What is IT asset management?

With the right digital tools, companies gain visibility into and control over an expanding universe of digital assets.


From routers and laptops to software licenses and networking equipment, myriad tools and technologies help organizations get work done. As technology stacks continue to grow, IT leaders are challenged with maintaining visibility into and control over an expanding universe of digital assets. The discipline of IT asset management (ITAM) is helping many meet the challenge.

ITAM joins financial, inventory, and risk management functions to help businesses strategically maintain their assets in order to optimize spending, support lifecycle management, and make strategic decisions within IT.

IT assets include every database, piece of hardware, and software application used across the enterprise. In the past, this function fell under the sole domain of IT. That made oversight easier, but the scale and complexity of enterprise digitization today makes it much more difficult to keep tabs on it all. Without proper measures, an organization’s assets are often poorly inventoried, documented, and distributed.

These issues pose significant business problems, resulting in:

  • Cost overruns: Paying for software or subscriptions that are no longer in use or for licenses that aren’t necessary based on actual usage and consumption history. This waste can account for up to 37% of an organization’s total software spend over a four-year period, according to a study by 1E.
  • Avoidable risk: Failing to purchase or acquire required licenses and subscriptions, resulting in financial penalties and fines.
  • Productivity costs: Wasting valuable time and resources on firefighting when emergency audits arise. This siphons productivity from activities that drive actual business value.

ITAM advantages

The goal of modern ITAM is to reap the maximum benefit from IT assets, with the lowest costs, while reducing financial and compliance risks. According to Gartner, companies that successfully implement ITAM can achieve up to 30% cost savings in the first year.

ITAM seeks to collect and organize information on IT assets from every corner of the company. This includes data on contracts for licenses, subscriptions, and services, as well as who’s using them, for what, and for how long. It also tracks associated financials, including acquisition costs, licensing, upgrades, and maintenance information.

Ebook: Operate high-performing services with visibility, security, and AIOps

This data is stored in a central repository, the logistics of which aren’t always practical given the size of organizations’ technology stacks today. That’s why third-party ITAM software and applications can be beneficial for many companies. These tools automatically detect hardware, software, and network assets, while gathering and storing data so businesses can make smart decisions and optimize their ROI.

ITAM promises business value across the full IT asset lifecycle, from procurement and deployment to integration, maintenance, and retirement. The goal is to save organizations money while reducing risk and keeping IT productive.