CIO Perspective Series: How to Start an ITAM Practice

This post on starting an ITAM program is the first in a series based on interviews with Snow CIO Alastair (Al) Pooley that give his take on current industry topics and best practices.

A successful IT asset management (ITAM) program’s benefits begin with comprehensive visibility over its IT landscape and often extend far beyond reduced risk and optimized costs to other areas of the organization. Establishing such a fruitful ITAM practice requires significant effort. If your organization is just starting an ITAM program, it’s understandable if you’re overwhelmed and anxious. Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be extremely difficult or stressful — you just need to take the right steps. 

I recently sat down with Snow Software CIO Al Pooley for a quick conversation on those key steps to jumpstarting your ITAM journey. As you’ll see in this short video and in our quick-read guide for beginners, each step focuses on a different essential aspect of the program — the people, processes, and technology behind your ITAM practice. 

First things first: people and scope

Putting the right people in place to develop and manage your ITAM program is critical. Before you choose that ITAM tribe, however, you’ll need to decide the scope of your program. You need to decide if the program provides limited support to one department or geographical area, or if it serves your entire organization. After that, you’ll need to estimate the required resources for supporting your ITAM tool and associated policies/processes. Make sure you’re being realistic with your staffing costs, but don’t limit yourself to one option automatically. 

Selecting the right technology, harnessing the right data

With the scope and people chosen, it’s now time to look at the data you plan to pull and determine exactly what you want to track. Al touches briefly on this topic, but for even more insights and questions to get you thinking, explore our recently published ITAM practitioners guide, “The People, Processes and Technology for Your ITAM Journey.”

In this guide, we dig deeper into the right considerations that will help you identify the data you need to track. For example, have you decided if you’re going to track on-premises devices and software in addition to your sanctioned SaaS applications? What about free or unsanctioned SaaS applications, cloud infrastructure and applications? What about specific vendor applications and infrastructure? 

Answers to these questions will also help you choose the best ITAM tool for your organization. If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you’ll also need an ITAM tool that will provide you with comprehensive visibility into usage and spend. 

Define, then refine your policies and processes

Finally, your ITAM journey needs to include an outline of the policies and processes that guide your program — a governance framework. As outlined in our practitioners guide, here are the most important components of a successful ITAM program:

  1. Mission statement — What you’re doing and why
  2. Roadmap — Objectives, key results, and timelines
  3. Policies — Who should do what, where and why
  4. Processes — how the team will accomplish their goals
  5. Communication strategy — how will the team communicate policies, processes, etc.?
  6. Reporting — evidence your policies and processes are achieving results

Your ITAM program is a long-term commitment, so establishing a regular review cadence will help you continuously improve your program. As you review, ask some questions, including: 

Relying on experience

As Al says in the video, ITAM and software asset management have been around for many, many years. You can always strike out on your own and find out what works through trial and error, or you can rely on another source of experience. Snow Software has been in this space for more than 25 years and has worked with thousands of customers. We offer consulting services, and we work with several trusted partners who can help you establish processes that will give your ITAM program a solid start. 

Ready for more? Here’s the next installment of our CIO Perspective Series, “The Many Benefits of Technology Visibility.”