Hardware Asset Management is essential to a solid IT Asset Management program

A retired steel company executive once said he and his co-workers used to joke that someone would find a way to shrink the organization’s mainframe, bring it into their offices, and set it on their desks.

“It’s not funny anymore,” the man said, as he demonstrated his handheld computer that looked like a calculator. To show that it wasn’t, he offered a suggestion: “Type ver.”

Gone are the days when information technology hardware assets were regulated to their own utility room. Today, they are on everyone’s desks, and in their briefcases, their purses, their pockets, and sometimes their wrists.

When compliance issues and software audits overpower the obvious, it’s easy to forget that those pesky programs require hardware to run. But there are big opportunities available to IT Asset Managers when they practice good Hardware Asset Management (HAM). From procurement to disposition, HAM best practices ensure an IT Asset Management (ITAM) program will be successful.

Here are some of the ways good HAM practices can make an ITAM program stand out.


Without HAM, Software Asset Management (SAM) would not do well. Every part of SAM should take into consideration HAM, and vice versa. Software can affect the hardware environment, just as hardware can affect what software to use. New software purchases often mean taking hardware assets into consideration: Will those programs work effectively with the current hardware? Meanwhile, some legacy software will work only on certain hardware specifications. Taking HAM into consideration with SAM procedures will save money, reduce stress, and lead to good overall ITAM.

Trim the Fat

While SAM certainly helps an organization’s bottom line, there are plenty of ways that HAM can make an IT Asset Manager look like a cost-cutting machine. Not only will the SAM/HAM relationship effectively save on hard and soft costs, HAM by itself also can turn budget lines from red to black. Best practices in HAM during a physical asset’s lifecycle can:

  • Save on maintenance costs
  • Reduce software expenses
  • Decrease the price of disposition (or even produce revenue here)

Best practice HAM gives IT Asset Managers another topic of discussion when selling the benefits of ITAM to an executive. When a practitioner can demonstrate a savings to an organization’s bottom line, he or she will be speaking a language that any executive can understand.

Enjoy the ROI

Face it. It’s hard for an IT Asset Manager to demonstrate a Return on Investment (ROI) for any IT asset. Most of the time, practitioners are better off running a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis to show savings rather than trying to demonstrate a benefit through an ROI. But if an organization wants to see how its investment is going to earn it money, then HAM is the place to do it.

When HAM is using best practices, the amount of money spent on hardware assets over time will drop. Hardware upgrades will have a more established lifecycle with fewer interruptions, and it will work in its environment more effectively. This will drop the asset’s TCO, which, in turn, will help increase its value when running an ROI analysis.

Preserving HAM

IT Asset Managers are valuable when they consider all parts of an organization’s ITAM program. Simply implementing a strong SAM initiative is not enough. By taking HAM seriously, practitioners can show how ITAM best practices reduce the bottom line and lead to a healthier organizational environment.



[1] The Importance of Effective HAM (Hardware Asset Management). (2015, February 19). Retrieved from https://www.itassetmanagement.net/2015/02/19/importance-effective-ham-hardware-asset-management/
[2] Harpham, B. (2016, June 01). Best practices in hardware asset management. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/3077893/best-practices-in-hardware-asset-management.html