Using RFID Tags to Improve IT Asset Management

Keeping track of high value or difficult to locate assets represents a huge challenge to a variety of industries and Information Technology is not immune.  Locating servers, laptops, blades, storage, etc. can be time consuming and costly.  Our guest blogger, Jackie Luo, CEO of Intelleflex partner E-ISG Asset Intelligence provides perspectives on how RFID can help.  Take it away Jackie….

Managing Your IT Assets Can Be Made Simpler with RFID

Managing Your IT Assets Can Be Made Simpler with RFID

 

RFID-enabling data centers are on the way to becoming a $1 billion business. A new survey released by Frost & Sullivan says that the RFID data center market was worth $96.3 million last year, and will grow to $953 million in 2017. The declining cost and increasing performance of RFID tags are coming at the time when IT hardware asset tracking is facing significant challenges from all fronts. That’s why this represents a perfect opportunity for the RFID technology to expand its scale.

There are several forces that challenge the task of accurately tracking IT hardware assets in an enterprise:

  • The shortened lifecycle of computing devices due to more frequent upgrades. The shortened lifecycle applies to not only the individual computing devices such as laptops and mobile phones, but also servers and other hardware equipment in data centers.
  • The security risks posed by unrecognized devices accessing the network. These could be devices brought by individual departments that haven’t made it into the asset registry. They could be devices that have been brought to work by employees (Bring Your Own Devices).
  • The regulatory requirements for IT departments to maintain accurate count of machines that have access to corporate data such as Sarbanes Oxley. There are more requirements for specific industries like financial services, government and government contractors, and healthcare.

To overcome the challenge of maintaining an accurate count of IT hardware inventory, IT departments need to find a cost effective way to conduct more frequent inventory audits. For the IT department, inventory audits have always been a big hassle, if not a disruptive task. They need to send out emails asking people to report their devices. They need to send out people to secured data rooms to monitor the manual inventory audit, which usually takes weeks to complete because IT departments are always short staffed. The servers and blades in data rooms are hard to tag because of their shapes. The serial numbers are hardly visible.

RFID tags and readers can now solve this problem cost effectively. There are passive RFID tags, such as Battery Assisted Passive tags (BAP), which cost less than active tags but have longer reading range. Their performance is more reliable around metal objects like racks and servers. With these battery assisted passive RFID tags, one can use an RFID reader to finish inventorying a data room in a couple of hours instead of a few weeks. More importantly, the process is not disruptive to a normal work day, so IT departments can perform an audit more frequently. IT departments can also tag the individual devices with these types of RFID tags. Similarly, they can also try to perform spot inventory auditing more frequently. They may not capture all the individual devices, but they will add more interim location data of these devices to the asset history.

There is still a lot of myth associated with RFID. Fortunately, most of the assumptions about the cost and performance of RFID tags are inaccurate. For IT departments, it’s time to evaluate RFID-based solutions and consider taking advantages of the technology. For more information, you can download a recently published white paper Why has the development in RFID technology made asset management more urgent?

Jackie Luo – CEO
E-ISG Asset Intelligence

Jackie Luo, CEO, E-ISG Asset Intelligence

Jackie Luo, CEO, E-ISG Asset Intelligence

 

 

 

 

E-ISG Asset Intelligence provides IT asset management solutions that track the lifecycle information of IT hardware and software. Their solutions have integrated the Intelleflex Cloud based ZEST® Data Services, and can therefore connect to RFID readers out of box. You can reach Jackie at jackie.luo@e-isg.com

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Asset Management vs. Asset Tracking…the View from E-ISG

Today I welcome guest blogger Jackie Luo, Chief Executive Officer of E-ISG Asset Intelligence, an Intelleflex partner that provides an enterprise asset management software solution for mid-sized enterprises and government agencies.  Jackie has a range of experiences in the mobile and enterprise software industries and believes that the power of mobility and cloud-based application will bring much more efficient asset management solution to enterprises. I trust you’ll find her perspectives insightful and you can email her by clicking here.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing, Intelleflex

Luo_Profile

Jackie Luo

CEO of E-ISG Asset Intelligence

I often hear people mix these two terms “asset tracking” and “asset management”.  It’s easy to mix them because they are both associated with assets, and require some form of barcodes, tracking devices and some kind of software to collect and display data. But they are different, in scope, goals, and business processes.

  • Scope: Asset tracking typically covers a subset of assets, while asset management should cover enterprise wide physical and IT assets, including buildings, equipment, IT hardware and software, consumables and capitalized assets. For example, you need to track all your vehicles, so you put GPS devices in your vehicle to track their location, driving history, etc. You need to track a particular batch of shipment in order to know the condition during shipment, so you put some sensor devices on these shipments to monitor the temperature, humidity, etc.   Enterprise asset management is much broader in scope. It seeks visibility to the physical and fiscal information of all your assets, e.g. where they are, who have them, purchase cost, replacement value, maintenance schedule,  so you can make the best decision on how to use your assets. In the context of enterprise wide assets, items for asset tracking, like vehicles or some high value and mobile equipment are items in sub categories in the entire enterprise asset registry.
  • Business processes: Enterprise asset management is a key process in a business operation. It touches cross functional departments like procurement, facilities management, IT services, and financial reporting. The business process for asset tracking is most likely simpler, and touches fewer cross functional points.  Consequently, the effectiveness in managing enterprise assets has C-level visibility, while the responsibility for asset tracking most likely resides in individual departments.
  • Goals: The goals for asset management include 1) reduce the spend on equipment purchases, 2) optimize the life-cycle costs of equipment 3) institute accountability of assets, and 4) reduce the risks in asset management (e.g. theft, improper disposal of assets, failure in compliance). The goals for asset tracking are often specific to the category of assets, for example, on time shipment, utilization rates of a piece of equipment.

Although asset tracking and asset management are different, there is no reason why the tools to support these business processes should be separate. Since enterprise asset management addresses the entire portfolio of assets, a company’s enterprise asset management solutions should also be able to address specific asset tracking needs.  What does it means for the end users? They don’t have to switch applications. They don’t need to enter data twice. They don’t have to import and export data between applications. These should be the basic requirements in an asset management solution. Moreover, with the increasing use of RFID tags in asset tracking, an asset management software solution should have built in support to RFID tag reading workflow. This will eliminate expensive RFID middleware or customization.  You can learn more about E-ISG’s solution here.

Should Be An Interesting Webinar on Equipment Management

Certainly the main speaker’s book title is interesting and provocative enough!  Intelleflex partner E-ISG is hosting a webinar featuring Al Hardy, the author of “Covering Your Asset by Exposing the Butt-Ugly Truth” at 12 p.m EST on Wednesday, November 14.  (You can register for the webinar by clicking here.)  E-ISG offers a variety of innovative solutions for tracking and managing equipment and other assets.

Author and industry expert Al Hardy will be featured on the E-ISG webinar

On this webinar, Mr. Hardy will discuss:

What are the key mistakes in each stage of the asset management life cycle?

  • Lease vs. buy
  • Compliance and data capture for maintaining asset
  • Why asset utilization information is important
  • Value assessment when disposing assets

Why do organizations make these mistakes?

  • Why do companies fail to maintain physical and fiscal visibility to their assets?
  • Do companies have the information to maintain their equipment?
  • Do companies track how equipment is utilized
  • Do companies know the cost of disposal?

How to define the requirements for a solution?

  • How to get buy-ins?
  • How to write RFPs?

Given the continued focus on business process improvement and the ability to properly and effectively manage equipment and assets to maximize utilization and reduce loss, this webinar should provide a great opportunity to get valuable insights from an industry expert with 22 years of experience in asset management and maintenance for the healthcare industry.

I hope you’re able to join the webinar.
Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing