In my vast experience, I have seen many ITAM initiatives either stall or fail. Even when traveling to clients around the globe, I found similar results based on the initiative losing momentum because the team members were unaware of “what to do.” As they reached out to me for help, I always ask about their ITAM mission statement and have found that many cannot succinctly describe this, which communicates that the foundational part of their initiative has not been defined. This obviously creates risk to the initiative from a number of different aspects including lack of leadership focus within the team. Almost more important is the risk from lack of a clear objective as ITAM leadership communicates goals and value to Senior Management.
This article is about defining an ITAM mission statement. A mission statement defines the purpose of your efforts within the organization. An ITAM mission statement needs to clearly define and map to how ITAM supports the overall mission and goals of IT which, therefore, supports the corporate mission. Typically, in the commercial space, this would link to profitability, but most ITAM practitioners find the connection between the operational aspects of IT to the business financial objectives difficult to articulate. For instance, think about how a successful ITAM initiative supports sales through management of the CRM infrastructure, how ITAM supports the reduction of cycle times in manufacturing, etc. Both are valid organizational goals that ITAM directly impacts.
The following is an example of an ITAM mission statement which will provide you with a template and ideas on how to build your own to support your ITAM initiative:
ITAM Mission, Goals, and Objectives
Mission Statement: To provide a highly reliable, scalable, secure, and cost effective IT Asset Management solution including technology(ies), processes, and policies that the organization leverages to manage tasks and activities that manage an asset’s (asset = any item that has business value; e.g. business service, physical/virtual hardware, software license, application management, etc.) lifecycle within the organization.
- Possible ineffective use of assets
- Long time to deliver services
- Uncertainty of IT asset portfolio
- Ineffectively managing distribution of our products and services properly
- Uncertainty of project and maintenance costs
- Possible regulatory risks
- Optimizing the tracking and management of IT assets
- Capturing the attributes related to delivering IT assets
- Obtaining a holistic view of the IT asset portfolio
- Effectively managing/tracking IT assets
- Capturing and reporting costs of IT assets and related services
- Providing financial and operational insight about the IT asset portfolio within the enterprise
Although this may seem “basic” to many of us, it is the foundational piece that is critical to the overall success and longevity of a sound and successful ITAM practice. In my experience, eight out of 10 discussions I have had with clients culminate in understanding that this is an important communication and that the ties to corporate and IT organizational understanding do not exist. Additional drivers that may be important to you may include: software asset management, reconciliation of procurement and discovered inventory devices, expanding your ITAM focus beyond hardware asset management or IT and alignment with other operational technologies such as your service desk and/or CMDB; etc. Each driver is important to ITAM, but each may occur at different phases within your ITAM journey and is clearly dependent upon your specific mission and goals for the ITAM initiative.
The 4 steps to define an ITAM mission statement include:
Step 1: Look for Organizational Goals
Goals are found in different areas of the organization. Search your intranet, ask your manager/director, ask your CIO, and/or ask your CEO as they will provide insight about where they can be found. Another great resource is your organization’s 10K or Financial Statement. It has great foundational organizational goals that can be leveraged for this effort. Note: Asking your management for assistance with this step will bring some intriguing looks of interest where you will need to report back to that team member once your mission statement is defined.
Step 2: Define your Mission Statement, Business Drivers, and Objectives related to ITAM
By understanding the mission, business drivers, and objectives within the organization, this provides the opportunity to define and align them from an ITAM perspective. This is a turning point within your initiative where ITAM is focused to help the business be successful.
Step 3: Review with Management
Reviewing your mission statement, business drivers, and objectives with management provides you: 1) the ability to obtain feedback and insight from senior management, 2) confirmation that your ITAM mission is aligned with organizational goals and objectives, 3) a foundation for your ITAM initiative, and 4) communication and visibility to senior management, which highlights the importance of ITAM to the overall corporate and IT mission and creates longevity for the initiative and long-term funding.
Step 4: Publish and Communicate
Upon the agreement and confirmation from management, it is now important to publish the mission, goals and objectives on your intranet site as a point of reference. This will be the foundation to your future ITAM activities. Since the success of ITAM is dependent upon strict governance to policies and procedures, communicating the importance of the initiative and how it ties to supporting the overall corporate mission is critical for the Business Units (BUs) and BU ownership to understand. This understanding decreases the number of ITAM rogue events (i.e. buying outside of process whether that be for HW, SW or even cloud provisioning) at the BU level as well as IT’s ability to meet SLAs or OLAs negotiated with the BUs (whether chargebacks are occurring or not). Let’s not forget about the governance that ITAM also provides to the organization. For instance, ITAM supports software compliance, which is part of your organization’s standards of business conduct and that decreases software financial and legal risk.
This exercise is a huge advancement within any ITAM journey. Defining a mission statement about what you do, how you will do it, and who is involved sets many expectations within the organization. Upon completion, you can define the roadmap of milestones that are achievable within your organization for the next steps. It will help identify the resources (e.g. process, people, technology) needed to help make the initiative successful. In addition, this can be leveraged within team meetings and those within management or amongst your peers to ensure project alignment.
The following services are examples of offerings available to help customers evolve their ITAM objectives:
- ITAM Maturity & Strategy Roadmap Services
- ITAM Trusted Advisor Services
- ITAM Reference Model Processes & Enablement Services
- ITAM Technology Software Solutions
- ITAM Deployment Solutions
- ITAM/SAM Solution Training Services
- SAM Compliance Technology Services
While the list above is not exhaustive, it does highlight a holistic view that successful ITAM “solutions” are made up of people, process and technology working in harmony. In fact, 80% of a successful solution relates to people and processes aligned to the core mission, with the remaining 20% the technology solutions (i.e. automation, discovery, asset and financial repository and reporting capabilities). The most important aspect of a successful ITAM initiative relates to the ability to manage and track accurate information through one lens as the single source of truth for the asset. To bring this concept full circle, it is imperative that the corporate and IT mission and goals are tied to the ITAM initiative or stakeholders may fall short of what senior management believes the value of ITAM truly is.
Consider that the ITAM solution is the ERP system for IT; from which flows counts of assets, costs of assets, ties to overall service costing, with assets as the underpinning and foundational layer. Without ITAM, IT is running its business without one of its most important tools.