One of the problems chief information officers and other IT executives encounter is that they often place too much emphasis on using asset management software to track their technology inventories, said Pat Cicala, president and chief executive officer of Cicala & Associates, an asset management services and research firm.
IT managers do not pay enough attention to the people and processes needed to manage such efforts, Cicala added.
"I'd say that more than 80% of IT asset management programmes either stall or become problematic, even if they've got a few years under their belts."
Steve Hammond, vice-president of information services at Plasti-Line, recommends that an asset management programme be simplified as much as possible.
"Don't overcomplicate it with a software solution, where you become a slave to the software," he said.
Plasti-Line, which makes signs, menu boards and other corporate branding products, implemented an asset management programme four years ago when it standardised on Dell Computer's PCs and servers. Dell slaps an asset tag on every piece of hardware that Plasti-Line buys or leases, and Plasti-Line uses an Excel spreadsheet to track the equipment.
Many asset management programmes run into trouble because IT departments tend to conduct quarterly sweeps of IT inventories and "end up missing what's going on out there" between the sweeps, said Howard Rubin, executive vice-president at Meta Group. Such programmes fail because companies use procedures that "don't give them timeliness and accuracy".
IT departments struggling to get funding for asset management programmes should start small with a project such as tracking distributed software licences to show the value of the concept to senior management, suggested Frances O'Brien, an analyst at Gartner.