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The Definitive IT Asset Management (ITAM) Guide

Table of Contents

What is ITAM?

IT Asset Management (ITAM)

The MSP industry is as varied as it is vast. But despite their differences, they all have a common core: IT Asset Management (ITAM).

ITAM is the process of managing your clients' IT assets throughout their usable lifespan to optimize the value they provide. From initial purchase to disposal, ITAM covers the process of lifecycle management. ITAM helps you manage workstations, servers, software, network equipment, and more.

Even if you aren’t thinking about it, you are doing some form of asset management. That’s why it’s vital for MSPs to be proactive and strategic in the way they tackle ITAM.

Following a client’s assets from procurement to disposal has been a proven method to successful service from MSPs. By becoming a part of the client’s process, MSPs go beyond being contracted service providers and become natural partners to their client’s businesses.

The benefits to both clients and MSPs are wide reaching. Every stage of the IT asset lifecycle opens up several opportunities to provide value.

Why is ITAM valuable to MSPs?

By creating an ITAM strategy, MSPs have seen benefits to their client relationships. Benefits in meetings, internal processes, and even revenue improvements.

Understanding your clients' IT asset management will go a long way. Clients will view your MSP as a critical partner in their business, rather than a contracted service provider. Improved relationships make your MSP more likely to ensure contract renewals in the future. They are securing existing revenue streams and providing opportunities to generate more revenue.

Supporting clients’ business goals

When an MSP and their client are in sync with the client’s business goals, steps can be taken to prepare them for changes in their company proactively. If a client is planning for growth, the MSP knows they need to plan for more asset acquisitions in the future and can work with the client to budget. When a client is buying new hardware, MSPs will be able to plan for the disposal, repurposing, or recycling of the older assets.

Improved internal workflow

Implementing a comprehensive ITAM process for clients is beneficial for the MSPs as well as clients. When your team has a standardized and documented IT asset management plan, the next step in any situation is always evident. Your team can spend less time figuring out how to react to the maintenance of clients' assets, instead using that time to plan ahead and make any changes to a client's infrastructure as smooth and simple as possible. Those staff hours will instead make progress on work that actually generates value.

Budget and timeline planning

ITAM allows your MSP to be proactive, taking action on assets and preparing for the future. When your MSP knows what assets will soon reach their end-of-life in the next 12 months, you can craft a plan to phase out the old assets and acquire new ones. MSPs can work with clients' budgets to create a roadmap that phases in new assets without last-minute expenses that clients aren’t prepared for.

The ITAM Lifecycle

The IT asset management lifecycle can be divided into five categories that represent the various stages an asset will go through at an MSP.
Each segment of the lifecycle outlines what kind of actions are necessary to take an asset from one stage to the next. Eventually, the process loops back to the beginning as you start a new cycle.

Why should my MSP care about asset lifecycle management?

Your client entrusts the management of their IT infrastructure to you, so your MSP and make it better than the client ever could alone. Find out more about why MSPs should care about how ITAM affects their business.
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1. Planning

All assets start from a business plan. By understanding and identifying their clients’ goals and limitations, MSPs can create a strategic IT plan. What are their plans for the next year? How about the next five years? MSPs can research the best ways to achieve their goals while working within realistic budgets and timeframes.
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2. Acquisition

Once you have the plan in place, it’s time to take action. Find the right vendors and suppliers. Compare the total cost of ownership for the best value. Make delivery arrangements. The acquisition phase also relies upon accurate record-keeping to make sure inventory is monitored. Assets should be tracked and recorded to avoid confusion and provide reliable documentation.
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3. Deployment

Once you have the assets, installation and setup for the client is next. The deployment stage is all about configuring the hardware or software to your needs. MSPs need to test, train users, and update the inventory to reflect the new addition. This is where IT asset management software can make a big difference in how your staff tracks the assets in the rest of the lifecycle.
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4. Maintenance

The longest part of the lifecycle, maintenance encompasses the months and years in which an asset is actively being used by the client. Keeping your assets functional, addressing service tickets, and renewing warranties to extend the asset lifespan all fall into this phase of the cycle. But it is important to make sure the asset is still providing value, if not, you need to move to the final phase of the lifecycle.
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5. Disposal

End-of-life assets are out of date, broken, or are no longer providing value in the area the client needs. MSPs need to focus on removing data from the asset, removing the asset from the client’s offices, and selling, recycling, or destroying the asset. Accurate record keeping in this phase is vital, especially when compliance for data removal standards is required.
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Every MSP begins the asset lifecycle in the planning phase.

This sets the fundamental guidelines for the entire asset lifecycle, working with your client to develop a long term strategy. The best way to address their needs is to act as a partner in their success, not just a contracted service provider.

To create an asset management plan, MSPs assess the client, where they want to go, the limitations or roadblocks they face, and their budget. Then they craft a plan that will serve their needs without breaking the bank.

Learn how ITAM planning benefited Curatrix Technologies

Curatrix Technologies uses Lifecycle Manager to create a proactive IT asset management plan to completely evolve their clients’ operations.
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Create an asset management plan

With a full report on the client, you can understand how they view their goals and what kinds of changes they expect in the coming months or years. Do they have plans for growth in scope or staffing? Are they planning on ditching hardware or software for cloud-based services? Are they expanding into a new industry or area of business?

With these questions in mind, MSPs and clients can address their needs. Create a plan for how IT infrastructure needs to change in order to achieve those goals as efficiently as possible.

Plan for the future

By diving into the client’s budget for IT assets, MSPs can develop a comprehensive roadmap for future asset management. A roadmap will help in planning for acquisition of new assets or renewing warranties for a few more years.

Spacing each of these expenses out over several quarters as a rolling initiative has been an effective way to plan for spending. Creating a budget roadmap lets your clients in on the plan. It can prevent the need for surprise purchases when a server goes down or network hardware fails.

Assess your client

Building an accurate picture of the client’s infrastructure is the first step. MSPs will have a comprehensive understanding of their clients’ infrastructure. Identifying which assets are providing value, and which are slowing them down.

IT asset management software can be helpful in breaking down data. Helping clients understand where their strengths and vulnerabilities are.

MSPs are looking for assets that no longer receive manufacturer support. patches or out-of-date warranties, clear signs of unreliable equipment and possible security holes. It’s also important to look ahead and which assets are next to reach that point. Which laptops are close to their warranty expiry? Which are running old operating systems?

Once you have a solid foundation of the state of their IT environment, you can get to work.


When it’s time to start making purchases MSPs often have plans in place to make an easy decision, but there are still important steps to consider. Some MSPs have trusted partners they always work with to keep their clients on a standardized set of assets. Other MSPs often have to work with what the clients already have, which can be much more varied.

Taking some simple steps can alleviate many of the questions that come up in the acquisition phase.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The total cost of ownership is the amount of money the asset will end up costing the client over the course of its entire lifespan. Determining the total cost of ownership of the assets helps MSPs make decisions on the long-term value a particular asset will bring. The total cost of ownership includes maintenance, repairs, and disposal costs. Understanding TCO helps MSPs know how to fit it into the long-term plans made in the previous phase of the lifecycle.

Preferred assets and vendors

Successful MSPs often have preferred vendors for their asset acquisitions. With consistent hardware from vendors, ongoing service and maintenance is streamlined. Often, 

MSPs will partner with a particular hardware vendor to receive discounts. This increases the value of long term asset acquisition further. MSPs will sometimes offer options to their clients, like desktop and laptop computers at different price points. This gives clients flexibility in the type of hardware they want and how much of their budget they want to spend on these workstations.

Receiving, tracking, and storing assets

The recording of inventory once acquired is an extremely important part of the process. Of course, the ITAM process becomes much easier once you have an accurate and traceable inventory for each client. Keeping accurate records of inventory is vital to proper financial reporting. MSPs need to determine the total value of assets and compliance with any industry standards that may apply to the client. In the event of theft, security breach, or incomplete erasure of sensitive data, it is important for MSPs to support an audit of the clients’ inventory for insurance purposes.


With the assets in hand, MSPs now have to deploy them in the client’s infrastructure. Whether it’s in a central location, multiple offices, or a work-from-home organization, MSPs need to adjust to client. The introduction of new hardware and software has to be flexible to the clients needs.

This part of the process can be simple with a solid plan. It all comes down to getting the assets in place, configuration, testing, and training.


Whether it’s a new server, network hardware, a laptop, or even a phone, MSPs need to install the hardware. They also should record their progress to make sure every step has been completed and nothing left behind. Often the new assets have to be integrated with the existing infrastructure so that hardware or software function in the system. This can include new updates, patches, or proprietary software from the MSP for the client’s business.

Configuration and testing

Compliance and objectives for the new assets will determine the configuration needed. Setting up new assets for clients involves creating user accounts, adjusting network and security settings, firewall and antivirus software, and more. New devices are often connected to cloud-based services, file servers, or databases to function in their role.

Run diagnostics tests, performance tests, and other tests to make sure everything is functioning as intended. Confirming that various pieces of hardware and software are connecting with each other.

Support and training

Making sure the clients’ staff are trained in how to use the assets, whether hardware or software, is important as well. Specifically, training around security measures is vital to minimizing user vulnerabilities. Measures like two factor authentication and identifying phishing scams are important for users to implement in their workflow. Regulatory compliance is required if the client works in an industry that is under specific legal regulations like HIPPA.

When it comes to more niche aspects of IT infrastructure, the staff interacting with servers, backups, and network hardware, are usually more specialized and have a greater degree of technical knowledge. Much of the staff training will surround general user assets like new workstation laptops and the software they need to do their jobs.

How do MSPs track their clients’ assets once deployed?

With new assets deployed, the task of asset tracking can be very difficult, as manual tracking with spreadsheets can take hours of staff time. That’s why MSPs across the industry are automating their asset tracking to save time and grow their business. See how the industry is using automation to take IT asset management further than ever before.


The maintenance phase is the longest part of the asset lifecycle.

This is where your clients are actually using their assets as their MSP provides support over months and years. Maintenance includes keeping software up-to-date to for security and compatibility. Repair damage as soon as possible, monitor the value of the asset, and track asset inventory.

See how MSPs can drive new revenue with warranties

JK Technology Solutions uses warranties and warranty renewals to both protect clients’ assets, drive revenue and save clients money. They used Lifecycle Manager to skip the wait times of a Dell laptop and server warranty check to save time and improve their margins. Learn how they do it, and how they use ITAM and service standards to build a high quality MSP.
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Proactive monitoring

Asset monitoring tools proactively tracking every asset a client has is the key to staying in control of the maintenance phase. Without comprehensive tracking, it can be easy to fall behind on support. Falling behind can force an MSP to react to new problems rather than working to prevent those problems from occurring at all.

Factors like age, warranty coverage, server health, and security can show MSPs any problems before they become real threats. Keeping up to date with the latest patches and firmware ensures assets are safe from security threats.

Continued maintenance and warranty support will keep your assets relevant for years.


Warranties play a huge role in the continued maintenance and lifespan of an asset. While assets will age and lose support, extended warranties provide value to the client without paying for new equipment.

When the original warranty is close to its expiry date, MSPs work with clients to determine if they want to renew the warranty, replace the hardware, or dispose of it.

Extending the warranty is often the best choice as it is a low cost option to continue using the asset for years with assurance of support. It can be devastating for a client to lose a piece of hardware that is not covered by warranty, as replacement or repair are more expensive and take time.


When your assets reach the end of their lifespan, it’s up to the MSP to have developed a standardized procedure to take care of the disposal of those assets. IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) can come in many forms, from disposing of hard drives to repurposing and recycling of workstations.

With e-waste’s massive impact on the environment, MSPs need to take their IT asset disposition process seriously.

Create an IT Asset Disposal strategy

There are many options open to MSPs to dispose of assets. That’s why it’s critical to develop a consistent strategy to handle the process, saving time and money, and making disposal more efficient. See more about how MSPs are planning their asset disposal and data erasure.
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Asset disposal and compliance

A critical part of the IT asset disposition process is the erasure of data from assets. Be aware of your client in industries that handle sensitive data. MSPs need to follow government regulations that set standards for data erasure and asset disposal. Regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require MSPs to ensure that the data is destroyed properly.

MSPs should know the industry regulations that apply to each client. They must have solutions in place to address those compliance issues. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s NIST 800-88 guidelines is a common standard that MSPs follow in data erasure.

Disposing of hardware

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020, 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated in 2019 alone. Part of the role of an MSP in IT asset management is taking the pressure off of the client to find the right disposal vendor. Because the MSP is already handling the assets, the client doesn’t have to worry about hiring a separate vendor. By including asset disposal as part of the IT asset management plan, clients save money and your MSP demonstrates its value to the client.

Building trust helps clients see your MSP as a valued partner in their ongoing operation, making contract renewal more likely.

Keeping records of the disposed assets is also important to compliance as well. When working with sensitive data, having records of the assets data sanitation and disposal methods. In the case of data breach or theft, MSPs can present records showing they disposed of the assets in line with the regulatory requirements.

Transition to planning phase

The final stage of the IT asset management lifecycle loops back around to planning for the next round cycle of assets. The planning phase works in conjunction with disposal. As assets are brought into the IT infrastructure to replace the old assets, new plans for their lifespan are set.

This transition is about identifying assets approaching their end-of-life and planning for replacement. It’s also a good time to ask questions about clients’ future needs and the budget they are working with.

A lifecycle-based approach lets MSPs standardize every part of the process. Clients can stay ahead of their goals and be proactive in IT asset management, rather than reacting late and slowing down the client.

Building an ITAM strategy

With the phases of the IT asset management lifecycle defined, it’s time to examine the best practices in putting together an ITAM strategy.

You can break an effective strategy into five simple steps that will create a strong foundation for each phase of the ITAM lifecycle.

While every client is different, the principles of an ITAM strategy should be applicable to all clients. A good strategy allows MSPs the flexibility to address each clients needs on their own terms.

Define your assets

Understand the scope of your client’s IT assets. How many assets you are tracking, what types of assets, and what services do you focus on or specialize in. Break down the roles and responsibilities of your team and what each staff member’s role is in servicing your MSP’s clients. Assess the clients workflows. Are there gaps or areas for improvement around the way they use their assets? A complete assessment lets MSPs and clients work together to address any outstanding issues and plan for the future.

Establish standardized policies

Set the standard policies and procedures your MSP will follow in asset management. Policies include agreements that all assets are under warranty, or get active patch and firmware support. Other policies, like acquiring new assets and maintenance guidelines, should also be included.

Maintenance and security standards

Maintenance guidelines will outline the processes both MSP and client use to keep service efficient and effective. Communicate how service tickets are addressed and set the policies. Security and compliance standards also should be determined. Depending on the client, some may work in industries that demand compliance to government regulations like financial or medical privacy laws.

Regular client review meetings

Establish a regular review process with clients to keep both parties are on the same page. Review service, asset risks, proposals, and the future management of existing assets. Develop a consistent and simple suite of information to bring to the meeting and send to your client. Creating a consistent way to communicate will go a long way in building trust and reliability.

Review and revise

Be sure to review and revise the ITAM plan as needed. If elements of your policies need to change, MSPs should be able to address these changes and incorporate them into the companywide plan. A solid set of standards will allow the MSP to be proactive throughout the entire asset management lifecycle. They can stay ahead of issues and working to prevent problems, rather than fixing the damage.

What makes ITAM strategy successful?

Clients can be chaotic and their behaviors are not always consistent. That’s why MSPs are devoting more effort to building ITAM strategies. For David Mercer Consulting, ITAM includes the ability to be flexible to client needs while also keeping communication consistent. Read more about what makes ITAM successful.
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Onboarding new clients

It’s one thing to implement a more thorough ITAM strategy for existing clients,

but when onboarding new clients MSPs need to adapt to the new client’s IT infrastructure. The onboarding experience can be easy with a few simple steps that bring them into the IT asset management plan your MSP already delivers.

Client onboarding checklist

Don’t get blindsided by unknown assets. MSPs need to do an audit of the entire IT environment. It is important to make sure that every asset is accurately tracked and integrated into your asset management platform. One of the best ways to do this is by using a standardized client onboarding checklist that lists each aspect as a line item. By keeping track of the process, MSPs can ensure the same measures are being taken across all of your clients and have actionable data quickly.

Identify risks early

With the checklist complete, MSPs can then look through the clients IT infrastructure to identify any risks from the start. Addressing old servers, out of warranty workstations, and network issues will be immediate improvements to your clients' business. This step will quickly show your value as an MSP.

Work with the client to develop a plan to address those critical issues. Business review meetings are an opportunity to identify and plan for longer term projects. Your MSP can begin the preparations as they integrate into the IT asset management process.

Evaluate cybersecurity policies

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing concern for the entire IT industry. MSPs want to make sure their new clients have as many safety measures in place as possible. A successful client onboarding process is one that checks how their new client’s security policies function. If common security measures like two factor authentication aren’t being used, more significant security vulnerabilities might also exist.

A good security policy that is enacted and followed by the client staff makes them eligible for cyber liability insurance in the case of a breach. Insurance won’t prevent security breaches, but it will be an important financial safety net for your new client.

Make the client onboarding process easy

First impressions are everything, and that’s especially true in the MSP industry. When your MSP brings on a new client, you may be setting yourself—and your client—up for failure if you don’t have an onboarding process in place to bring them on properly!
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Strategic budget planning

At its core, an IT asset management plan is a way for MSPs to help clients strategize around the way they spend money on their assets.

Budget planning is one of the primary ways MSPs will evolve from a break-fix workflow to one that centers around proactive management.

From planning to disposal, client budgets are limited, so it’s up to the MSP to make the most of it. Work on ways to address their needs on a timeline that keeps the client up and running, and hopefully, progressing their business.

Creating a budget roadmap

With a limited budget, MSPs need to find a way to make sure the client is getting what they need, without overspending. As part of collaboration with the client, MSPs find success by creating a roadmap and splitting the expenses across months and years. With ITAM strategy, your MSP can plan expenses months in advance and service can be delivered quarter to quarter. Clients won’t be surprised by last-minute expenses because they will have approved a long term plan to support your MSP’s service.

Standards informed budget

Budget plans include adhering to your MSPs service standards, such as requiring every asset to be covered by warranty. This gives MSPs the opportunity to generate revenue from warranty markups. Developing standards for maintenance will allow clients to plan for upgrades, replacements, or warranties without worrying about unexpected expenses.

Keeping a scorecard

Accurate asset tracking and evaluation helps the clients see their assets from the MSPs perspective, allowing them to better understand future proposals. Clients need to understand what value is being provided by their assets and when that value falls off. That way, MSPs can plan for a replacement and disposal, and the client can approve the budget for that process in advance of the asset’s disposal.

How Lifecycle Manager helps budget planning?

Building a strong revenue stream is a primary goal for MSPs, but it can be hard to break out of the daily grind to get to the next level. MSPs have found a solution for building a sustainable revenue stream and growth plan, long-term strategic planning with clients.
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Master ITAM with Lifecycle Manager

Taking on IT asset management is a large task, but can be made easier with the right tools. That’s where ScalePad’s Lifecycle Manager comes in. The powerful IT asset management platform allows MSPs to make complex asset data simple. Lifecycle Manager provides automated IT asset management to save time and money. Allowing MSPs to spend more time doing meaningful work and less time on menial tasks.

Lifecycle Manager isn’t just a tool to help you run an IT asset management strategy. It also helps MSPs discover new revenue through in-app warranty, asset disposal, and reporting services.

Growing revenue with Lifecycle Manager

Alvarez Technology Group found success in increasing their revenue through improved internal standards and external communications with the help of Lifecycle Manager. Learn more about how they use their ITAM strategy to develop a strategic plan that uses automation and warranties to improve service quality and revenue.
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Automated and accurate asset tracking

Get rid of the spreadsheets and stop spending hours tracking down simple information about your assets. Accuracy and efficiency suffer when MSPs don’t have a solution to automate the asset monitoring process. Lifecycle Manager’s accurate tracking allows MSPs to quickly search and filter for any information they might need.

Lifecycle Manager can easily generate comprehensive and accessible reports that even the least tech-savvy clients can understand.

The automated asset monitoring also allows MSPs to quickly see where a client’s IT infrastructure could be improved. Are there assets without active warranties? Workstations that are years old and no longer supported by patches? MSPs don’t need to spend time tracking down that information. Instead, they take that information right to the client and review their next steps.

Warranty Services

ScalePad Warranty Services automate warranty lookups for MSPs with information from more than 40 OEM vendors. Easily filter assets to see assets out of warranty or approaching their expiry date. Lifecycle Manager, originally known as Warranty Master, lets MSPs generate a warranty quote in seconds from the dashboard. No need to wait 24 hours to hear back from manufacturers. Get warranty quotes and create custom markups to drive new revenue.

MSPs using Lifecycle Manager say the warranty service has been a profit center for their businesses. It drastically cuts down the time staff spends by automating warranty data collection while allowing for increased markups. It’s a win-win for both clients and MSPs, as they can often be more affordable for clients, even with a larger custom markup set by the user.

Strategy and budget

Lifecycle Manager brings MSPs and clients closer together thanks to comprehensive reporting. The reports lay out the assets in a clean visual style that has been praised by MSPs and their clients. Get ready for client business reviews faster than before and share the reports through automated emails to clients.

Lifecycle Manager’s strategy features let MSPs keep tabs on risks, and create proposals and project timelines. The insights feature grades assets according to industry standards and allow users to customize their own standards for assets to be graded against.

Proposed improvements and their projected expenses can be placed into a roadmap for clients. When both parties work together on the roadmap they can find the right cadence of expenses to fit within budget limitations.

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