Getting Started: How to Build an Effective ITAM Program

An ITAM program is only as effective as the people, processes and technology behind it. Dedicated people and processes are as integral to the success of your ITAM practice as your tooling. Likewise, without tools that provide visibility over your entire program, you might only see a fraction of the details needed to have a positive impact on your business. Here are a few keys to start building an effective ITAM program for your organization.

Identifying your priorities

IT Asset Management (ITAM) involves gathering the information you need to make effective use of and run your digital technology. The first step towards building effective ITAM within your organization is understanding what you want to achieve. To identify that, it’s useful to look at some of the reasons why companies have ITAM capabilities in the first place. For the most part, these fall into three main categories:

  1. Risk management: With a rise in global cybersecurity attacks, protecting customer and company data is top-of-mind for IT leaders. They also need to protect themselves from risk associated with unanticipated and unaccounted for software, cloud, SaaS or hardware spend.
  2. Cost management: Cost reduction is always a key to an organization’s success, especially during times of global economic uncertainty. Organizations need to spend wisely, so they can allocate more of their funds to innovation and be more competitive in a tough market.
  3. Growth and innovation: Quickly delivering new innovations and responding to employee and customer requirements are now fundamental to surviving in today’s economy. Fostering innovation starts by optimizing your current technology stack.

Some other event-based priorities can drive ITAM programs, including a large merger & acquisition (M&A), an audit or compliance event (sometimes triggered by an M&A), or the need to report on technology ROI to a board or C-suite.

Building a governance framework for your ITAM program

If ITAM’s role is to allow the organization to maximize the value from their technology assets while minimizing risk, then it is important to provide a framework within which this should happen. There is little value on reporting on opportunities to save, or compliance issues, if the business implications are not understood and the mechanisms for resolving issues, or taking advantage of opportunities, are not in place and accessible.

Every ITAM practice should include these elements:

Selecting your supporting cast of people

In order to achieve successful outcomes, ITAM functions need people and technology to support the governance framework and carry out the supporting activities. One of the biggest mistakes we see is when organizations unrealistically put their ITAM program on one person’s shoulders. The size of your eventual organization will be dependent on the scope of services you provide and the size of the larger organization you are supporting.

While there is no easy answer to ‘how many people do I need’, as this will vary based on the size and complexity of the organization and the technology that is in use within it, it is important that there is someone accountable for the success of ITAM, and that the activities associated with ITAM are assigned to appropriate individuals either as their primary role or as a key part of their wider responsibilities.

Here are a few checkpoints as you select people to assist in your ITAM program:

There is no magic formula for successful ITAM, but by starting with clear goals and objectives and putting in place the supporting governance, processes, people and technology, it is possible to build an effective ITAM capability that has real relevance to your business stakeholders.