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How to Track IT Assets

Here are five steps to creating an RFID system that will organize and secure vital IT assets.
By John Edwards
Mar 23, 2009—Enterprise IT departments are responsible for a vast array of vital and expensive assets. These items range from equipment racks and individual servers to smaller fixed products, such as desktop computers and printers—as well as mobile devices, including laptop computers and mobile phones.

Keeping track of everything is an enormous task, yet most IT departments still manage assets the old-fashioned way: via a paper audit. This process is typically a semi-annual event that, depending on the size of the organization, can take several employees up to a couple of months to complete. Even then, the final results are often riddled with errors.

Given the shortcomings of paper-based audits, a growing number of IT managers are turning to RFID-driven asset tracking, which promises faster, more detailed and highly accurate day-to-day management of vital assets. "It's really a matter of using an IT-rooted approach to address an IT problem," observes Victor Vega, director of technical services for RFID systems vendor Alien Technology, located in Morgan Hill, Calif.

According to ABI Research, an Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based technology research firm, IT asset tracking—currently just a fraction of a percent of the overall worldwide RFID asset-tracking market—is set to grow to greater than a 10 percent share by the end of 2013. Both passive and active RFID technologies, ABI forecasts, will be used to track IT assets in the years ahead.

Can your organization benefit from joining the move to IT asset tracking? Here's what you need to know, and how to get started:

1. Define the Need
The first step toward creating an RFID IT-tracking infrastructure is to figure out what benefits your enterprise hopes to get out of the system. Most organizations want an IT asset-tracking environment that can deliver multiple benefits, according to John Rommel, director of RFID channel development at Motorola, headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill. "There are a variety of motivations involved," he says
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