Open Source Asset Managers - An Analytical Comparison

Naina Kaul
Naina Kaul
Published: 26.09.2022

Open source asset management for IT has become an important part of maintaining business operations. As such, assets can range from software to hardware, to something as intangible as information, according to The Atlassian. Think of it as an inventory for your IT valuables. This allows you to keep track of them, maintain them, utilise them as well as decommission them, as appropriate. It is a way to manage the entire lifecycle of a given IT asset.

IT assets illustrated as boxes stacked on top of each other, in front of a bright, purple doorway

With open source options available, you don’t even need to spend a single dime. So, what are you waiting for? If you start the process, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without.

Open Sesame, Open Source

As the name suggests, open source means that the originator of the product does not claim rights to it in the traditional way. While the intellectual capital remains the originator’s – the profits are not the focal point here, and instead the technology is made available freely. This contributes to a thriving network of creators who exchange ideas and deliver value through non-traditional, less self-serving ways to enhance the technology landscape at large. It is often maintained well, and accessible through easily identifiable channels online.

Asset management can be used in more ways than you might think. As The Atlassian puts it: “We’ve heard of organizations using asset management software to manage things ranging from fleets, to fish, to insurance, to musical instruments.” Indeed, even open source is not simply limited to asset management. Alternatives to basic software packages like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint exist as open source offerings. For instance, the very popular Apache OpenOffice has over 333 million downloads and is coming up to its 22nd anniversary just next month!

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s move on to which options are available.

Options, Options, Options

Snipe-IT

Snipe-IT is often listed at the top of any respected list of open source asset managers. It has a wide range of functionality and can be considered one of the strongest players in the market.

As per GoodFirms, Snipe-IT has user and location functionality. It integrates with barcode/QR scanners and has an easy import and export function for assets. In addition, it maintains an overview of check-ins and check-outs to the asset, allowing visibility of what has happened to the asset, as well as who last accessed it. You can conduct a regular ‘whodunnit’ if you feel so inclined.

SysAid – Hot Off The Press

SysAid is the second most cited open source asset manager. Understandably so. It has a wide range of functionality as well, and boasts some ‘hot-off-the-press’ features. In a move as recent as June of this year, according to CrunchBase, SysAid has deployed an AI chatbot to help improve employee experience. This may give SysAid the competitive edge, in particular for companies looking to improve their employee satisfaction ratings.

In general, as described by GoodFirms, the functionality covers over user and location, help desk integration, managing patches assigned to particular computers, real-time tracking and notifications and import of assets.

ConnectWise

SourceForge has an exhaustive (but potentially a tad overwhelming) list of available options, and describes ConnectWise as follows:

“Solve IT problems at the speed of business with ConnectWise Automate. A robust remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform, ConnectWise Automate helps boost the effectiveness of IT teams. It offers teams the ability to discover all devices and users that need to be proactively monitored, remove delivery roadblocks, and support more endpoints without adding headaches or head count.”

Net Promoter Scores of the tool on the website range in the high figures of 7-10, making it an user-approved solution for your next IT asset management platform.

CMDBuild

CMDBuild offers a high degree of customisation, which – if you need to tailor IT asset management to a fairly unique IT environment – may be the right choice for you. In their own words:

“With CMDBuild you can build and extend your own CMDB, modeling it according to the needs of your organization. You can configure workflows, reports, dashboards, schedule operations and checks, manage documents, geo-reference your asset in maps or view them in 3D models. You can also interoperate with external solutions through web services.”

Asset Panda

A black and white panda looks straight at the camera while sitting between tree branches in a forest

Asset Panda is a strong contender in the asset manager space. In a similar vein to CMDBuild, there is a high degree of configurability, which confers advantages of a close fit between system functionality, and IT landscape requirements. On CrunchBase, they describe their services as follows:

“Asset Panda's highly configurable asset tracking and management software allows users to replace spreadsheets, barcode scanners, and expensive software with a single cloud-based system. […] Whether online or through our mobile app, your organization has access to asset information anytime, from anywhere, on the devices you already use. At Asset Panda, we strive to deliver our clients not only the best asset management software but also exceptional customer service. Get 24/7 support when you need it!”

They also pride themselves on their around-the-clock support, which may come in handy for an organisation with global reach.

Recommendations

Simply put, keeping track of IT assets in this systematic and holistic way, confers benefits beyond just better organisation. It may be the key to unlocking cost savings previously not capitalised on, as well as a more efficient organisation. Consider it, if you are looking for new levels of performance in your company. Perhaps worth deciphering between the value proposition offered by an open source option, versus a paid one. Your specific IT needs may be best consulted on with your very own IT department.

As KPMG describes in their report on the practice of Software Asset Management (SAM), accessible via Forbes Insights:

“An effectively deployed, more broadly defined SAM program can deliver improvements across a range of dimensions. A solid SAM initiative is not an expense to be justified, but rather an investment that can provide a marked competitive advantage. Companies implementing an integrated SAM program frequently report both significant direct cost savings as well as efficiency gains. Moreover, these benefits are by no means limited to the IT department, but often extend into the broader enterprise.”

Far from being an expensive enterprise, adding something as simple as an open source asset manager like Snipe-IT to your IT repertoire, will unleash a host of benefits that may well outweigh the downsides of having to learn the ins and outs of a new platform. Moving from an excel spreadsheet to a made-for-purpose tool can make the difference between appearing tech-adjacent, to being visibly tech-savvy.

Resources

For information about Pangea vendors that may be able to help augment your strategy, please feel free to consult our search tool here.

Some examples of strategy vendors that are tried and tested are:

VegaIT, rated superbly for their great working culture, BornFight, commended for their super communication and Orba, which ranks highly on trust.

If you would like more information on asset management/tracking, we have a previous write-up which you can check out here.

FAQs:

Q1. Is Snipe-IT open source?

Yes, Snipe-IT is an open source tool. Open source simply means that the technology provided is free-of-charge, and what it is embedded in is a culture of sharing and reciprocity which has allowed creative efforts to flourish, in several fields. As such, open source is not limited to technology, but can apply to creative projects, as well. Certain platforms decidedly promote open source as a way for projects to take on a life of their own through collaboration and collegiate transparency. It often fosters a sense of community.

Q2. Is GLPI free?

According to SourceForge, GLPI is not free. It has a starting cost of 19 USD a month per user. Free trials are available, however, and may allow you to try-before-you-buy and see if the solution is the right fit.

Q3. How much does Assetpanda cost?

Assetpanda costing is based upon the number of assets, and their starting price comes in at a very reasonable 3 USD per 500 assets. As with GLPI, there is a free trial available which allows for testing the solution before purchasing.

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