IT asset management (ITAM) is an increasingly popular IT management discipline, with 2022 Axelos research data showing that ITAM is the seventh most adopted IT service management (ITSM) capability (ITAM was added to ITIL in ITIL 4):
|Service request management
But it’s such a wide-ranging IT management capability that it can be challenging to understand where to start and how to ensure that initial ITAM investments deliver sufficient benefits to engender future ITAM growth.
To help, this blog looks at what ITAM is and how best to align it with your organisation’s corporate asset management needs.
The Corporate Drivers for ITAM
When trying to understand how to align your existing or new ITAM capabilities with corporate asset management needs, in addition to knowing the business perspective, it’s important to understand the key drivers for ITAM.
A good explanation of ITAM’s drivers can be found in the ITIL 4 ITAM practice guide, which offers the following ITAM purpose statement:
“…to plan and manage the full lifecycle of all IT assets, to help the organisation:
- maximise value
- control costs
- manage risks
- support decision-making about the purchase, re-use, retirement, and disposal of IT assets
- meet regulatory and contractual requirements”.
Your organisation might want to focus on one or more of these bulleted drivers or perhaps something else too. For example, it might wish ITAM to play a role in improving the employee experience delivered by IT.
It will ultimately depend on the key corporate goals and strategies, including how they have been distilled into IT strategies. For example, cost efficiency might be a key priority for the organisation, and ITAM can definitely help. Although, in this case, it’s likely that the ITAM focus on cost efficiency can’t ignore the need for risk management in the form of software compliance.
There Might also be a Corporate Focus on Certain Asset Types
In addition to aligning your ITAM capabilities to business strategies, there might also be the corporate requirement to focus on a particular asset type across:
- Hardware assets such as PCs and Macs, mobile devices, and high-value peripherals. Plus, data centre, network, and telecom equipment.
- Software assets, including operating systems, middleware, and applications on physical and virtual machines (VMs).
- Data assets that need to comply with regulations and be protected against leaks and cyberattacks.
- Cloud assets that include not only the subscription costs associated with cloud services but also the licensed software used within infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities.
The last of these asset types is a good reminder that ITAM needs to cover all the corporate environments, including development, testing, staging, production, training, and cloud.
Maturity is Important in ITAM
When aligning ITAM capabilities with corporate asset management needs, it’s essential to factor in the level of corporate ITAM maturity. Otherwise, it’s likely to be the proverbial “trying to run before you can walk” – with higher-level ITAM capabilities adversely affected by the lack of effective ITAM “basics”. For example, network discovery capabilities help provide the asset data vital to software license optimisation – without the former, the latter will be problematic. In fact, any organisation is going to struggle with ITAM in the absence of an accurate asset inventory.
This need for maturity also extends to ITAM tooling – whether ITAM tools, ITSM tools with ITAM capabilities, or both. While corporate IT assets can be managed using a spreadsheet, this will likely affect the available ITAM capabilities and their effectiveness. For example, in addition to the increased probability of data inaccuracies caused by manual error, software licensing efforts will struggle without software title normalisation capabilities or the ability to understand complex licensing agreements. In many ways, using a fit-for-purpose tool supplements the need for experienced ITAM personnel – whether related to the knowledge needed to optimise software use or workflow automation to speed up ITAM processes.
IT is not the Only Business Function to Benefit from ITAM
Notwithstanding the opportunity to extend ITAM capabilities outside of IT, perhaps as part of an enterprise service management strategy, such that other lines of business can improve their asset management capabilities, it’s essential to appreciate the corporate reliance on ITAM data beyond cost optimisation and software license compliance. For instance, in meeting the needs of:
- Procurement – where ITAM data can inform purchasing decisions and contract renewals to reduce costs.
- Finance –where ITAM data informs financial decision-making around business-as-usual and project needs.
- Security management – where asset data facilitates patch management and the risks of using non-approved software and hardware.
- Change management –where asset data helps inform business-change decisions in terms of impact, risks, and costs.
Looking at the ITAM Use Cases of Other Organisations
In the absence of a clear business steer on the desired focus for ITAM investments, or perhaps as a sense check of existing ITAM strategies, research data on the drivers for ITAM is helpful. The Deloitte 2022-23 ITAM Survey found that the top five drivers for ITAM are:
- Cost optimisation (cost reduction and avoidance) – 83%
- Reducing financial exposure from vendor audits – 60%
- Enabling greater visibility to ensure cost-effective and efficient management of IT assets – 54%
- Compliance with organisational and external (vendor) requirements – 51%
- Driving efficiencies by removing overhead from IT asset inventory management, software deployment, etc. – 37%.
This research data reinforces the common dual focus of ITAM on cost optimisation and software license compliance.
What this all Means When Aligning your ITAM Capabilities with Corporate Asset Management Needs
There’s much to consider when aligning ITAM with corporate asset management needs. Not all of the above factors will be relevant to your organisation. Still, it’s important to ensure that strategic drivers, asset-type focus, existing ITAM maturity, non-IT needs, and industry trends are all brought into the decision-making mix.
Want to learn more about how HaloITSM can help you to align your ITAM with your organisation’s asset management needs? Use the button below to schedule a session with our expert team!