Asset Tracking and Management in Higher Education

Eliminate Manual IT Asset Audits & Improve Data Accuracy

Why IT Asset Management Matters In Higher Education

IT physical assets at colleges and universities such as laptops, monitors, tablets, servers, 3D printers, tech equipment, and other fixed assets help to support higher education development and funding. Assets ensure the quality of the education and the overall experience, resulting in a competitive advantage to attract students and donors. Therefore, creating a sustainable program to track assets’ inventory, maintenance, and depreciation should be treated as a critical business necessity for colleges and universities.

IT Asset Management for Higher Education 101

  1. Budget allocation: Better budget allocation and reporting can be determined per department by accurately tracking asset depreciation, upcoming warranty expirations, and the lifecycle status of inventoried items.  
  2. Enable flexibility: Universities may wish to pursue more secure data centers which require relocation of assets, or as they grow, classroom locations may shift, and facilities may open and close. In modern universities and colleges, students, facilities, and even where learning takes place are constantly on the move. 
  3. Provide holistic visibility: An asset management program that integrates with in-house applications, such as help desk tickets, budget management systems, and other applications, provides the university or college the visibility it needs to make informed business decisions.
  4. Deter theft, misappropriation, and cyber attacks: Unauthorized usage of IT equipment, theft, and fraudulent purchases are a risk. An ITAM program is a preventative measure that can create a system of checks and balances that assigns accountability, enables real-time inventory access, reports on system updates and warranty dates, and can effectively mitigate theft and misappropriation. 

Higher Education Asset Tracking

Common ways to track your IT assets as part of an ITAM program include barcodes (or QR codes) and RFID tags. When affixed to the physical assets, the barcodes and tags provide a simple and convenient way to scan the hardware and instantly record the location and borrower of the item. Some asset management tracking systems also provide visibility into the inventory of like items, maintenance records, and servicing or reordering details.  

Scanning an item, often through an app, saves time by streamlining all aspects of the physical inventory process. Asset managers can simply scan, edit, and update the statuses of assets anywhere on campus. This process improves university asset utilization and management more efficiently while also saving manpower and minimizing losses.

From computers and routers to printers, and scanners, no physical asset is off-limits to tagging. Barcode labels offer an affordable and effective solution to real-time tracking and inventory audits. However, barcodes can fade over time, and scanners require a line of sight and must “see” each barcode one at a time to capture the data. RFID tags use radio waves to transmit information from RFID tags to an RFID reader. An RFID reader can scan multiple tags at once and does not require line of sight visibility. If your university or college has assets that are hard to reach, fragile, or shouldn’t be handled, highly mobile, or highly valuable, an RFID tag may be the best choice.  

Benefits of IT Asset Management for Colleges and Universities

To establish governance guidelines

For many higher education facilities, assets are often jointly managed by different departments. For example, a smartboard in a science lab could be managed by the science department, the technology department, and the finance department, all with a different role in the management, upkeep, and replacing the asset. As a result, when an asset needs to be replaced or serviced, there may be confusion on service order responsibilities.

An IT asset management program requires governance guidelines and permission levels. In addition, setting up the program requires the asset manager to look at current inventory management processes and create improvements. Our team at Asset Vue can work with your campus asset manager to define and create user roles and permission levels, as well as provide recommendations for process improvements and automation opportunities that are unobtrusive to your current operations.

To validate accurate reporting

Asset tagging with RFID or barcodes increases inventory audit efficiency and reduces the risk of inaccuracies due to human error. With a simple scan, your team has the power to make updates on the spot and instantly get the most accurate and up-to-date information. The asset management database serves as a single source of truth that can guide resource allocation, theft recovery, and service agreements. In addition, your faculty now has access to real-time inventory to better plan their educational programs with the resources on hand.  

Asset management programs eliminate the dependence on spreadsheets and manual updates. Your finance department can create accurate projections with validated data that no longer rely on manually inputted data. Audits can be automated that eliminate the risk of human error and incorrect calculations, freeing up time that’s better spent elsewhere.

To save time and resources

A robust IT asset management program can consolidate tools and eliminate the manual labor behind audits and inventory tracking. Our experience in creating time-saving solutions for higher education organizations has resulted in reduced labor costs and a boost in productivity. Time is no longer spent on tasks such as manually tracking down assets, locating service agreements, or fixing spreadsheet calculations.

An ITAM program with tagging can be up and running within a few days and immediately provide your team with real-time information. Tasks that would take days to implement prior to an asset management program can now be completed instantly. In addition, backlogs of pending projects can be eliminated with computer automation powering your inventory management process.

The availability of well-maintained physical assets plays a significant role in the students’ success, the sustainability of educational programs, and the attractiveness of campus amenities. More than just computers and printers, higher education facilities are now investing in high-tech resources, modern furniture, state-of-the-art lab instruments, and top-of-the-line sports equipment to attract the world’s best and brightest. Asset management ensures your facility gets the most out of these investments.  

An ITAM program can go a long way in supporting the ROI goals of your assets, minimizing financial risks, and maximizing your staff’s time and resources. At Asset Vue, our experts work with your administrative team to find the ITAM solution that best fits your needs and budget, ranging from simple barcode tracking to fully automated RFID tracking with real-time alerts as assets move. Give us a call so we can discuss your current operations, and see how we can help solve your challenges.


There are many different challenges our customers have brought to us at Asset Vue.   One of our favorite things is to get involved in process engineering and helping our customers achieve success.  Since our background is developing operational procedures and solutions as members of corporate teams for the majority of our careers, often customers rely on our experience to assist them and marry a process and technology solutions.

In one such instance, the data processing and IT management team for a major university was challenged with the need to more accurately track their asset lifecycle and leverage tools to help them manage the associated pieces tied to asset management such as ticketing systems, financial systems and many other applications which require integrated solutions. 

That’s what we do at Asset Vue.

Our team helped them implement our Asset Vue Inventory software for IT operations across their organization.  This included leveraging our applications as part of the planning for moving into a new data center and maintaining critical information.  By using our software, this customer was able to all but eliminate the manual labor behind their audits and asset management work, consolidate tools and establish a world class solution.  With asset location and status accessible in real time and a reduction – if not complete elimination – of human error in auditing and tracking assets, the team was able to more accurately report back to other divisions the costs of their work and charge those other budgets accordingly.   

Any organization that relies on IT assets to function can benefit from relying less on the manual efforts of humans to catalog and track those assets and manage their associated information and contracts.  Doing so doesn’t only save time, but also reduces the cost of IT asset management and audits.

This is of course critical in any data center environment, but colleges, universities, and school districts that process and manage their own data or increasingly offer world-class, in-house IT services to their employees and students absolutely need the same level of visibility as any corporate data center.


Case Study:
University Improves Budget Reporting with Real Time Asset Tracking

asset tracking software assetvue

The Challenge

At a large public university in the North East, the data processing and IT management team had three key challenges to cope with:

  1. First, the department needed to more accurately track the lifecycle status of the assets they managed, as well as more accurately report the costs of services provided to other departments at the university so those costs could come out of the other departments’ budgets.

  2. Second, the department was also planning a major relocation of all data operations to a new facility, and needed tools to accurately audit and track every asset.

  3. And finally, any system to tackle all three of these challenges also needed to integrate with other in-house applications, such as help desk tickets, budget management systems, and other applications.

The Plan

The Asset Vue team team installed the Asset Vue Inventory software across IT operations for the university. Every asset that was either a) moving to the new facility and/or b) used by other departments was tagged with RAIN RFID tags so it could be accurately cataloged and tracked during the move. Information regarding the last service date, status of current service contracts, and warranty status of every asset was also logged on the tags, so it could be accessed by either hand-held readers on demand or by fixed-position readers whenever the assets were removed from their primary location.

Thanks to Asset Vue Inventory’s robust Integration features, the asset tracking system was able to seamlessly integrate with existing systems, including home-grown financial applications, simplifying the process of reporting labor and procurement costs back to the appropriate department budget.

Asset Tracking Software
rfid and barcode asset management system

The Results

Not only was a complicated move of hundreds of IT assets successfully and largely painlessly executed by the university IT team thanks to the real-time tracking visibility of Asset Vue Inventory, the university IT team was able to eliminate manual audits and free up hundreds of person-hours per year.

Furthermore, with asset location and status accessible in real time, the team was able to more accurately report back to other divisions the costs of their work and charge those other budgets accordingly.

Some common oversights we noticed that we’d like higher ed organizations to be aware of when doing IT Asset Audit:

  • Unregistered Assets: Overlooking assets that are not part of the central inventory system, such as personally-owned devices or research equipment.
  • Remote Devices: Failing to account for assets located off-campus or in remote locations, like faculty members’ home offices.
  • Mobile Devices: Neglecting to include smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices that are used for work or research purposes.
  • Software Licenses: Not auditing software licenses to ensure compliance with licensing agreements, which can lead to legal and financial risks.
  • Shadow IT: Ignoring assets and software that have been procured outside of the IT department, leading to security and compliance concerns.
  • Obsolete Hardware: Not identifying and disposing of outdated or decommissioned hardware, which can occupy valuable storage space.
  • Underutilized Resources: Overlooking assets that are underutilized, which can lead to inefficient resource allocation.
  • Access Controls: Failing to review user access and permissions to sensitive data and systems, potentially exposing the institution to security threats.
  • Untracked Changes: Not keeping track of changes in asset status or ownership, leading to discrepancies in the audit.
  • Lack of Documentation: Missing documentation for warranties, service agreements, or the history of asset maintenance.
  • Data Security: Neglecting to secure data on assets that are being disposed of, which can result in data breaches.
  • Asset Recovery: Not having a clear process for recovering assets from departing employees or students.
  • Physical Security: Forgetting to evaluate physical security measures for assets, such as server rooms and data centers.
  • Lost Assets: Failing to account for lost or stolen assets, which can result in unreported security breaches.
  • End-of-Life Disposal: Not properly disposing of assets at the end of their lifecycle, potentially causing environmental and legal issues.
  • Third-Party Vendors: Not auditing assets provided by third-party vendors and contractors for security and compliance.

Schedule A Free Demo

From our earliest conversations, we’ll be happy to provide a free demo and for qualified prospects we’ll also provide a free process evaluation. Learn more about how we work with new clients.