Yes! You, Too, Can Fail Miserably at a Hardware Inventory!

Part I

First, don’t plan! Planning indicates a desire to succeed. We can’t have that. Employee count is unnecessary. It couldn’t possibly matter if you have 17 employees or 17,000, right? It shouldn’t have any bearing on your inventory timeline, after all.

Don’t get floor plans from Facilities. These floor plans might tell you where little hidey-holes of equipment are hidden by other nefarious IT teams. Management couldn’t possibly want to know where or what this equipment is.

Don’t ask what type of equipment you’re looking for. This indicates a structure. You could have teams that go after server equipment, network equipment, MFDs and user equipment. That would be difficult to organize and manage. And, by all means, do NOT have team meetings plan this event! Your team might have an inkling of what they are supposed to do!
Second, don’t communicate. Managers, Directors and Vice Presidents enjoy being interrupted without knowing why. And, employees whose productivity is closely monitored (like a call center) enjoy being interrupted even more.

If you simply must communicate that you are doing a hardware inventory, make your announcement at least five months in advance, so everyone has time to forget about it by the time you show up to take inventory.

Third, while you’re out on the floor, don’t take asset tags with you. Asset tagging is severely overrated. Why would you want to uniquely identify each piece of equipment in your business? And, if your business has been sold, leave the old business’s asset tags on and add your new asset tag. This creates a great deal of confusion later on. And put your new tag in a very inaccessible spot on the equipment or a spot that is that is highly worn, so there is a chance that the asset tag is worn off by the time your return for inventory later. Need I remind you not to document these new asset tags?

Fourth, speaking of documentation, while you are doing your inventory, use pen and paper to document and manually read serial numbers. This creates the perfect storm of human error and completely unreadable documentation, which will render your inventory at least 25% inaccurate and/or incomprehensible. And other information that should not be documented is equipment user names and locations of equipment. This could not possibly ever be helpful information. Management would never want to know how many computers the Marketing Department is using, after all.

Fifth, while you’re inventorying, don’t keep track of stragglers and their laptops. I mean, no need to inventory EVERY piece of equipment.
Sixth, now you have a glut of information to enter into the asset repository of your choice. Ugh. What a drag. Besides it takes away from your regular duties. Stash your information in a side subdirectory and forget about it.

Finally, you’ve finished this. You haven’t planned. You don’t know how many employees you were after. You don’t know what equipment you were targeting. You didn’t consult Facilities. You didn’t have team meetings. You didn’t communicate, and made a number of people mad in the process. You didn’t put new asset tags on. The ones you put on, you didn’t document. You used the most error-prone manner method of documentation. You didn’t keep track of employees and possible missing equipment. AND you haven’t updated your master asset repository with your new information.

Congratulations! You’ve failed miserably!

Wanna know how to succeed at hardware inventory? Wanna know how to make those managers and vice presidents ecstatic? How about being able to actually find a desired piece of equipment?
Part II of this article will be submitted after the Spring ACE 2018 Conference. Stay tuned!

About Jean Friestad

Jean Friestad is the Software Asset Manager for Wells Fargo