One of the things I hear most often whenever I attend a conference are questions about how to build or grow an IT Asset Management program. It seems that no matter what advances have been made in our industry, most of us struggle to get our voices heard. So how do we build our programs and get the attention we deserve? While I can’t promise success, there are several actions or steps that each of us can take to improve our chances:
Become a Subject Matter Expert (SME)
According to a number of different resources, a Subject Matter Expert is someone who has special, in-depth knowledge of a business area (i.e. they are a recognized authority for a given knowledge area). So how do you become a SME? Get certified, take training, attend conferences, participate in on-line information sessions, become involved in activities that impact on aspects of ITAM – ISO, Best Practices, speak at conferences, write articles for industry publication. In other words, build depth to your Asset Management skills.
Align yourself with the corporate and business goals
Do you know what the goals of your organization are? Can you map your efforts to those goals? If not, find out! Most organizations publish, at least internally, their goals, objectives and initiatives for the year. Find out what they are and find ways to link your efforts. If the main objective is to save money, highlight your cost savings and cost avoidance efforts to showcase your alignment. If the organization is looking to streamline or build efficiencies, look for ways to align your efforts with other departments like desktop support and the help desk.
Create metrics, reports and dashboards that convey information that management needs to know
It’s all about integration and alignment with your organization. What are the IT Service Management efforts that dovetail with Asset Management? If the Help Desk validates any data when a person calls for assistance, how can you leverage that? If a Desktop Technician touches a laptop when doing support, what information can be gathered or generated that provides necessary data for both efforts? What about Financial Management? If there are efforts to provide more transparency about spend, can you provide metrics or reporting that supports that effort? Management makes better decisions when they have clear, concise information. Find ways to provide it.
Create a plan
Outline what steps you can take to create a program that supports the corporate and business goals up to 5 years out. At my company, we call this a “shaping Curve” – yours may call it a 5-year project plan. This one page summary outlines the vision, major steps and areas for development. Remember to map your efforts to your company’s goals.
Speak Up! Develop your “elevator” speech
Let people know what you are doing, how you are working for the greater good and show them your plan. Participate in other teams’ meetings to share information and provide support for their initiatives. When you get the word out, you stand a greater chance of gaining support and momentum along the way.
Lastly, be patient
As the saying goes “A big ship turns slowly.” Don’t expect that you’ll give your spiel one day and the next week your plans will be in motion. Change comes in increments. Be consistent in your message and your efforts. It’ll pay off in the long run.
Two years ago, after an all-day brainstorming session, I put together a plan to grow my team and expand our scope. I took the best of the ideas and created a 5 year plan (shaping curve) which I then backed up with supporting information on where we had been and how this new Center of Excellence model could support the corporate goals. I got an audience with the IT Leadership Team and made my presentation. The concept and ideas were enthusiastically endorsed.
What happened next? Pretty much nothing changed. Other projects and competing needs overshadowed my hopes and plans for expanding our program. However, at every opportunity, I revisited the presentation with the decision makers and slowly, almost imperceptibly, change started to happen. I’m proud to say that this past summer we launched the Software Compliance, Maintenance and Controls Center of Excellence with 9 full time employees. Change is possible with patience, hard work and a little luck.