Addressing ITAM in your Organization – The Challenges of Breaking the Reactive IT Cycle

By Robert Autorino

Companies have increasingly become reliant on technology, but often lack the knowledge, experience, skill or people to properly implement the processes and technology to manage IT assets. This results in disparate IT systems, siloed organizational processes and the consumption of unnecessary costs. Companies are spending most of their time in a seemingly never-ending Reactive cyclical IT Environment, wasting resources and time and never truly correcting the root of the problem.

Where Do I Start?!

A truly effective IT Asset Management initiative starts before the technological assets have been ordered. C-level executives and Sr. management of organizations understand the importance of data, cost and organizational transparency, to help with business critical decisions and forecasting, future growth and spend.

By taking a holistic, systems agnostic/process oriented approach to IT Asset Management, you will enable your organization to increase business performance, reduce costs, manage risk, increase accountability and gain control of your IT assets without the need to implement or budget yet another costly and time wasting technology solution.

Process is the heart of any ITAM initiative and is a key component to establishing controls and accountability within an organization.

  1. Know where you are: What are you trying to accomplish? Are you focusing on correcting an internal team process gap or are you looking to implement an entire ITAM program? Knowing your organization’s current ITAM functions and concerns is your first step in helping identify money saving solutions. Are we tracking serial numbers in our repository? DO we have a repository? Who can make changes to it? What assets are we tracking?
  2. Find the players: Now that you’ve identified everyone’s issues and concerns, who are the key players in each team that could help you, and in turn you help them, achieve efficiencies? Is it a mid-level manager, the CIO, the VP of datacenters, YOUR manager?
  3. Identify the problem: What problem are you going to address? Each organization has specific issues and you want to ensure you have a clear understanding of the actual problem. Is it a problem? Why? Does Tom, the CIO, have an issue tracking laptop overspend? Is the automation team getting pummeled by Finance to produce exhaustive lists of deployed assets? Is the contract team breathing down the application team’s neck for counts of Oracle licenses in the environment? Is management able to validate whether or not hired contractors are meeting their defined SLAs? Is there a policy in place to do installs, moves, adds and changes?
What about ITSM?!

IT Service Management (ITSM) is a discipline that aligns the delivery of information technology (IT) services with the business needs of the enterprise. It brings together separately managed IT processes and components into a single holistic program.

While these two disciplines are typically implemented in separate areas of the enterprise with entirely different objectives and mandates, their processes are highly interrelated and they share much of the same technology and data to support their implementation. Making a configuration change to an asset? Open a change ticket to track the work. Have an ongoing hardware issue? Historical metrics will help identify reoccurring issues, as well as enable your organization to negotiate with vendors using reliable and quantifiable data. Are users ordering assets using their own credit cards? Request Management!

By aligning your ITAM and ITSM processes, your organization will achieve greater efficiencies. In addition, ITAM information fosters more cost-effective IT Service Management decisions. Knowledge of hardware warranty coverage, support contracts, leasing agreements, and unused inventory enable front line IT staff to quickly determine which option not only meets the operational requirement, but will do so quickly and at lower cost to the enterprise.

Now What?!

Implementing new ITAM initiatives are both exciting and challenging.

They are exciting because you, as the ITAM champion, are a force for good and are continually seeking to fix what “needs-a- fixin.’” You are the organization’s policeman, ensuring processes are followed and that law-breakers (in this case process breakers) are identified, dealt with swiftly, headquarters (key players…see above) is notified of the damage and communications are sent as to what the corrective course of actions were. Signed, sealed, and delivered.

They are challenging for two major reasons. First, because you are going to come face to face with many people who refuse to change “the way it is always been done.” These single-focused people either do not see or refuse to see the whole picture. They are content with the daily monotony of maintaining the status quo, flying below the radar and are determined not to change or make waves. Change is inevitable, both in life and within our organizations and those that do not, or will not; assist with your ITAM initiatives (basically trying to save your organization a lot of money) will quickly become irrelevant and outdated.

New ITAM initiatives are also challenging because of budgetary issues. Whether you need more headcount (resources), better technology (new ITAM repository), or the re-use of current organizational personnel, organizational resource time and money are, more often than not, pre-allocated or follow a specific budgetary cycle that may/may not fit within your identified timeframes. As much as we want (and can show) hard dollar savings, there just may not be the time/budget dollars available to get the ball rolling on your ITAM initiative when you want it.

All Hope is Not Lost!

It’s always best to quantify your savings. I’ve seen both small and global organizations move mountains (…not literally!) to get an ITAM initiative started because they had a strong foundation based on good, quantifiable metrics. Organizations are not opposed to change; they are opposed to unnecessary risk. By detailing (preferably low) risks and presenting (preferably high) rewards, you are (almost) guaranteeing yourself a strong backing and full organizational support for your ITAM initiative!

ITAM takes time. It is focusing on one small step at a time. There will be challenges, there will be victories. Keeping your focus on the long term vision will guide you through the ebbs and flows of organizational challenges. Before long, you’ll be driving forward, making progress more quickly and efficiently. What you initially thought was impossible, you’ve gone and made possible.

See you out there!

About the Author

Robert Autorino is the Director- Global ITAM Portfolio Management and Solutions for Re-Source Partners Asset Management, Inc.