An inventory is an asset survey and valuation process normally undertaken to organize and divide a family's assets after someone's death, but the concept can and should be applied in an organizational context as well. Do you know, for example, what is IT inventory?
It is clear that, within a company, the objective of the inventory is not the sharing or division of goods, but the guarantee of the best functioning of its activities.
In the IT area, inventory is even more important, taking into account that after the digital transformation, virtually all sectors of the company depend on technology.
As the need to update hardware and software is recurrent, the inventory is a resource that managers can use to promote the best operation of each system or equipment.
In this article, we will explain what IT inventory is and how it works, and point out its advantages, when and how it should be done. Finally, we will also give you tips so you can keep your IT inventory up to date.
What is IT inventory?
Every company depends on technology, to a greater or lesser degree, for its internal processes to work.
We are not just talking about companies that work with technology-related products and services. Every company, of any segment or size, needs IT.
That is because, for a business to work, it uses equipment, tools, systems and software to develop its activities.
In this context, the IT manager needs to have control over the functioning of all these resources, so that their potential is used for the benefit of the company.
As there are often many items involved, the IT inventory is a logical solution for understanding the entire information technology infrastructure available.
The IT inventory is a list with all the detailed information about the technological resources existing within a company.
It is this list that will drive decisions related to information technology for the progress of the business.
In order for the IT inventory to be effective, it must include detailed information about all the equipment, tools, programs and any other IT items that the company has.
That is, a proper IT inventory includes absolutely all of the organization's existing hardware and software.
And in addition to being designed in as much detail as possible, the IT inventory must be updated frequently.
In this way, it can guide decisions that will reduce costs and avoid working with obsolete equipment or outdated software.
But, for this, it is not enough to register which resources the company has. It is necessary to detail technical data, serial numbers, purchase dates, dates of last maintenance or updates and where the resources are installed, in addition to the quantity of equipment or systems.
When doing this detail, it is usually detected that the company has much more resources than it appears.
Advantages of taking an IT inventory
See below for the main benefits of taking an IT inventory.
Help in decision-making
With all the information about each component of your IT infrastructure, you can anticipate and avoid problems, making strategic decisions.
In the IT area, the need for maintenance and updating is constant and, with all the details about your assets, it is possible to make decisions that avoid downtime.
IT inventory also allows you to view the best times to perform updates and preemptive reviews.
This type of strategic decision extends equipment life and reduces IT infrastructure expenses.
Improved data security
With the new LGPD, information security is an even more relevant issue. And IT inventory helps in this regard too.
From the management of technological devices, it is possible to identify, for example, malicious software that should not be installed on your computers.
This way, it is possible to remove this type of software before they compromise the entire infrastructure.
This concern is very valid as cyber attacks become more and more common every day.
Identification of IT demands
With the preparation of the IT inventory, it is possible to adapt the available infrastructure to the organization's needs.
Thus, the manager checks whether the available assets are sufficient and adequate for the development of organizational activities.
An inventory query can clarify doubts related to practical decisions. For example, you can identify whether all computers in the company have antivirus installed and when operating systems have been updated.
All IT management can be optimized from clear and quick answers to questions like these.
When to take IT inventory
If your company has never taken an IT inventory, the best time to do so is now. Don't wait, he's an important ally you can't do without.
Regardless of the size of your company, the industry in which it operates and the amount of IT assets it has, inventory will certainly optimize the management of your infrastructure.
The first time it is done, detailing should be a priority, so that it is possible to identify all the demands, necessary adjustments and possible risks.
Once this step is completed, you will need to keep your IT inventory up to date.
How to take an IT inventory
If you are in the phase of implementing the IT inventory in your company, see below the step-by-step instructions to put the survey into practice.
- Categorize assets: Within your list, think of groups such as hardware, software, and users. Also define subgroups within these categories;
- Create naming scheme: even if you have several units of the same equipment within the company, each of them must be identified separately in the inventory, as they may have different licenses or have undergone maintenance at different times. Therefore, you must create a naming scheme that can be developed from codes with letters and numbers that follow a logical sequence. Thus, each equipment can receive a physical tag through which it will be possible to easily identify it;
- List the assets: with the individual identification of each asset, it's time to classify them within the defined categories and subcategories;
- Identify opportunities and vulnerabilities: this is the time to analyze the information listed to improve your IT management;
- Monitor the data: In order for your IT inventory to provide all possible benefits, you need to update it frequently and monitor any changes.
Tips for keeping your IT inventory up to date
As you already know, monitoring is a critical part of achieving the benefits of having an IT inventory.
See below for our tips to keep your survey always up to date.
- Appoint an employee responsible for updates: even if you have an automated system for managing IT assets, having an employee responsible for this control will ensure that no details are overlooked;
- Save inventory in the cloud: so it can be accessed from anywhere and won't be lost if there's a problem with a computer;
- Consider the lifecycle of assets: By documenting and updating the lifecycle stages of each asset, you improve the usability of each asset;
- Create an update routine: having a checklist at hand and defining the frequency of updating the IT inventory will ensure that no relevant data is forgotten.
One of the main reasons why managers create an IT inventory is the possibility of avoiding potential problems by choosing to schedule preventive maintenance.
These maintenances are only effective if the company has full control over its assets. Hence the need for the inventory.
Now that you know the benefits and know how to take an IT inventory, it's time to better understand preventive maintenance triggers to make more effective decisions. And of course our blog has an article on this subject. See you.