The Simple Beauty of a Well Maintained IT Inventory

What comes to mind when you think of an IT asset tracking spreadsheet? Is it fun for the whole family? Is it a smiling corporate IT staff? Or perhaps a well architected technology refresh plan that your end users will one day brag about to their grandchildren?

If you thought any of those things, you are completely right. With today’s corporate network topologies beginning to more closely resemble a Mandelbrot geometric set made up of everything from mobile devices to long range network extenders, there is an ever-burgeoning need for smarter ways to track down those aging links in the chain of IT infrastructure. On a practical level, an IT asset tracking sheet is exactly what it sounds like it is – a spreadsheet for tracking a company’s IT assets. From laptops to printers and from peripherals to licenses, every IT asset gets tracked and has its relevant information, like model number and serial number, documented. Tracking dozens of laptops, printers, licenses, and peripherals at multiple and changing locations can become a daunting task so it is wise to enlist some help.

The IT asset tracking spreadsheet provides clarity around system status and current configuration so that eMentum can support end users, prevent IT problems, and enact hardware refreshes when the time is right. Recently, eMentum paired the IT asset tracking spreadsheet with the use of a remote desktop client to aid in this effort. This program makes it possible to produce real-time snapshots of system status for all company laptops and desktops through metrics on CPU, GPU and memory usage, age of OS image, Windows Update compliance, antivirus configuration, and more. We now can pre-emptively manage corporate IT risks, better track system status, and enact technology refreshes when the time is right. It has taken our IT tracking efforts to a whole new level of specificity and granularity. As a small business, we no longer need to wait for our IT ticketing system to pile up with requests from dated machines, and we don’t need to guess when technology is going stale to do something about it.

To this end, we use the remote desktop client data in conjunction with user requests to inform our IT refresh plan. One very useful piece of information that we track from an inventory management perspective is last login by user. If we see that a particular laptop in the field hasn’t booted up in 6 months, we consider reclaiming that machine for better use elsewhere. In addition, our visibility into laptop condition and performance alerted us to order five new laptops to get employees the technology they need before their old machines begin to show their age. At the end of the day, this creates happy end users, a manageable ticketing request log (which makes for a happy IT staff), and a better functioning company top to bottom. I told you…fun for the whole family!

Unfortunately, the remote desktop software doesn’t solve all of our problems. Software licensing has to be managed according to individual vendor requirements. We use our IT asset tracking spreadsheet to record the purchases and expiration dates, but licensing agreements require us to rely on the vendor website as the system of record for this information. Our printers, peripherals, and similar items don’t have a standard refresh cycle, so we gauge performance and replacement timelines based on user reporting and service calls.

We are very interested in learning how other companies or projects manage their ever growing IT assets. How do you manage your IT assets? Have you supported a project or company that hadn’t been tracking its inventory? What did you do? Looking forward to your comments and feedback, and as always…

Do Good. Have Fun. Add Value.

Blake is a IT professional working in the systems and network administration space. He writes articles for ementumblog.com and other sites which shed light on IT best practices for consulting firms and more.

Blake Merek

Blake is a IT professional working in the systems and network administration space. He writes articles for ementumblog.com and other sites which shed light on IT best practices for consulting firms and more.

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