Machine Learning in ITAM Tools

On February 11, 2019, the President of the United States signed an executive order to create the American AI Initiative. The purpose is to utilize federal funds to support the research and commercialization of artificial intelligence. It is also a request for agencies to help workers evolve in their positions in anticipation of AI, and to consider how artificial intelligence will require new laws. Experts are hopeful that in the near future there will be clear goals and a precise amount of funding allocated. Ideally, the initiative will be a step in the right direction for the technology community, but the question for IT Asset Managers is what will AI mean for ITAM?

The concept of artificial intelligence is overwhelming in terms of comprehending how it works and understanding both the short and long-term implications. Future ITAM obstacles include complicated acquisitions, unique licenses to manage, and even new hardware in the form of a robot sitting at the administrative assistant’s desk.

Benefits are also on the horizon. For instance, machine learning, a subcategory of artificial intelligence, uses statistical models that perform a task without receiving explicit instructions from a human. It relies on inferring information from observed patterns. The machine absorbs information and extrapolates the correct actions. What if ITAM tools utilized machine learning? What if it could automatically predict the following:

  • The total cost of ownership and return on investment for an asset
  • The amount of risk of an asset
  • Whether an asset should be leased or purchased
  • When an asset should be retired
  • Whether or not a software product is appropriate
  • The likelihood of executive buy-in
  • Which vendor to use
  • End user satisfaction with an asset
  • If and when an asset should be redeployed
  • When a software patch is will need installed
  • The likelihood of an audit
  • The likelihood of passing an audit
  • The accuracy of a discovery tool
  • Organizing asset repository data
  • Cost savings opportunities
  • Compliance with legislation
  • When terms and conditions may be changed
  • If scope creep for occur in a project
  • If a software should be part of the standard image
  • How often licenses are used
  • Which licenses will not be used
  • The likelihood of a negotiation resulting in a win-win

Artificial intelligence is already influencing organizations. IBM’s Watson creates interactive ad campaigns. Fox Sports uses it to make highlight reels of soccer players. Chatbots answer customer questions. Insurance, shopping, driving, and scheduling are all helped by AI. The newest versions of machine learning review procurement contracts. What a big help that would be for contract managers! Truly the AI of the future will only make IT Asset Manager better.

[1] Life With My Robot Secretary, Mark Wilson, 26 Oct. 2015,
[2] Trump’s Plan to Keep America First in AI, Tom Simonite, 11 Feb. 2019,
[3] How Companies are Using IBM Watson’s AI to Power Business Success, Techworld Staff, 21 Jan. 2019,