What are the most common mistakes companies make?
Vanderveldt said: "One mistake is lack of ownership, in other words, someone dedicated to starting it up. And lack of program maintenance because if you don't maintain it, things start to slip in. That includes policies and procedures where, for instance, people aren't keeping new employees in-tune with computer guidelines, or checking in and out hardware. All that gets taken care of under an asset management program."
Stahl said, "Often, they only will include their laptops and PCs. They won't include their LAN gear, but they should. The biggest mistake is to only consider what's obvious and that are immediate pain points."
"Each one of those domains -- PCs, printers, equipment on LAN -- have very different refresh cycles. On LAN equipment, we've seen gear running for nine years, that's probably too long. Typically IT isn't looking at that stuff in a lot of shops within asset management yet those are a big driver of their SLAs and service delivery; they're focused so much on their PCs and printers because that's where they get their helpdesk calls."
"Secondly, when they get a program in place and work with procurement or purchasing, IT will over-specify what they want from a technical requirements list and that ties procurement's hands from getting the best product. There has to be an idea of 'just good enough' for the business value. At the end of the day, procurement is trying to buy off the standard catalogue."
"And, lastly, don't get hung up on hard refresh dates. We've seen refresh dates change on different domains over the years. It was every three years for desktops for the longest time and some of that was just tied to the fact that it was being leased, and now we're seeing that the average has increased to five to six years. That tells you a lot about extending the investment and getting the most out of that spend. So whether it's market forces or Web 2.0, all those things have to be considered."
When establishing a process, tackle hardware or software first?
Stahl said, "I would suggest you want to talk about software first because that's really going to drive your hardware requirements especially on the desktop. Those are the tools that they use to do their jobs and drive business value, not the hardware. Then tackle your hardware, desktops and laptops and begin to move toward your LAN infrastructure and printers."
But Vanderveldt suggests a different approach. "It's a simultaneous process of hardware and software. And in addition to that, it's the policies and procedures to utilizing the systems. Especially if your employees or colleagues are abusing or misusing them, like bringing things into the office they shouldn't be and accidentally corrupting your system. The whole plethora of day-to-day operations also gets covered in an asset program."
Should companies use lifecycle software? What about an Excel spreadsheet?
Experts agreed that although Excel spreadsheets are a ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive tracking tool, it can be messy and hard to manage.