I have lived and breathed ITAM for the last 14 years and so I often can’t help but “see” similarities or parallels in other business areas and activities – but I even surprised myself in the latest example of where that happened.

It starts with the fact that I have recently become the proud father of a baby girl! As this was our first child, many of the events, activities and paperwork were new experiences for us – but there was one process that was strikingly familiar to me.

As soon as our daughter was born, she was taken by a nurse to be cleaned up, checked over and then returned to us – with an identify tag on her arm and ones that were given to us to wear as well.

Despite being caught up in the wonder of the birth at the time, I recognized what was going on and the similarities to what organizations do for their precious IT items. My daughter was asset tagged!!


Human Asset (baby)  IT Asset
Hospital Process – confirm delivery date IT Process – define shipping date
Hospital Process – delivery, cleanse, health check  IT Process – receiving, unpack, validate
Hospital Records – baby ID  IT Records – serial number
Hospital Records – delivery date  IT Records – delivery date
Hospital Records – baby name  IT Records – hostname/ID
Hospital Records – baby gender  IT Records – asset type
Hospital Records – parent name  IT Records – owner/user
Hospital Process – validate tag on baby and parent  IT Process – validate tag on asset and in system

At first it seemed an ironic coincidence, but then it all started to make sense. For a hospital, new babies are arguably their most important assets and they would want to be able to track and secure them – which is where a form of asset tagging comes in.

Each baby needs to be uniquely identified – you wouldn’t want to send a baby home with the wrong family. For that, you need to specify and track key attributes – an ID, name, type (gender), delivery date and, eventually, owners (parents).

There are basic administration tasks and system records associated with both scenarios that are aligned – the hospital needs to know when the baby is due so that preparations can be made for the arrival, and once delivered it needs to be validated before it can be given back to the owners (parents).

Before parents can leave the hospital with the baby, all the tags are validated – which is much the same as when an IT asset is being moved or allocated.

So perhaps I really should not have been surprised by this encounter with asset tagging – after all, most organizations at this point have implemented some form of asset tagging for their most mobile/expensive assets.

And as a concept, if it’s good enough for babies then it should also have some value for your IT assets as well…

Have you encountered any surprising scenarios where you have seen asset tagging or some other ITAM process being used?