By now you're probably well aware that Microsoft has officially 'said goodbye' to Windows XP - for more about the implications of this, read this article. Like all software and hardware assets across your client base, it's really advantageous (some would say vital) to have a consistently up-to-date view of all of these assets that exist at all of your clients.
What's so important about IT asset management? (And how can it help you?)
I think that it's safe to say that the vast majority of calls that your helpdesk and technical support consultants encounter encompass issues caused by either user errors or IT asset management issues, which could have been avoided entirely if you were able to proactively monitor and manage IT assets.
It follows that, if you're able to proactively manage client environments and consequently preclude many issues from occurring in the first place (and causing downtime and user frustration), then the result will be that (a) you will reduce your operating costs and increase profitability and (b) you'll have satisfied clients.
So how can cloud-based IT asset management facilities enable this?
It's really simple. IT asset management software encompasses the following functionality:
Always up-to-date view of all hardware and software assets at all clients. This means that you're constantly able to report on hardware and software that is possibly obsolete and is at imminent risk of causing customer downtime and consequent support incidents.
The ability to design custom 'scripts' that monitor network status and automatically alert you to imminent issues, for example hard drives that are about to reach capacity, server processors that are consistently overheating, operating system patches that have not been deployed to all client devices or software applications that are due to be updated. If you know that these issues are imminent, it's simple to resolve them before the client - or your support team - is inconvenienced in any way. This means no more 'fire-fighting' when it's not necessary.
Complete remote IT asset management capability means that, when a real client issue that needs urgent attention arises, your support team is able to instantly access the client device (in the vast majority of cases) and immediately resolve the issue. Once again, this saves costs and time and prevents prolonged frustration.
OK, so why should your clients be keen on agreeing to an IT asset management project?
Your clients should be interested in creating a business environment that performs consistently as designed and thus enables them to conduct 'business as usual'. Whilst people are unpredictable and sometimes hard to manage pro-actively (it's impossible to predict when someone will be sick, be in a bad mood or have an accident), with the correct IT asset management tools, it's really simple to maintain a stable, 'always available' computer network.
If you're able to report to your clients, advising them of hardware and software applications that are obsolete and should be replaced, this information enables the client to budget correctly and provide for the required upgrades before issues that cause downtime and lack of ability to transact occur.
An IT asset management solution enables you to advise your clients about potential incompatibility problems. For example, a new 64 BIT upgrade to their accounting software that may not work at all on the bookkeeper's 32 BIT Windows XP device.
When errors or work stoppages occur, clients are able to get instant support from you.
Why cloud-based IT asset management?
Cloud IT asset management tools are easy to deploy (remotely).
Cloud IT asset management tools require no on-premise hardware or software (firewall etc.) to be installed, configured and managed.
Cloud IT asset management tools are easily managed with a cloud-based management console. You can even manage a client network from your tablet or smartphone.
Cloud IT asset management tools enable you to support client devices even if they're not on the client domain; for example the MD's laptop whilst he's on a business trip in Spain.
Cloud IT asset management tools are billed on a monthly model with no long-term contracts.
Finally, there are two more bonuses that you'll experience if you've instituted a cloud IT asset management solution across your clients. Firstly, happy clients will tell others and you'll gain new clients, which you'll easily be able to support with your existing team as a result of being more efficient. Secondly, you're likely to sell more new computers and allied software application upgrades as a result of the reports that the IT asset management solution facilitates. Read more about this topic here.