With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), many industries are finding innovative uses for making things smart. And with problems like food-borne illnesses and questionable husbandry practices, it’s no wonder this technology is moving into our food. But seeing this logistics breakthrough reminds me of something done at Sage every day: tracking assets. And then I remembered that not every business tracks its IT assets… to their own detriment.
The many benefits of tracking assets
Tracking devices allows real-time updates on where your devices are and, possibly, what they’re being used for. Not only is this a good security measure, but it helps quantify the resources your business has.
Too often corporations only track by use. This means that if a device is unplugged or off-site, the tracking method won’t recognize it. Not only is this a problem for accurate data, but that means there is nothing to track non-computing components like peripherals, cords, and monitors.
Good business sense tells us that assets should be retrievable. All the more when it is something that still carries value. As Sage has preached since day one, your gadgets have more to give. And when you don’t know where they are, that is money being left on the table.
Tracking goes high-tech
Allowing an ITAM program to have this kind of perception means your IT department is able to run on all cylinders. It can also help you track the usage for the optimal time to refurbish and resell your lesser-used devices. But you have to find the technology that’s right for your assets.
When Sage was first starting, the idea was to use RFID tags for tracking. However, when this was put into testing, it became clear the tags’ signal was disrupted by the metal cases of many of the assets. According to Sage’s CEO, “Sage had to scrap the RFID idea altogether.”
In its place, Sage uses a serial-number coding system. This system works well for all the assets we track for clients from server mainframes to laptop bags. And by having a tag on every piece that passes through our doors, we allow our clients to see in real-time where every asset they’ve retired lives.
The devices we track can easily be retrieved, allowing the owner to recall its data for legal use (if it's still in quarantine), pull it back into active use, or--after we've wiped 100% of its data--to push it through to one of our “afterlife” opportunities like the Employee Purchase Program or GoodTogether. Our tracking even insulates your company from security concerns that are common with ill-managed devices.
Digital tracking creates Big Data
Since the best way to keep tabs on things is through software, all this information is able to be infinitely stored. This means that, over time, your tracking can provide insight into how your company functions. And that real-time, Big-Data profile might shed light on other opportunities not immediately obvious.
For instance, if you see assets being exchanged every few years, you might have a case to extend the life of those assets within your company (computers don’t need to be upgraded nearly as often as many businesses choose to). This information alone can save you thousands of dollars over just a few years in avoidable upgrades.
Or, the data from your tracking could pinpoint a particular office that is going through more peripherals than they should. This could help curb costs that would otherwise go unnoticed. And let's not forget about simply tracking all those mobile devices that employees might hang on to after they've received an upgraded device.
Finally, this Big-Data tracking can make integrating to an IoT solution simpler when the time comes. If there is one thing certain about technology it’s that you don’t have to wait long for an answer. Within the next few years, IoT tracking technology will move from lettuce trays and cow tags to laptops, printers, and power cords. In the meantime, however, maybe you should work with Sage to get a handle on your IT asset landscape.