5 features to look for in IT asset management tools

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, businesses have no choice but to take on an increasing number of IT assets—which makes effective IT asset management more complex. Selecting specific software to manage your IT assets, or IT help desk software with asset management capabilities, is a real challenge for managed services providers (MSPs) and other businesses because there are so many options currently on the market.

Not only are there more options than ever before when it comes to IT asset management—the number of options on the market is only increasing with every passing year. While this means that MSPs have a wealth of options, it can also be overwhelming. To help you make an informed decision, this guide will explain what IT asset management actually is, why it’s useful to MSPs, and which features you should prioritize when choosing a solution for your company.

What is IT asset management software?

To provide a high-level definition, IT asset management software is purpose-built to record and monitor IT assets throughout their life cycles—from their procurement to their disposal. These solutions can track hardware or software, and you can think of them as a form of inventory tracking.

By gathering detailed information about what assets exist and how they’re used, companies can make informed decisions when it comes to everything from new purchases to running projects more successfully. For example, an accurate IT asset inventory makes it more likely that teams will use existing assets effectively before making unnecessary and duplicative asset purchases simply due to a lack of visibility. In this way, asset management can also help reduce costs.

Asset management tools can provide businesses with valuable insight and visibility into the following:

  • Where assets are located
  • How assets are being used
  • What important details exist on assets
  • Who is using which assets and when

How can MSPs benefit from IT asset management software?

As mentioned, you can use asset management software to track and manage both hardware and software assets. In addition to keeping an inventory of assets, asset management tools and IT help desk software with asset management features can provide a range of other functions. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Measuring the performance of vendors
  • Optimizing supplier portfolios
  • Auditing vendors and ensuring compliance with policy
  • Optimizing licensing costs
  • Streamlining procurement operations

With the right IT asset management tool, MSPs can benefit from the following:

  • Maximized asset value and utilization
  • More informed decision-making because of cost transparency
  • More proactive software license compliance
  • Better tracking of supplier and vendor performance with transparent metrics
  • Optimized asset allocation to increase ROI

All of these benefits are especially important to MSPs, as they are often tasked with managing IT assets on behalf of their customers. Using the right tools to effectively carry out this responsibility makes your technicians’ lives easier, keeps your customers satisfied, and directly contributes to your bottom line.

Features to look for in an IT asset management solution

Of course, now that we’ve highlighted the benefits that MSPs stand to gain, your MSP needs to make a choice regarding which asset management solution to deploy. To guide your MSP in its decision, here are some of the most important and useful features to look for when choosing an asset management solution or help desk software with asset management capabilities.

1. Integration

The ability to integrate your asset management software with other tools—like server and workstation monitoring software, PSA tools, and remote access and control solutions—is perhaps one of the most useful features an asset management tool can provide. Tools with integration support allow you to centralize your IT monitoring and management activities, eliminating the need to jump between multiple platforms and compare data from disparate sources. Integrated asset management tools, or IT help desk software with asset management utilities, enable you to create a unified ecosystem of tools. Working out of one centralized dashboard can improve efficiency and productivity—which ultimately get passed down to your customers.

2. A native mobile app

A solution that comes with a native mobile application allows you to conduct manage IT asset from your mobile device and gives your team increased flexibility. This flexibility enables them to track IT assets and look up asset details even when they’re on the go and away from their computer, like when they are visiting clients on-site. Ideally, the mobile application should support both iOS and Android operating systems to maximize device compatibility.

3. Integrated patch management

Although we’ve already mentioned integrations, integrated patch management deserves its own mention. Asset management involves tracking all assets to help ensure peak performance throughout the asset life cycle, and patch management plays a crucial role in keeping assets secure and healthy during their lifespan.

Patch management features allow you to control and approve updates for devices, as well as potentially establish automatic approvals for key update types. Partnering these features with IT asset management capabilities is not only useful and efficient, but also more effective.

4. A reliable alert system

To help ensure nothing slips through your notice, the asset management solution you choose should be able to keep you notified of all relevant activities that occur within your infrastructure, such as software license expiry. We recommend choosing a tool with an alerts system that can send notifications in the format you prefer. For example, if you prefer to receive push notifications to your mobile phone, make sure the tool you choose supports this. Being able to set up custom notification settings and thresholds for alerts is also useful in tailoring your system to your needs.

5. Customer and knowledge management

Finally, your chosen tool should also include a range of customer and knowledge management features, like the ability to store contact information and customer locations. Access to comprehensive customer information and asset details helps make sure technicians have access to everything they need to do their jobs efficiently. Access to service histories is also useful, because it can enable your technicians to effectively anticipate client needs.

Managing IT assets with N-able

N-able N-central® is an all-in-one remote monitoring and management  solution that offers IT asset management software, server and workstation monitoring software, PSA software, password and documentation management software, and more in one tool.

N-central is an extremely versatile and scalable solution that creates a comprehensive dashboard for your MSP, delivering complete oversight and helping you organize your customers’ IT environments. With this solution, you can leverage automation to improve technician efficiency and reduce costs by centralizing all your IT monitoring and management activities. N-central provides comprehensive monitoring, enterprise-grade endpoint detection and response, cloud-first backup functionality, patch management, PSA integration, a dependable alert system, and remote access.

With support for integration with a range of leading solutions, including MSP Manager, Autotask, and ConnectWise, N-central establishes a unified solution that gives MSPs access to all the IT asset management features they could possibly need. By providing users access to all the features listed in this guide, N-able N-central helps MSPs simplify IT asset management activities and better serve their customers. To learn more, a 30-day free trial is available.