

ITAM process

A typical IT asset management workflow involves the following steps:

Key features of IT asset management

IT asset management is an area of expertise founded on accumulating and evaluating data. While these used to be paper records and then spreadsheets or tables, modern ITAM systems enable a host of useful features and capabilities.

1. Hardware and software monitoring/tracking

IT asset management relies on an integrated data monitoring system. The inventory monitoring feature of ITAM programs stretches beyond a basic catalogue of readily accessible assets. It consists of specific hardware and software standards for improved decision-making. This feature enables visibility into details such as the asset’s date of purchase, CPU and GPU speed, memory, available disk space, network IP address, and other parameters.

As part of tracking, most IT asset management systems instantly identify all hardware and software stationed within a company’s computer network.

2. License and SLA management

ITAM software maintains licenses for IT assets. These are then cross-referenced against the appropriate inventory data. As such, ITAM notifies the company if an asset is unlicensed, in danger of violating a license agreement, or is over-licensed (procuring software that it under-uses or never uses). The system can also monitor license agreement expiration dates and alert the company accordingly.

3. IT asset use data analysis

ITAM can help evaluate software installations and analyze software usage numbers. This aids in reducing the expenses associated with inactive software licenses. For example, using data analytics dashboards, ITAM would notify you if your organization has purchased 15 licenses but only runs the application ten times. This would reveal any cost savings possibilities that are available to the organization.

4. Procurement request management

A few ITAM software allow businesses to establish asset request workflows and monitor every request for an IT asset. They assess these assets’ license prerequisites and supervise their purchase and implementation.

5. Integration with procurement and purchasing functions

Several organizations monitor IT purchases via a procurement system and IT inventory via another system, and a link between these two platforms can often be missing. Integrating the two is fast becoming a common feature with modern ITAM. This enables organizations to precisely evaluate their inventory and predict future requirements through the same interface.

IT asset administrators can plan new purchases based on equipment that is nearing the close of its shelf life. They can analyze financial data in conjunction with IT inventory utilization data to figure out the best strategy for the disposal of assets.

Optionally, ITAM includes features to manage digital assets. This digital asset management (DAM) capability is necessary to administer digital rights and rich media (multimedia content such as videos, audio, and images/photographs).

Importance of ITAM

Historically, IT departments could manage the assets that resided within their area of expertise. Nowadays, the asset management practices of companies extend well beyond this ambit to equipment and software that do not carry any official IT authorization.

Asset management challenges also arise from subscription-based software or staff requests for tool customization. As other teams or divisions embrace cutting-edge technologies, asset management becomes vital for an increasing number of departments. Organizations can use ITAM software to manage anything from car leases to insurance policies.

ITAM is a crucial discipline for organizations because it:

Choosing the best ITAM tool

Remember the following parameters when selecting the best IT asset management (ITAM) solution for your needs.

ITAM Best Practices

Now that you’re familiar with the meaning and workings of IT asset management and some of the best ITAM tools available, let’s look at the best ITAM practices you should follow. These tips will help you improve ITAM to get the most out of your assets.

1. Assign an ITAM owner when implementing it for the first time

Identify and recruit an executive who will advocate for ITAM actively and visibly. Without this, most ITAM projects fail or are discontinued as priorities and budgets shift. An advocate can also help promote the value that ITAM provides. Dialogue with management and appreciation of ITAM’s value will guarantee the project’s continued funding, which is important since this is a major investment.

2. Consider using CMDB

A configuration management database (CMDB) is a centralized database containing information about an organization’s IT assets and their connections with one another. It is not required for all organizations, but managing configurable items (Cis) such as IT assets and standardizing data from multiple sources can be beneficial.

3. Automate ITAM wherever you can

Since IT asset management involves many repetitive and routine tasks, automation will enhance your ITAM initiatives. Automation can be done for scheduled periodic inspections and automatic alerts. From patching and app deployment to reporting, plenty of opportunities are available to set it up and let ITAM automation manage the rest.

4. Adopt an asset prioritization system

With so many IT assets spread across a company, it can be hard to prioritize maintenance. Some assets may be used by a single individual, whereas others may be indispensable to the organization’s operations. Rank your IT assets based on their significance. Doing this will allow you to make smarter decisions on whether multiple devices concurrently require maintenance.

5. Always be proactive with asset maintenance

Once all the policies have been standardized, ITAM can be implemented as a proactive and not reactive system. For instance, scheduling the maintenance of hardware assets ahead of time will mitigate the risk of unscheduled outages. For software, timely reminders about expiration or renewal will aid your compliance needs.


IT asset management simplifies the use of technology assets and maximizes the returns on investments. It is essential for organizations looking to pursue digital transformation, adopt new technologies, or empower employees with new tools. As the discipline of information technology evolves, the definition of ITAM is fast-evolving to encompass non-traditional IT systems such as enterprise data management (EDM) and content management systems (CMS).


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