ITAM enables valuable insights to support the organization’s strategic decision-making process. As options are evaluated, selections made, and deployments are undertaken, ITAM provides the best data to help an organization make the right technology choices and maximize its return on investments over time
Ready, Set, Elevate
Software Asset Management (SAM) is the software component of an ITAM platform. SAM starts with normalizing and reconciling two key inputs, purchase and entitlement records, and discovered software usage. After matching usage to purchases and entitlements, you can determine where license shortages may exist, as well as if there are any entitlements that are not being used, which could be more appropriately reallocated. Once those situations are identified, SAM can define actionable workflows to correct any possible discrepancies.
The ITAM process helps deliver value across the full IT asset lifecycle by enabling self-service requests, simplifying and streamlining purchasing, automating and orchestrating deployments, detecting current usage, reconciling usage against licenses and entitlements, proactively managing service issues, and efficiently retiring end-of-life assets. Creating effective governance—including appropriate policies, procedures, and frameworks—helps ensure that ITAM is approached as a structured process rather than an ad hoc activity to reactively address specific use cases, such as semi-annual fixed asset disposal reviews, software audits, and one-off requests.
In addition to effective ITAM processes, you need an ITAM platform that addresses both the current and future needs of your organization: you need a future-proof platform. While there are many options available and no technology is perfectly “future-proof,” a cloud-delivered software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based platform is your best bet.
The SaaS model provides many future-proof, or at least future-ready, advantages, including:
Rapid scalability: The public cloud scales up or down dynamically and quickly to address the needs of your business.
Consumption-based pricing: Teams who manage on-premises software, SaaS, and public cloud usage will all start to merge and need to address hybrid use cases from a central source of truth, a CMDB.
A broad ecosystem of out-of-the-box front-end and back-end integrations: Open application programming interfaces (APIs) and a broad ecosystem of vendors and partners enable rapid discovery and consumption of new asset data from specific vendors and enable ITAM data to be shared across different business units, departments, workflows, and systems within an organization. Open APIs also make it easier to build any new and custom integrations that may not be available out of the box.
Making The Most Of ITAM
Knowing your organization’s ITAM “maturity level” can help you plan the next steps on your journey. Consider the following maturity model and characteristics when evaluating your organization’s ITAM maturity level:
Level 1: Crawl.
When getting started with ITAM, many organizations make the mistake of trying to take on too much at once. This can be an impossible task with potentially hundreds (if not thousands) of different software titles and versions.
Instead, use a more manageable approach by following the “80-20 rule” (also known as the Pareto principle): 80% of your software costs are likely to come from just 20 percent of your software (these are your “Tier 1” publishers).
Typically it’s the software used by most of your users (such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office 365).
If you’ve recently been audited by any of your software publishers or have an upcoming licensing review or renewal, you should also account for those software titles in this phase.
Use SAM to help identify any compliance exposure (not enough licenses to match current usage/entitlements) and cost savings opportunities (such as unused licenses that can be eliminated) in these software titles.
These same principles also apply to ITAM more broadly, including hardware, devices, and other IT assets.
Level 2: Walk.
Next, you need to start working through the other 80% of your IT assets (“Tier 2”) that account for the remaining 20% of your spending. Tier 2 is typically comprised of medium size spend software publishers (such as Citrix, Tableau, Dropbox, and so on) that may not be as widely used across your organization.
After the quick wins identified during Level 1 (Crawl), your cost savings may not be as readily apparent, but there are still savings and efficiencies to be found.
Your goal in this phase is to identify opportunities to improve (or implement) formal processes and workflows such as requisitioning, sourcing, deployment, and retirement of assets.
For example, you might optimize your service catalog to streamline the ordering process for your users and reclaim unused or underused software entitlements and re-allocate them to other users.
Level 3: Run.
Finally, best-in-class organizations elevate ITAM by expanding SAM to include most of their software publishers (though diminishing returns will occur at a point), including one-off software and custom applications. Automation and orchestration of key business processes and workflows are implemented throughout the ITAM lifecycle and extend to other business functions, such as security, application portfolio management teams, human resources, finance, and others. Organizations that achieve Level 3 maturity have successfully elevated ITAM to the highest level.
To conclude - the importance of ITAM and the role it can play in helping you understand and grow your business. IT Asset Management is not some peripheral part of IT—it’s at the very heart of your operations.
Without good ITAM, you’re essentially flying blind, with no idea if you’re losing money or putting the business at risk from security or compliance violations. With proper ITAM in place, you’ll be confident that you’re tracking every bit of hardware and software in your organization, and can produce whatever is needed when the auditors knock on your door. Instead of flying blind, you have a perfect 20/20 vision of the IT assets that keep your business running every day.