To Asset Tag or Not?

Hi ITAM Forum peeps,

Curious to know within the vast space that is ITAM, how many companies/orgs have utilized asset tagging? If so, what type of asset tag? Barcode? QR code or something different? Is it on all assets or selected assets? Has the asset tag helped in tracking the asset?

Appreciate anyone who can provide some guidance within the wonderful hardware space.


Good Question. I am curious as well. Also now days there is ZTE (zero touch anablement) - How would tagging work then? Not sure if any one has ideas here.

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Hi James - we actually implemented ‘virtual’ tagging. We create a tag which is just a JSON or txt file that is deposited on each device. Then we use our Asset Management platform ‘Snow Software’ to read the tag and deposit the information into the database. This has been useful to collect metadata that is not normally discoverable by an agent such as environment or division. Admittedly it still requires a touch of the device to create and deposit the tag but we have automated the collection of the data. Hope that helps - Rick


Hi Rick,
Thank you so much for the insight. Currently in my company there is no asset tagging so i am planning to implement the process. By any chance do you have any documents or reference articles that i can look into for this virtual tagging. Any information about this will be a great help for me.

Thank you!

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Hi all,

Yes, we tag assets with barcoded tags that our team prints up in-house. At one time we had tags made from an external vendor, however they couldn’t barcode them and they were expensive. After some cursory research I was able to procure a label maker with enough supplies to generate 20,000 asset tags at the same price it would have taken us to order 500 from the external vendor. Massive savings, plus the ability to customize tags and add barcodes. We opt to retain physical identification tags due to the nature of our environment and how our customers need the info at-a-glance, though I do like the JSON idea. At this time QR is unnecessary for us and RFID tagging is too cost-prohibitive, though I wouldn’t mind having that level of detail.

Regarding the decision to tag, here is some criteria I’ve published to our teams that indicate what goes into the tagging decision. Many agencies will set a dollar threshold, however for our reporting needs we’ve expanded on the criteria. Note that not all criteria need to apply to decide to tag:

  • Is the IT department procuring?
  • Is the IT department supporting?
  • Is the IT department tracking and documenting?
  • Will this item live on or interface with the business network?
  • Is the item serialized?
  • Is the item warrantied?
  • Does the item have heightened risk?
  • Does the item have high value?
  • Do our customers have an elevated accountability to the item and a need to report back on it?

Not necessarily exhaustive, but also serves to get the point across and subliminally advertise the value of our ITAM program.

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We buy barcode tags from a vendor and apply them only to data bearing devices. We do find it easier/faster to scan the equipment when doing inventories, when processing returns, and when doing disposals. I would see diminishing returns on applying asset tags to peripherals/low cost/one-time-use items.

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Hi Rick - thanks for sharing! Curious what information is embedded in the JSON file?


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Hi James, we put metadata that is not auto-discoverable. Things like division, business unit, technical contact, business contact, environment type, etc. Really the list is infinite, just depends what is valuable to your organization.

  • Rick

Hi - We just utilize the standard technology and processs available in Snow Software. We did not do anything customized.

  • Rick