By Jennifer Noce

For an IT professional in a small business, finding the time to keep track of IT assets is difficult.  They have their products and customers to focus on, and those take up a lot of attention and resources. Making sure they know that Asset Tag 12345 is a Dell Laptop in Office 10 and currently used by Employee “Joe Smith” isn’t always at the top of the priority list.  And, if it does ever make it to the top of the list, it quickly gets bumped by the latest fire.

But, there comes a time when their manager asks a question like “Hey, I am doing the budget for next year, how many laptops are we going to need to replace?” Then the panic sets in a little and they don’t have a quick and easy way to answer the question. They spend time looking through incomplete and outdated spreadsheets, walking around the office a few times and using their trusty memory.  They give their manager an answer and decide it is time to implement an IT asset tracking solution.

But, there are a few things that cross their mind while they are looking for a solution that end up making them put off the purchase. Below are some of those thoughts.

“I have to track everything about every asset now.”

When it comes to deciding what attributes to keep track of, the simple answer is to track those that are needed to operate your business efficiently. Company A might use model numbers to determine how old their laptops are, while Company B might use warranty expiration date for planning new laptop purchases. Therefore, it is more important for Company A to track model number while Company B tracks warranty expiration date. Company B may never track model number if they don’t have to.

You only need to track the attributes that are most important to making accurate budget and resource decisions for your company. You don’t need to waste your time on tracking information you’ll never use or need.

“It is going to take forever to get all the information in there.”

Here are a few tips for adding assets:

  • If you already have some information in a spreadsheet, try to find a solution where you can import that information so you don’t have to duplicate your work.
  • Try not to get overwhelmed by adding all the asset detail in the beginning.  Focus on getting the basic information in there first – asset tag, type of asset, etc. – then add more detail later. Especially if you have a bunch of the same type of asset and you can add them all at once, get them into the system and then change details after.
  • Start with an achievable amount of assets on the first day and then continue to do more each day.  You don’t have to spend days adding assets, especially if they aren’t going anywhere tomorrow.
  • Feel confident and at ease that you’ll have accurate information perhaps for the first time!

“I already have a process and I am going to have to change it.”

A good solution for a small business is flexible and customizable. There are solutions where you aren’t limited to how their product developers think you should be tracking assets. For example, you should be able to use your own naming conventions to describe owners or locations of assets.  Find a solution where you can mimic your current operations in a solution, not fit them into their standards.

For a small business, these obstacles and more often stem around time, and simply not having enough of it in a day. Yet, most companies know they need to track their IT assets. Without a solution, a company runs the risk of overspending or wasting resources, losing an asset, or mismanaging assets during their lifecycle. Having a solution that is easy to adopt and maintain is imperative to helping them avoid excess costs and risks.