Assets are the strength of every company. Knowing what you have, where it is, and its condition helps in planning for future assignments and meeting business requirements.
Earlier, rudimentary asset management was done using traditional methods. Why fix what ain’t broken?
As times have changed, it became more and more obvious that the traditional method or just keeping the asset in working condition was not enough. Mass production led to the realisation that an asset when not in use had to be stored properly so that it could be brought back into the production line when demand increases. Changing laws for environment safety forced business owners to accept that an object could not just be thrown out anymore. It had to be processed and made safe for disposal and scrap. This led to the modern concept of asset management.
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What Is an Asset?
An asset is an item, entity, or thing (tangible or intangible) that holds value for a company or a person. Examples of assets include estates, resources, equipment, inventory and valuables. But here, we’ll talk about your IT assets.
One of the main goals of a business is to minimise costs. Asset management is a systematic process which maintains and monitors things of value to a company. It goes a long way in fulfilling this requirement. Knowing what you have, its quantity and quality, where it is kept, how to retrieve it, and the time taken to do so will help in maintaining an optimum level of inventory and reallocating resources when needed.
If you own and run a business, you probably don’t have to worry about wasting time searching for your assets or finding it not being utilised. That would be a waste! Thorough asset management helps you avoid that.
5 Key Stages of Asset Management Life Cycle
An asset management team manages a company’s asset. Their aim is to assist the company in tracking the changes in their asset, how they are configured and the location of it. An asset no matter how big or small, cheap or valuable goes through 5 key stages and life cycle of asset management.
The first stage of any asset lifecycle is acquisition or the actual purchasing of the asset. There are multiple options available, so always make sure that your choice is made based on both your requirements and budget. When we help small business owners purchase IT assets, hardware or software, we identify their current and possible future needs and then gather and present all information so they can make informed decisions. We also help small-medium business owners get the hardware and software they need at wholesale rates.
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This is the stage where all the action takes place before the asset is finally put to use. If required, the asset is assembled and preliminary checks are conducted. It is checked for any defects as well as design and engineering problems, whether it is installed correctly and safely, testing for any performance issues, tagged or barcoded for tracking purpose.
Contracts and licenses are also checked and rechecked to make sure that the business is getting everything that was promised. Basically, efforts are made at this stage to make sure that the asset will deliver as expected, meet all the standards and be compliant when it is finally put to use. During deployment, the stage is set for optimum use of the asset.
This is the longest stage of asset management. At this time the asset is finally put to good use for which it was purchased. It earns revenue and returns on capital are seen. Upgrades, patch fixes, purchasing of new licenses, compliance audits and cost-benefit analysis are all a part of this stage.
Usually, it is the operations team which manages the utilisation stage of an asset. The asset is continuously monitored for performance issues that may arise unexpectedly when it is on the production floor. The prime area of focus during the “utilisation” stage is to get the most out of the asset.
Continuous use puts the asset through wear and tear due to which maintenance becomes a common occurrence. As the asset ages, maintenance increases helps in increasing its productive life. Technological advancements also demand changes in the asset to make it more secure and safe to use. Modifications and upgrades are done to make the asset more in sync with the times. This also makes them faster and better than before. At times it also improves the quality of work.
The focus of maintenance is to identify potential improvement areas so that operational requirements are met in the best possible manner.
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At the end of an asset’s useful productive life, it has to be disposed of. The decision to dispose of an asset should be based on the service deliverables. But disposal is not as easy as putting the asset in scrap or the next put out day. Everything has to be treated or processed to ensure that it cannot harm nature or society.
To that effect, if necessary, all data has to be wiped from the asset. Learn more about wiping out data from old computers.
The Final Word
IT asset lifecycle management helps to optimise the performance of an asset throughout its useful life. It starts at the planning stage and moves along in a sequential manner until the product is no longer useful and has to be disposed of. A true asset management system would allow an organisation to know the operational costs, usage frequency, and performance associated with an asset throughout its lifetime. This allows comparison against set business metrics to know how your assets fare as compared to the business standards. To maintain a competitive edge in the market it is necessary to have a meticulous asset life cycle management.