Enterprise IT Asset Management (ITAM)

By Annaliza Bradley

The Information Technology (IT) industry changes rapidly and it is imperative that companies stay diligent in their efforts to manage their IT assets (desktops, laptops, software licenses, phones, servers, switches, etc.). Developing and implementing an enterprise ITAM program that enforces compliance, mitigates risks, increases return on investment, secures data and proprietary information, reduces capital and expense costs, supports business continuity, enables business growth and sustainability, reduces gaps in operational procedures, and effectively protects the integrity of the organization’s brand is truly an investment that pays for itself.

The implementation of a robust enterprise ITAM program will allow the organization to:
  • develop IT hardware and software standards that support self-service catalogs and data normalization
  • ensure IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) partners are reviewed and vetted properly so disposal, donation, and resale processes adhere to local, state, and federal compliance laws and regulations
  • assist in the management of hardware, software, mobile, and ITAD budgets (forecasting, depreciation, actuals, cost avoidance, average cost of a workstation, etc.)
  • manage and create repeatable processes within the organization to ensure objectives are met, value is maximized, and risks are minimized
  • implement software inventory controls to link license entitlements, utilization, end user, location, and documentation for all software products throughout the enterprise
  • manage the tracking and inventory of IT assets throughout the organization to ensure that each IT asset is properly identified and discoverable; asset tagging, agents, etc.
  • maintain visibility into the software asset process to uncover savings, reduce support costs, eliminate unallocated entitlements, and maintain contractual compliance
  • coordinate, identify, and maximize the value of vendor partnerships by evaluating performance against Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and assessing quality of services
  • ensure the enterprise deploys software according to the terms of contractual agreements
  • develop tool agnostic processes that streamline manual processes and improve productivity
  • ensure software is harvested from hardware before the hardware is redeployed or submitted for disposition
  • execute, coordinate, and close out ITAM related strategic and tactical projects
  • develop communications that educate the enterprise on the necessity of the ITAM program and to promote the ITAM program’s adoption throughout its implementation
  • ensure hardware assets placed into disposition status in the database have certificates of destruction stored indefinitely for future reference
  • manage the acquisition, storage, deployment, refresh, and disposition of IT assets
  • prepare the organization for software audits so costly fines are avoided
  • bridge education and communication between the business and the IT department
  • establish, distribute, and enforce ITAM program policies and procedures

The following are five high level milestones that can be used while developing and implementing an enterprise ITAM program (it is important to keep in mind that there are multiple variables that affect the time it takes to develop and implement an enterprise ITAM program: no executive support, no funding for tools or developer hours to integrate data from multiple systems into one CMDB, limited resources or no resources dedicated to ITAM, lack of resources with ITAM industry and best practices skills, no tracking or manual tracking of IT assets in spreadsheets, no enforcement of ITAM policies or no ITAM policies, etc.):

1. Create a baseline of the ITAM program’s current state
a) Interview stakeholders and gather pain points
b) Document processes and workflows
c) Review policies and tools

2. Use ITAM industry best practices to identify gaps

3. Fill gaps incrementally until processes integrate into one end-to-end lifecycle
a) Create and edit policies
b) Enhance or implement processes
c) Renegotiate contracts and agreements (terms, SLAs, etc.)
d) Design tool infrastructure (data mapping, automation, API, etc.)

4. Report quarterly metrics to stakeholders
a) Reference baseline to showcase ITAM program maturity

5. Enhance ITAM program until you reach a proactive state

About the Author

Annaliza Bradley holds a Master of Science in Information Technology from William Howard Taft University. She earned CITAM, CHAMP, CSAM, and CITAD certifications through IAITAM. She has been an IT leader for over 10 years developing and implementing enterprise ITAM programs in global Fortune 500 organizations. She is passionate that IT Asset Managers have a fiduciary duty to create tool-agnostic policies, processes, and controls that enforce compliance and governance while reducing costs and mitigating risks. She has saved millions of dollars throughout her IT career and those funds were reinvested into the organization’s strategic growth to support scalability and sustainability.