As IT Asset Management (ITAM) professionals, we want to know how the ITAM program at the organization we work for stacks up against other organizations. With information on the similarities with other organizations, we find validation in the strengths and comfort in the common weaknesses of our organization’s ITAM program. When differences are revealed between our program and another, we receive input on what we need to focus on and what might be holding our ITAM program back compared to others (insufficient executive support perhaps?).
The IAITAM Practitioner Survey provides insight into the state of the organization and the individuals conducting the ITAM programs within those organizations. It definitely provides input to what can be achieved and the possible directions where effort can be applied to achieve more. The survey taps into the characteristics of organizations and the people working in similar capacities across the globe.
At the close of 2015, ITAM practitioners were asked to submit responses to a 27-question survey about themselves, their role and their view of ITAM within their organizations. The survey was available on-line for approximately 90 days. Nearly 500 respondents contributed to the survey results, an almost five times growth in the participation in the survey due to the expanded reach through social media. Response tallies were confirmed by the IAITAM office team. Results are presented individually as percentages and where appropriate, compared to the previous years’ survey results.
Answers to general questions about the organization have a primary benefit of clarifying the perspective and experiences of the people participating in the survey. They also provide insight into the acceptance and support that ITAM receives within the organization. Reporting structures and staffing indicate a level of commitment, although the results have to be considered against the size of the organization.
The people responding to the survey work for organizations that span industry classifications, with banking/finance, health care, insurance and information technology organizations continuing to lead in percentage of respondents (46%) as they have since the profession formalized in 2002. All sizes of organizations are represented although 51% work for organizations of more than 10,000 employees.
More Report at a Higher Level
The number of respondents in management level positions fell again this year to 42.4% from 47% in 2014 and 61% in the 2012. The interesting fact associated with that “drop” is that more respondents report to a director or higher despite the lower percentage of management level positions. In addition to the 59.3% that have a boss who is an IT director or higher, an additional 2.3% responded in the “other” category as reporting to an individual at director or higher positions outside of IT (such as governance, procurement and finance). In comparison, only 54% of the 2014 survey’s respondents reported a high-level boss.
Is ITAM Incorporated into Organizational Infrastructure?
Although the size of staff remains variable due to a number of legitimate organizational factors, the recognition of ITAM in the job description is a significant indicator for the formal recognition of ITAM. Unfortunately, the results are mixed. Overall, the presence of formal job descriptions for ITAM roles fell from over 75% in the last two previous surveys to 72.3%.
However, when looking at the numbers of individuals with ITAM responsibilities as part of their job descriptions, the results are more encouraging:
Another infrastructure acceptance criterion about budgets did not fare well this year. The percentage of organizations with separate budgets for ITAM dropped under 41% this year instead of almost half of the 2014 respondents. This is a trend to watch in future surveys.
Individuals with job titles specific to ITAM or a Key Process Area within ITAM was a healthy 69%, only slightly down from just over 70% in 2014. A majority of the rest of the respondents (16.4%) had titles that were specific to IT but did not mention ITAM. An additional 4.9% had other types of management titles.
As ITAM becomes more formalized within the organization’s structure, a requirement for certification might be expected and that result is positive; rising from 14% in 2014 to 22.3% in this year’s survey. According to the respondents, the majority of their organizations take continuing education and professional certification seriously:
Commitment of Staff
In most of the organizations that respondents worked for, the IT Asset Management staff members are all employees (over 64%). Another 27.1% are mostly employees with a few temporary staff. Those with an even match of temporary and permanent workers or more temporary/outsourced workers are less than 9%.
Along with commitment to staff as employees, the level of dedication to ITAM is significant. A job description with ITAM defined in it is an empty commitment if there is no time given to execute those tasks. That does not seem to be the case this year as there are positive results for the time allotted for executing ITAM tasks:
Perception of ITAM Value
For a subjective view on the degree of acceptance that ITAM receives, respondents are asked how they feel IT Asset Management is valued by their peers and the executives of the organization. The value perceived by others is an indicator for how much support ITAM receives from funding to participation. The overall trend of perceived value (when all the value answers from “somewhat” to “utmost” value are totaled) is over 80% as it was in the previous survey. The chart below contrasts the latest results with the results from previous surveys:
Who are these Professionals?
To evaluate the responses best, some information about the individuals answering the questions is helpful. These answers can also provide data about career trends for ITAM.
In the following tables, the age of the respondents and educational levels achieved are presented and compared to the answers from previous years.
For some insight into career trajectories, a survey question asked what department the respondents worked in prior to ITAM. Most of the respondents previously worked in some capacity as part of the IT department although a sizeable minority (almost 11%) came from procurement or finance. These results are consistent with the results of IAITAM’s previous surveys.
In the modern age of frequent job changes, ITAM professionals seem to beat the odds. Longevity with the organization remains a characteristic of these practitioners:
The specific ITAM roles held by an individual can be a unique combination depending on how the organizational chart divides the tasks. The decision is influenced by the maturity of the ITAM program, the breadth of the organization (numbers of offices, countries, divisions may all impact ITAM) and the level of executive support. That complexity makes it difficult to develop standards for staffing and structure since ITAM flexes with the nature of the organization.
To gain some understanding of the roles that the respondents have, they were asked to check yes if they held any role that is part of the processes for Software Asset Management, Hardware Asset Management or Mobile Asset Management. Software “wins” as it is part of the work for 80.7% of the survey respondents. Hardware is a close second with 71.7% having hardware responsibilities. Mobile asset management responsibilities were less common with only 34.2% having mobile as part of their responsibilities. Of those that added a check mark to the “other” category, answers typically reflected a specific process area within ITAM such as audit, disposal or vendor management.
Another way to describe the roles in a meaningful way is to use the important documents during the life of the asset as commonly understood touchpoints. These give a specific reference to describe what each individual respondent is responsible for. The results offer a satisfying look into the details of what these people are doing at a practical level:
Although the respondents were not asked how long they had worked with these documents, the survey did ask the length of time that the respondents had the roles that they were describing. The results supported the idea of knowledgeable individuals, with almost 87% with more than a year’s worth of overall experience and most with much more.
Looking at the Big Picture
With the rapid change of technology, the IT Asset Management profession is always facing new challenges and 2016 looks like it will continue that trend. Some of the information shared with IAITAM helps gauge the value of ITAM positions and the expectations for ITAM during the rest of 2016 and beyond.
Despite the continual “improvements” in technology, the role of the IT Asset Management team seems to be as important as ever if salary is considered an indicator. There is no dramatic shift in remuneration reported by the ITAM professionals that responded to the survey. The table below offers a comparison of respondent salaries since 2011.
Goals for 2016
What are IT Asset Management professionals working on in 2016? When presented with a series of possible goals, over 40% of respondents identified the following goals as those that they are pursuing this year.
This survey provides food for thought on what organizations are focusing on within ITAM and how the positions within ITAM are valued. While the results are insightful, they do not provide a definitive yes or no on specific actions. It is likely that there are too many variables to draw dramatic conclusions, but the goals for 2016, value perceived by others and the salaries being received all point to continued progress for the profession.