Incorporating Laptops into ITAM Practices – Info-Tech Research Group and Absolute Software Examine How ITAM Chalks Up

By David Legg

The increase in mobile computing in the workplace is not a new revelation. Chances are notebooks make up about half of your current computer fleet. Another safe bet – this number is growing, as mobile computers inch their way to a dominant spot in the professional PC market. Yet as we watch this figure climb, one can’t help but wonder: how are ITAM systems keeping up? Where have they managed to adapt to this mobile environment, and where are they falling flat?

In its 2010 study Incorporating Laptops into IT Asset Management Practices, Info-Tech Research Group set out to explore the gaps and bridges between mobile IT assets and the systems used to manage them. Over 150 IT professionals from mid to large organizations were asked about the systems they used to manage mobility, what kind of management challenges they were facing, and how satisfied they were with their ITAM system’s ability to address these concerns.

Themes emerged that will perhaps not surprise IT managers tackling the woes of mobile computer management. The majority of organizations have limited (if any) means to track devices off the network, and, as a result, lack visibility into nearly one third of their assets. A symptom of this, many reported limited inventorying accuracy and difficulties with lease, license and regulatory compliance.

As it would seem, mobile computer tracking is at the root of many IT headaches. When asked what prevented them from achieving 100% accurate auditing, over 83% pointed the finger at an inability to track devices off of the network. More than half said this same inability created regulatory and license compliance challenges. Just under half noted that it also negatively impacted things like patch and software updates and computer drift. Add the fact that respondents say the inventorying agent they installed on computers is deleted nearly 30% of the time – and it’s no wonder you may see your IT guy with a scowl.

Also of interest was the disparity shown between what respondents identified as important to successful ITAM versus their satisfaction in their system’s ability to perform such tasks. For instance, while over three quarters said they needed to track devices off the network, only 34% reported top-box satisfaction with their off-network tracking capabilities. Similarly, while 85% said conducting accurate inventories was key to asset management, only 43% were satisfied with their ability to do so. Also of interest was the disparity shown between what respondents identified as important to successful ITAM versus their satisfaction in their system’s ability to perform such tasks. For instance, while over three quarters said they needed to track devices off the network, only 34% reported top-box satisfaction with their off-network tracking capabilities. Similarly, while 85% said conducting accurate inventories was key to asset management, only 43% were satisfied with their ability to do so.

With this in mind, Info-Tech experts conclude with a discussion of what capabilities are necessary to bridge the gap between mobile computers and satisfactory IT asset management. Internet-based asset tracking, persistent inventorying agents and software-as-a-service solutions topped the Research Group’s list of recommendations.

The report also features two case studies that show how companies have leveraged specific ITAM technologies to overcome mobile management challenges – proof that effective management of mobile computers really is possible!

To read the full Info-Tech Research Group report, visit

http://www.absolute.com/resource_center/whitepapers/wheres-your-laptops

About the Author

David Legg is the Marketing Research Manger for Absolute Software Corporation.