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Why Should My MSP Care About Asset Lifecycle Management?

Published September 26, 2022
Cheryl Stewart

What is Asset Lifecycle Management?

‍Asset lifecycle management (ALM) is the process of optimizing the profitability of assets throughout their useful lifetime. Or to make it dead simple: making sure everything is as useful as it can be while your clients own it — and knowing when it’s time to get rid of something.

‍In IT asset lifecycle management, ALM is properly managing the useful lifetime of every IT asset. This includes both physical assets (servers, desktop PCs, monitors, laptops, etc.) and software assets (operating systems and programs).

What is the Lifecycle of an Asset?

‍Every asset goes through this cycle. Whether it’s a pen in a drawer or a PC on a desk — or even the desk itself! When considering the lifecycle of an IT asset, hardware and software follow the same steps, even if the timeline between steps is different:

  1. Plan
  2. Acquire
  3. Use
  4. Maintain
  5. Dispose

Why Asset Lifecycle Management is Essential for Your MSP

‍Your clients entrust the management of their assets to you, so ALM is already an essential part of your MSPs services. Whether you admit it or not, you’re already doing it. Using automated IT asset management software could make your approach more efficient and effective.

‍Here’s four reasons why proactive IT asset lifecycle management benefits your clients, your MSP and your employees.

‍‍1. Improve the User Experience with ALM

‍Your clients pay you to keep their environment humming along without issue. As time passes and their equipment ages, they’ll become frustrated as their devices slow down, freeze up, and break down on a regular basis. 

‍As an MSP, part of your job is managing your clients’ assets and replacing obsolete equipment before it becomes a problem. If you don’t, you’ll end up in a lose-lose relationship with your client. They’ll be frustrated with unreliable assets, and your team will waste hours putting bandages on equipment and closing tickets. It’s not profitable for you or your client.

‍So how does an MSP turn around a lose-lose client relationship? Simple: ensure your clients replace old hardware before it’s too late. Why? Better technology provides a better experience because everything works smoothly. Clients are happy because they can focus on their job instead of waiting around for the IT guy.

‍Actively managing assets ensures your clients experience minimal downtime and don’t lose productivity due to old technology.

‍You’re probably thinking, “That’s easier said than done! My clients don’t have the budget for that.” While it is ideal to have clients replace old assets, it’s not always possible. While replacing hardware may not be the right fit, many of these older devices are out of warranty. This increases risk to your clients’ business operations if something breaks. Extending a warranty is the best choice here, because:

  • Warranty keeps the asset insured against failure
  • Extends the ‘maintain’ part of the asset lifecycle
  • Safeguards clients from costly downtime
  • Protects your MSP from dealing with difficult fixes on a regular basis
  • Provides revenue for your MSP!

‍To help get your clients on-board with warranties and replacements you can provide them with a risk acknowledgement form. 

2. Use ALM to Standardize Your Clients’ IT Environments‍

‍Imagine if all your clients had the same tech — maintenance would be a breeze! Unfortunately, for most MSPs this is more of a dream than reality right now.

‍However, strategically implementing ALM can help you standardize your clients’ environments across the board. This makes your job and your team’s job so much easier.

  • Reduces the number of potential issues arising from different hardware and software
  • Simpler and faster troubleshooting and fixing
  • Less knowledge to share internally among employees
  • Increased efficiency as teams can maintain more endpoints at the same time
  • Decreased tech to endpoint ratio

‍With standardized client environments you can do more with the same staff. Now your business can scale or invest in new initiatives without hiring more techs.

3. Reduce Software Vulnerability and Risks

‍Asset management is often associated with hardware, but it also applies to software. Software can be exploited for vulnerabilities — particularly unsupported OSs — so it’s critical that you reduce risks from your clients’ software assets. This protects them and your MSP business.

There’s three categories of software risks to look out for:

Software that shouldn’t be installed

As software evolves, out-of-date titles are retired and unsupported. Remember Windows 7 and Adobe Flash? Now that they’re unsupported, these titles are critical security risks. 

‍Every endpoint running unsupported software is a huge risk to your clients — and potentially your reputation if something goes wrong. 

‍Your MSP needs to stay on top of auditing your clients’ software inventory on a regular basis. This can be time-consuming to do, but automated software monitoring makes it simple. See a red flag? Make sure to remove it to keep your clients safe.

Missing Software

Despite meticulously installing anti-virus software, it’s not uncommon for end-users to disable or remove it from their systems “because it makes things slow.” The trade-off isn’t so great once a virus brings their system to a crawl.

‍It only takes one user removing critical security software to expose your clients to risks. As an MSP, you need to regularly confirm the correct software installed and operational. 

Out-of-date software

Software is constantly being patched, and it’s not just for new features. These patches also remove security risks. That’s why out-of-date software is a vulnerability for the whole organization and your MSP too. Your team needs to monitor what’s installed on your clients’ endpoints and keep it updated. 

‍No MSP wants to be responsible for allowing a virus to slip through gaps in their client’s security. It’s your business to monitor your clients security and ensure compliance for their safety and yours.

This might seem like a time-consuming process, but automated software for MSPs makes it simple. ScalePad Lifecycle Manager uses a color coding system to flag software that needs your attention and makes the client risk conversation simpler. By keeping software updated, your clients get the latest tools, your team has less risk to deal with, and your MSP is safeguarded against cyberattacks.

4. Improve Your Employee Experience‍

‍Nobody likes being yelled at when something fails. Unfortunately for techs working with clients on older equipment and software, this happens more often than not.

‍Implementing ALM can increase your techs’ happiness and productivity. How? Client’s are using better tech sooner. That means getting out of the break-fix cycle, reducing tickets, and less ‘creative’ fixes to keep older devices operational. Now your team can focus on more valuable projects.

‍But that’s not all. Your team will no longer be on the receiving end of scathing complaints from irate customers since their devices don’t break down as often. Ultimately your staff will be happier and more engaged, leading to less churn and burnout.

5. Creating a Disposal Strategy

Having a strategy locked in for the removal and destruction of hardware assets is vital. When you can streamline the process of asset disposal, you can more smoothly transition into the planning stage of acquiring new hardware.

Do clients want to replace those assets with modern equivalents? Are they downsizing staff or scaling up? Are they shifting business strategy to invest in a different technology? With a disposal strategy, MSPs can begin the conversation early to make sure there are no surprises. The asset lifecycle can evolve along with the client’s business.

Disposal strategy keeps the asset lifecycle flowing as it should without interruption.

ScalePad’s asset disposal service makes planning even easier for MSPs. ScalePad’s disposal service offers white glove packing and shipping, so MSPs don’t have to devote staff time to identify and pack old hardware anymore. We take care of the heavy lifting for you.

Making Asset Lifecycle Management a Priority

‍Now that you know the benefits of asset lifecycle management, will implementing ALM be a priority for your MSP? Get started by automating tedious tasks and manual processes with IT asset management software. Lifecycle Manager has client-friendly reports and at-a-glance scorecards can quickly take your asset management to the next level.

‍See how Lifecycle Manager can help you take control of asset management. Your clients, employees, and bottom line will thank you.