Conducting an IT Asset Management Audit: A Step-by-Step Checklist for Schools
School IT asset management audit—try saying that ten times fast. Pretty tough, right?
Conducting a comprehensive audit on all the assets in your district is pretty hard too. It’s even harder without proper procedures in place or a step-by-step plan that your IT team can follow. That’s exactly why we built this checklist: to help K-12 IT teams.
By following each of these steps, you’ll be able to account for every asset in your district’s inventory, ensure they’re in proper working condition, and potentially shave thousands of wasted dollars off your school district’s technology budget.
Let’s get started.
What is an IT asset management audit and why does it require a checklist?
An IT asset management audit is a review of a select group of assets within an organization.
It sounds pretty straightforward on paper, but when you take into account that most school districts manage anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of assets, a “standard audit” can feel overwhelming. That’s why checklists are important.
It’s not only the sheer volume of organizational assets that make auditing a challenge, but it’s the process as well. IT teams are responsible for outlining audit goals, implementing a strategy, assigning individual responsibilities within their team, collecting asset data, properly assessing the condition of district assets, connecting those assets to their assigned users, and reviewing the entire process to make sure they don’t gloss over any of the fine details.
The individual steps look much more complicated on paper, and it’s also why we’ll be covering each of these steps in our auditing checklist.
Benefits of running regular ITAM audits
Some districts conduct audits after every semester, while others wait until the end of the school year for an annual audit. It depends on the needs of your individual school district. However, the benefits of running regular audits are universal.
Some of them include:
Most school asset audits are internal, but it’s still crucial for K-12 IT teams and district leadership to ensure that their audit meets compliance standards. This helps guarantee your school district won’t face any fines or penalties.
School assets depreciate in value over the years as they get older and switch between different assigned users. Auditing allows IT teams to keep track of aging assets and calculate depreciation over time. Depreciation management also informs IT teams of the assets’ potential resale value and helps them anticipate upcoming maintenance to ensure longer device lifespans.
Getting rid of ghost assets
“Ghost assets” are district assets that are not available or don’t exist, but are still being registered in your IT team’s asset management system. A proper audit and discovery of these devices let your district’s IT team get rid of missing devices that slow down their workflows and skew their auditing data.
Pinpointing asset locations
Similar to large enterprises, school districts face the challenge of deploying assets to multiple locations. Running an audit helps IT teams determine the exact location of their district’s assets, and move them accordingly between schools, buildings, or even classrooms depending on the needs of teachers, students, and staff.
How to run an ITAM audit
A school IT asset management audit only works with a clearly defined process in place, and it’s up to your IT team to figure out what that process looks like. However, without any guidance, competing priorities and internal biases can get in the way.
The steps below are an unbiased, objective look at each stage of the school asset management asset auditing process. Follow along and consider these steps carefully when defining the auditing process in your own district.
1. Outline your goals
Before you decide “how” to conduct a proper audit, you must first determine the “why” behind it—and the “why” begins with properly outlining your goals.
A primary goal of these audits is to identify assets that are no longer in working condition. This allows IT teams to send them in for repair and issue spare devices, so students, teachers, and staff can continue to work uninterrupted.
However, when determining more specific goals, it’s vital to contact the key stakeholders within your district. These may include your district’s director of technology, a technology advisory board, or the IT manager at a specific school. With their input, you can outline the exact information you’ll need from an upcoming audit.
Other auditing goals may include:
- Identifying assets that have upcoming expirations on their warranties, so you can keep them up to date and properly insured
- Locating where district assets are currently being deployed in case you need to move them between school campuses for reassignment
- Determining the age of select assets to plan for upcoming device retirement and refresh
When outlining the goals of your IT asset management audit, it’s equally important to determine the scope as well. If you run regular audits throughout the year, the scope will be much smaller and can be summarized in a brief report. However, if your district conducts one comprehensive audit during the school year, your team will need to plan ahead.
Staggering audits throughout the year can help to minimize the workload of a massive audit, however, it’s contingent on the size of your team, their capacity, and the goals you need to meet.
2. Outline an implementation strategy
Once your goals are clearly defined, you can dive into the actionable elements of your plan: implementing the strategy. If your goals explain the “why” behind an audit, your strategy should define the “who, when, and where”.
Let’s break them down here:
- Who: Who on your team is responsible for carrying out individual tasks? This should be determined by a team lead or a K-12 IT manager. Assign responsibilities appropriately to avoid duplicate work, workflow bottlenecks, or confusion.
- When: When is your audit taking place? Is there a certain time of year that works best for your IT team? How will other school events potentially affect or influence your auditing plan?
- Where: Will you be verifying devices physically? If so, where will teachers, students, and staff be dropping off their devices?
Your strategy will help answer all the crucial logistical questions that are key to guaranteeing your audit runs smoothly.
3. Assemble your ITAM team
With clear goals and a solid strategy, assembling your IT asset management team should be easy. All it takes is assigning the right jobs to the right people. Depending on the size of your team, responsibilities may vary, but you should plan to have individual team members assigned to different asset management functions, such as importing assets, handling and tracking software licenses, and running reports.
Determining these responsibilities ahead of time gives your team the ability to think ahead, and perform their tasks with more forward-thinking and general insight.
4. Perform an asset discovery
Proper asset discovery is the key to any successful audit. Unless you know exactly what assets are available in your district, reporting on them is impossible.
For starters, your school IT department will need access to an asset management system that can store and track detailed device data. Spreadsheets are ineffective when it comes to managing large school inventories, but there are some districts that still use them as a supplementary tool for asset management. Without the advanced capabilities of school asset management software, conducting an initial asset discovery is next to impossible.
Even if your team is able to import all the asset data necessary to conduct an audit, trying to navigate through a spreadsheet to collect and report on the information you need takes up a lot of time, and can result in inaccurate reporting and future damage to your IT team’s workflow.
Once your team is equipped with the right tools, you need to outline how data is going to be imported. If you’re already using school asset management software, you can easily import detailed asset data through an MDM integration and run an audit via automatic login verification. Or, you can audit devices in the classroom by equipping teachers with barcode scanners.
5. Assign all assets a condition “score”
A condition “score” is a way for members of your IT team to quickly assess an asset’s physical condition. For example, on a 1-10 scale, an asset that’s broken with no hope for repair would be labeled as “zero” while an asset that is in working condition, but has clear, visible damage and a long service history might be labeled anywhere from 4-6.
To determine the condition score of an asset, use the following variables:
- Age of the asset
- Visible damage
- Number of assigned owners
- Service history
By giving select assets a condition score, K-12 IT teams can forecast future investments in student technology and upcoming maintenance.
For a total view of the condition of your district’s asset fleet, you can calculate the mean or average of these scores, and access a qualitative score that represents the state of the assets in your district—this is a nice-to-have when budget time rolls around, so you can make a case for future investments in student technology or additional team hires.
6. Connect assets to users
Knowing the physical state of an asset isn’t enough—ownership data is just as important. Ownership data helps IT agents understand who within their district needs a spare device or a device upgrade. It also comes in handy when a device goes missing or gets damaged.
Knowing who is responsible for an asset promotes good device stewardship and keeps students accountable for protecting and keeping track of their assigned devices.
But how do you import user data in the first place? Using school asset management software, IT teams can integrate with their district’s SIS to securely import user, course, and roster data. This allows for the quick identification of device assignments and allows IT teams to maintain accurate records of device ownership.
7. Visualize your asset data with custom dashboards
Here’s another problem with spreadsheets: it’s difficult to visualize your data or workflows.
A dashboard view of your audit reports and workflows makes life much easier when trying to visualize and understand the impact your IT team is having on your school district. It’s also a great supplementary tool when reporting your findings to district leadership.
Using an asset management system, IT teams can create custom dashboards where they can visualize their audit data and organize it with custom views like:
- “Newly registered assets in the last 30 days”
- “Assets assigned to a specific grade level”
- “Assets in need of repair”
- “Students no longer enrolled in the district that still have an assigned device”
Custom dashboards are incredibly helpful when conducting an IT asset management audit by allowing your team to quickly sort through piles of important data.
8. Link asset management with help desk ticketing
Once your audit is complete, your school IT team can expect a flurry of incoming help tickets and service requests. Now that you’ve uncovered everything that’s wrong with your district’s assets, it’s time to fix them.
By integrating your school asset management software with your district’s help desk, your IT team can spend less time juggling between platforms by accessing detailed asset data right from a help ticket. This data can include make, model, ownership data, service history, and more—everything IT agents need to get immediate insight when resolving help requests.
9. Calculate the ROI of your school ITAM audit
This is your K-12 IT department’s time to shine. By calculating the ROI of your IT asset management audit, you can show district leadership and other key stakeholders the financial impact your team is having on the school technology budget.
Calculating ROI for your audit is also essential for making sure your team isn’t exceeding the cost of internal labor, contract labor, spare parts, additional hires, and subscription software costs.
To effectively calculate the financial impact of your IT asset management audit, you’ll need to measure the difference between the expenditures listed above, and the lowered maintenance and IT support costs due to predicting expenses ahead of time.
The auditing process can be exhausting—but it doesn’t have to be. By following this checklist and using proper asset management tools, K-12 IT teams can streamline the auditing process and protect their district’s investments in school technology year over year.
At Incident IQ, we’ve built a comprehensive service management platform that helps automate several key auditing tasks, including importing asset data, connecting users to assets, visualizing data, integrating with your district help desk, and more.
To learn more about our asset auditing tools built for K-12, schedule a demo with us and see how we can work together to transform device auditing and inventory management in your district.