By Kelly Jones
To understand what IT Asset Management (ITAM) is, you need to understand what ITAM isn’t…
Many school districts think they have an asset management system in place because they have one or many of the following:
- Fixed Asset Systems: Financial professionals within a school district will most likely prefer a fixed asset system as the system of record since it relates to accounting practices. Unfortunately, the system only records acquisitions and disposal costs, not any information pertinent to campus staff, like where the asset is located and whether it’s available for use.
- A Discovery Tool: Many school districts have a system that can discover physical assets and therefore believe they have an asset management system. The truth is, asset discovery is only a small portion of what constitutes ITAM. It isn’t just discovery, but also the tracking of the physical, financial, and contractual information and its changes throughout the asset’s entire lifecycle.
- Asset Spreadsheets: Asset spreadsheets are utilized by many school districts. They allow a district to track assets and get some transparency into budgeting, but because the spreadsheets are created and maintained by each individual campus, there is a lack of process and standardization in formatting and naming conventions for the fields being tracked. This makes it virtually impossible to get a holistic, district view of assets in a consistent format, resulting in increased audit response times and inaccurate inventory data.
Now that we’ve established what ITAM is not, let’s talk about what it is…
ITAM is the set of business practices that join financial, contractual and inventory functions to support life cycle management and strategic decision making for an IT environment. ITAM offers a holistic view of a district’s assets and how they relate to key learning initiatives, providing valuable data to track the cost and performance of these initiatives. ITAM can then decrease the total cost of an initiative through effective vendor and contract management.
Let’s talk about the stages of school district asset management…
- Purchase: This includes every aspect of acquiring and procuring an asset, from initial strategic inception to the asset’s arrival at the district. Acquisition acts as the gatekeeper for the asset management ecosystem, with the purpose of acquiring assets that are required by the district in the most cost effective manner.
- Identification: The process of asset identification includes uniquely identifying and validating the physical presence of the IT asset. Physically tagging the items with a barcode label for scanning or RFID tag at the point of identification will accelerate auditing, counting, distributing, and collecting the asset over its cycle of use.
- Utilization: Asset utilization makes up the day-to-day activities of your assets and requires quick access to data to answer key questions for more informed decision making – What is it? Where is it? Who has it? Managing and tracking item location data and its status, down to the room or student, allows campus staff to more effectively do their job and more accurately report for the district as a whole.
- Compliance: Maintaining accurate data on all IT assets allows the district to know what equipment it has, where the equipment is, how well the equipment is working, how much the equipment costs, and how well the equipment supports district learning initiatives. The accuracy of this data, or lack thereof, leads to the accuracy of the administrator’s decisions within the district and acts as a vehicle for maintaining a cost-effective program.
- Asset Disposal: Asset disposal is a process comprised of procedures for the removal of IT assets from the district, avoiding increases in IT asset storage costs, mitigating risks associated with disposal for legislative purposes, and maintaining data security. Even if an asset purchased with distinct funding such as Title I, E-Rate, IDEA or local bonds has been disposed of, it must be accounted for to maintain compliance.
As schools and districts deal with the headaches of day-to-day asset inventory management, TIPWeb-IT can provide you with a real-time district-wide view of all your resources, so you know what you own and where it is. With TIPWeb-IT, your district can manage the entire lifecycle of assets described above, from purchase to disposal, and every stage in between.
Interested in learning about how TIPWeb-IT can help you save time, money, and resources? Check out our short video to get an in-depth look!