Fishing for ITAM ROI – Examining Sources to the ROI Stream

By Leslie June

Have you ever had one of those days when you woke up with a plan in hand for how the day was going to unfold? Then, alas – something came up to put a crimp in your plan! Maybe an unexpected rain shower or, a call from a friend in need…before you know it the day takes an unexpected turn.

The same thing can happen with ITAM projects – organizational changes, technology issues, new business initiatives that supersede EVERYTHING – you get the drift.

It reminds me of the times I awoke to a promising sunny day in the mountains of Montana, a day to head to the stream and catch a few Rainbows for dinner. I’d head off, rod in hand and dry flies pinned to my vest, only to encounter a rain storm coming ‘round the mountain. Whoa! Time for Plan B! Fortunately I always kept a few streamers and a knotted leader in my vest pocket for situations like this. Instead of casting my dry fly neatly on the surface and watching for that beautiful rise so I could spring into action and pop my fish securely on my line, I would instead cast my streamer across the spring and gradually mend it toward me until I felt that tug that required my response. While the action plan took a turn, the result was still the same – a tidy catch for the fry pan and a scrumptious dinner around the corner!

In a corporate environment watching the bottom line, on-going results are expected after initial benefits have been delivered. To sustain ROI, it is always important to have a Plan B…and C. While not a source of direct revenue, ITAM reaps cash benefits in terms of hardware, software, and contract spending reductions as well as risk avoidance and the corresponding penalty savings. A sound ITAM program leads to operational savings as well, lowering the cost of maintenance, support, and service.

A comprehensive strategic implementation plan should always address at least two ROI opportunities in each phase. If one targeted source doesn’t work out, the second source can be relied on. Ultimately, a mature ITAM program will address several ROI types that can demonstrate results throughout the financial year.

Let’s take a closer look at our fishing challenge. As we survey the stream, think about what fish need to survive such as food, oxygen, and shelter. Their food comes down the stream most heavily in the current running through the channel that also provides the most oxygen. Rocks, trees, and banks provide shelter. Examining the stretch of the Gallatin River shown in the following photo, we see:

In order to maximize the opportunity for a successful outing, one in which we bring home fish for dinner, it’s best to be prepared to try all possibilities. Fishing each of these areas may require variations in technique, equipment, and flies. And, fishing the same stretch in a variety of weather conditions and seasons will require adaptation to the stream conditions. Strategies for spawning season when the river is low and fish are migrating upstream are different from those in spring after snowmelt when the river is high and major fly hatches are on.

The same concept applies in planning an ITAM program that will sustain ROI. To achieve maximum success throughout the year, we have to be prepared to adapt to the financial season, the asset lifecycle and business initiatives to sustain demonstrable results.

The following diagram illustrates the Asset Lifecycle with ROI opportunities noted:

As we see in the following table each ROI opportunity comes with an investment, a risk, and a yield:

Table 1: ITAM ROI Opportunities, Investments, Risks, and Yields

The underlying assumption is that there is a central asset management repository that has been base-lined and is being maintained by an asset management team, just as the underlying assumption of the fishing metaphor is that there is a river nearby and an eager fisher equipped with rod, reel and flies!

Stay tuned for future articles elaborating on the continuously flowing stream of ITAM ROI opportunities presented here, their challenges, real life examples, and strategic planning for year round sustained ROI!

Wishing you tight lines!

About the Author

Leslie June is the Business Process Consultant for Linium, LLC.