Voted Best Answer
Oct 24, 2017 - 08:20 AM
It would depend on what level of documentation you have for your existing equipment. Do you only have the listing produced from network connectivity? Do you have a source of information from when equipment was purchased? Do you track the lifecycle of the hardware?
Depending on where you're at in your Hardware mgmt, it would determine how you'd start. If you're just trying to get a grasp on what is active and at what location, then you can use your network connections to create a list. Then it's a matter of physically verifying (either in person, over the phone or through email to the end user) that the asset you're seeing on the network is truly the one it says it is. At that point you could begin documenting ownership, location, details of the asset and date last audited.
You mentioned 432 stores, obviously you probably do not want to have to physically travel to each location to perform your audit. For remote locations, I'd suggest creating a document/procedure and sending it out to the manager of those locations. You could even send the data from the devices you know should be at those locations according to their network addresses and ask them to simply verify the data you have and to fill in any blanks you may have for each asset. Data fields could be: Mfg, Model, Serial #, Asset #-if used, physical location/store, assigned user-if personal device, etc. Then part of the procedure would be for them to document any non-functional or non-network connected assets they have around the store. Maybe something that has died and is no longer in use, but they didn't know what to do with it so it's parked in a closet at the store.
Once you've been able to confirm the audit of devices you know are on your network, and you have begun to create a list of devices found/reported that you weren't aware of; then you can begin to fill in your data and begin to get a comprehensive view of what your hardware asset environment looks like. From this you can begin to create data points within your data that you can begin to use from Initial Purchase, to Receiving, Storage, Inventory, Deployment, Maintenance/Repair, to EOL/IT Asset Destruction.
It all starts with getting a grasp of your current hardware environment and filling in any blanks in your data. From there you'll be able to begin implementing new processes for data capture moving forward with new Hardware purchases/assignments/disposals.
Yes there are software tools out there, but even with a tool you will need to have a good picture of your current hardware environment before you can populate the details within the tool. It can collect hardware information from network attached devices, but it can't go back and pick up Purchase Order information, dates of purchase/implementation, physical location, etc. To start any form of a database to hold the data points you collect, will be better than nothing.
As far as lost/stolen items are concerned the primary way to watch these is if they're network connected. When you are alerted that they're no longer reporting on the network, you could make an inquiry to the assigned owner of the hardware (be it an individual or a store). But this would require reviewing scans frequently against known connected hardware. I don't know if you have any kind of physical security department or loss prevention department, but they would be your best bet to align with their processes and procedures for lost/stolen items.
I hope this helps, and I wasn't too basic and therefore not really answering your question.