Every organisation, whether commercial, academic, or voluntary, should have a Hardware Asset Management (HAM) process in place. This involves having a thorough asset database to accurately track and keep up-to-date with every piece of hardware, from computers, and servers, right down to keyboards and cables.
A key element of HAM is having an awareness about the hardware asset lifecycle. Every piece of equipment in a company’s IT estate will fit in somewhere in the asset lifecycle steps, whether it’s been recently purchased or is coming to the end of its life. Understanding which equipment needs upgraded, or disposed of means IT departments can plan their budgets better for purchasing new hardware.
When considering a HAM audit, it’s essential to choose companies who know what they’re doing. Conducting a thorough Hardware Asset Management audit is a specialised skill that is time-consuming and extensive. A cost-effective way to manage this could be to hire a third-party company who are experts at asset management to come in and do the job quickly.
Hardware Asset Lifecycle
The hardware asset lifecycle encompasses the entire life span of any IT hardware, from initial procurement through to disposal. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, every piece of equipment will cycle through the following stages:
The first step in the asset lifecycle is the initial purchase of the equipment. The company will decide on hardware and requisition it. Once this has happened, experts will decide what equipment they require based on their specifications and needs. This part involves browsing the market, looking at deals, budgeting for the equipment if it’s going to be an expensive purchase, and comparing hardware.
Once the purchase is made, we move onto the next stage in the hardware management process. Robust and accurate hardware asset management should also help to reduce double purchasing of equipment.
Prior to getting used, the hardware will be tested to ensure it’s working and is fully functional. Testing will check to see if there are any design flaws, defects, and make sure it is suitable for use. Then the hardware will be set up and given out to any staff member who needs it. After this it should work under its intended purpose.
Monitoring and Maintenance
Usually when a business uses hardware it experiences constant use, which means it needs regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure it continues at peak performance. Wear and tear is common, and hardware assets can run into several issues if they aren’t taken care of properly.
Throughout its lifespan, the IT department will run regular maintenance checks and updates to ensure the equipment hasn’t become damaged and is still working as it should. This could involve regular analysis and IT audits, patching, or updates to the equipment.
At this stage, having a company like Capital conducting regular HAM audits allows businesses to stay on top of their maintenance, ensuring machines continue functioning at peak productivity.
Technology moves quickly, and it doesn’t take long before equipment that is experiencing constant use wears down. This is where IT support comes in, where patches and upgrades can be installed to lengthen the hardware asset’s life span. For example, in a computer, this could involve changing the graphics card to something more up-to-date, to get the equipment to run faster.
Conducting regular upgrades keeps the asset compatible, up-to-date and relevant in a quickly changing IT atmosphere. When running a HAM audit, Capital can provide an accurate and live asset database which will give the IT department an awareness around which hardware needs extra attention. This saves the company time and money in the long run, as equipment’s life span can be stretched out as far as possible while you plan in the budget.
Retirement or Disposal
Finally, as technology continues evolving, and IT hardware comes to the end of its life, it’s important to either retire it or get rid of it. Retiring an asset usually involves decommissioning it and putting it in storage, which can be useful as it may be important later. But sometimes, disposal is necessary which means dumping the hardware and buying something new.
Using Capital to conduct regular HAM audits allows companies to be strategic with their retirement of old equipment, ensuring that hardware assets are cycled out while causing minimal disruption to staff’s productivity. Managing hardware assets effectively, allows a company to plan for the retirement of equipment without it affecting the company’s bottom line, rather than having the equipment go offline and stop people from doing their jobs.
Monitoring the HAM lifecycle is essential to any hardware management process and is vital for every piece of hardware equipment.
Capital Have You Covered
Capital are experts in hardware asset management, and can support companies with the full process of HAM. We work with in collaboration with trusted partners to deliver every step of the HAM lifecycle, and can work from start to finish on HAM projects. Our work can be tailored to meet business needs from purchase to disposal of hardware assets. Contact Capital for a no-obligation chat about how we can support you with your hardware asset management.