A combination of physical and software audits is the ideal solution to gain a clear picture of your network topology and to assist in the strategic planning phase.
Many organisations have asset management systems (such as Microsoft SCCM, Spice works, Symantec CMS, IBM TEM, LANDesk Management Suite, HP Client Automation, Dell KACE etc.) in place to try to manage inventory functions.
Whilst data from this software is a good start to supporting lifecycle management and strategic decision making for the ICT environment the systems can be a “hit and miss”. Many of the systems rely on machines being on the network and turned on during the scan (this can be an issue for laptops for example). While multiple scans can be run, devices will always be missed. There are other parameters that come into the equation like machines missing the client, but devices off the network are the biggest challenge. The audit data via this mechanism is very much reliant on how the installation of the asset tracking package is done, and if not installed in its complete form, the results after often less than ideal.
A physical audit is the only real way of finding the device and confirming all of its details. Onsite audits also allow you to track the location of the equipment; software audits will not provide this data. This in-depth data is pivotal in achieving accurate replacement strategies. The more precise this information the higher the success rate for forecasting and budgeting teams.