Companies need a variety of devices, software, applications, systems, servers and other information technology items that are essential for the development of their business activities.
The IT area plays a fundamental role in guaranteeing that technology is working properly and the best resources to serve the different areas are available. Making strategic decisions, reducing costs, optimizing resources, increasing productivity and ensuring information security is adequate are some of the main responsibilities of this sector.
The IT inventory is one important tool to help managers deal with a large amount of solutions and information necessary to make correct decisions and manage the information technology infrastructure.
In this section we will offer key considerations about Telecom and IT inventory and the benefits this tool can offer.
What is Telecom and IT Inventory?
It is a detailed list of information about all the company’s technological resources. This record is important to support decisions related to the organization’s information technology needs.
In order to have a complete inventory and to achieve all the benefits that we will present here, it is necessary to record all hardware, devices, equipment, software, applications, among other IT items acquired by the organization and correlate them with users, managers and cost centers.
Key benefits of maintaining and updating the company’s Telecom and IT inventory
Problem identification and correct decision making
One of the most important reasons for having a complete and up-to-date inventory is the ability to anticipate problems and to make correct strategic decisions.
A complete asset control can identify items that need adjustment before problems occur. This way it will be possible to take action in advance in order to avoid the unavailability of services which generally results in losses of productivity and profits.
The management of Telecom and IT resources through the inventory allows the company to carry out preventive reviews or even corrective maintenance before or in the initial stages of problems, to avoid more serious consequences.
These measures have a direct and positive impact on the increase in the useful life of the equipment, avoiding extra expenses with the purchase of new devices before the ideal moment.
Visibility of the existing devices
One of the main challenges for companies is controlling all physical equipment. These are high-cost assets that easily lack adequate control, in particular mobile devices such as notebooks, smartphones, tablets, modems.
In some cases, the lack of control is such that the employee can have his employment terminated and take the device with him/her, or lose the equipment while employed and simply request a new one, without considering that the equipment has software licenses or chips with associated costs, due to lack of adequate internal policies and management.
Having mapped the type, model, brand, warranty and who uses each device is important, as well as predicting the depreciation of these assets and maintenance for the coming years.
Control of terms and guarantees
The inventory also helps with the management of technical support and warranty terms and timelines of each of the company’s software and hardware. It also controls the employees use of the assets.
With proper inventory management the company does not risk losing its warranty and and technical support rights with suppliers and can negotiate warranty and support terms or upgrade assets before the end of the coverage period.
As for utilization control, the manager will be able to identify situations that can cause problems due to incorrect use by the user, making it possible to take preventive measures to avoid mistakes from happening again, such as training or the adoption of new tools.
Finally, it is important for the company to have clear policies for equipment damage or loss.
Mapping of IT needs
The inventory makes it possible to identify whether the Telecom and IT resources meet your company’s needs. If your organization doesn’t know, for example, if there are insufficient assets or assets in excess for the execution of key activities, the inventory is a great tool to give visibility to these problems and to avoid losses in productivity and profitability.
With a complete and updated inventory, the manager can make informed and correct decisions, focusing on the best solution at the lowest cost for all internal customers to have the adequate tools to perform their work. As an example, the purchase of licenses or programs that are unnecessary or incompatible with a certain area or position is avoided.
What should an efficient inventory contain?
It is important that an inventory records the number of devices and systems with respective purchase dates, technical data, serial numbers, places where they are installed, dates of the last maintenance and updates, related cost center, user and manager, among other data. Each item must be recorded separately in the inventory.
For an inventory to be organized and efficient, it is important assets to be divided into categories and subcategories. Let’s take, for example, the categories software, hardware and users.
Within the hardware category are all of the hardware and devices such as: computers, notebooks, smartphones, printers, time clocks, cameras, biometrics equipment, routers, modems, servers, among others.
The software category will include all intangible technology resources, such as applications, program licenses and cloud services.
The users category includes those who use the IT infrastructure and must contain information related to the resources they use, and may even contain HR information.
When to inventory Telecom and IT assets?
The inventory must be constantly updated to ensure reliable information.
If the inventory has not yet been created, the right time to do so is as soon as possible. For companies of any size, segment or quantity of software and hardware, the inventory will be a great ally in the management of IT and Telecom resources.
During the initial phase of implementation of an inventory, several points for improvement and attention will be found, related to the presence of unnecessary costs as well as the lack of, excess of, or presence of inadequate resources for their purpose.
After the initial implementation, the first step is to understand the entire scenario, to list each action to be taken and which interventions will be necessary to solve the problems found. When the corrective actions are completed, it will be necessary to keep the inventory updated, to analyze it constantly and to define when new actions will be necessary, making this cycle a routine.
What are the best practices for inventory management?
Entering all data
It is important to have a system that allows to enter data manually when necessary and that is structured for the demands of Telecom and IT.
Also important is to look for a tool that includes all the important data to cover all of the company’s inventory control needs, as they may vary from one organization to another. Systems that allow this customization are ideal.
An automated tool minimizes the possibility of errors and incorrect data entry, it facilitates the visualization of the entire set of technology assets and it speeds up decision making, reducing the common problems found when the control is done manually.
Investing in automated systems and routines to update and monitor the Telecom and IT inventory is certainly a good practice. This initiative is even more important in larger and more complex structures that have a great quantity of assets, different departments or third parties who use the company’s systems and devices.
Creating customized reports
One of the most important objectives of a Telecom and IT inventory is to provide necessary information to aid in technology decision making.
The possibility to generate customized reports based on different data and criteria allows for more correct decisions, focused on optimizing resources and reducing costs. Customized reports make it possible to know, for example, which software will need licenses renewed at any given point and to predict necessary investments for that or even to increase or refresh existing devices.
Focus on important information
The large volume of data on Telecom and IT assets can generate confusion and lack of focus on what is important for efficient management of those resources.
When implementing the inventory, even before the first load, it is important to define which data are relevant and especially which ones will be analyzed. Knowing what information is needed to support your business strategy allows you to prepare specific reports for what you want to analyze and to support the decisions to be made.
Inbound and Outbound Assets
The main cause of inventory inconsistencies is the entry and exit of assets without registration or updating. To avoid this problem, a well-defined process is needed to change inventory data only when an asset effectively becomes or ceases to be part of the company or when it has internal movement – between cost centers, for example.
For the inventory to be an efficient tool, it is necessary to keep it controlled and updated. After all, it is necessary for the information be reliable so that the decisions that will be taken based on the inventory be the right ones.
Engaged internal team and customers
It is important for the manager to involve his or her team in the processes of inventory management for the respective objectives to be achieved. Both deployment and inventory maintenance benefit from this practice.
It is worth creating actions and conversations for everyone to understand the importance of the Telecom and IT inventory, as well as the benefits that the tool can bring to the company’s processes. That way, engagement and results will be greater.
Training courses to enable the Telecom and IT team to fully use the tools and learn about the adopted processes are also essential.
How to monitor inventory?
The best monitoring option is an IT and Telecom inventory management software. This type of system performs automatic updating and monitors the inventory continuously and with almost zero chances of error, unlike what happens in manual systems such as spreadsheets.
A single software is capable of managing all of the company’s IT and Telecom assets, from maintaining inventory to monitoring contracts, controlling expenses with wireline and mobile voice and data links, among others. A well-developed, updated and monitored IT inventory provides crucial information for the manager to make correct decisions and it is responsible for significant cost reductions.