Mistakes Not to Make When Implementing an ITAM/SAM Program – Addressing Governance

GettyImages-598097924[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@patriciaadams @LANDESK” display_mode=”button_link”]Mistakes Not to Make When Implementing an ITAM/SAM Program[/tweetthis]

When it comes to IT and software asset management (ITAM/SAM), or any new IT project, it is critical to ensure that the program is successful the first time it is rolled out.

Without early successes, it is difficult to maintain ongoing business unit buy-in and senior management endorsement. Support from the wider teams may also be difficult to maintain leading to processes that aren’t followed and tools with inaccurate data.

Therefore, finding the low-hanging fruit that can yield savings quickly is imperative. These low-hanging, hard-dollar savings opportunities are mostly process and policy driven, and should be on every asset manager’s tactical, short-term, 18-month roadmap. The longer-term, strategic projects that require time-based data can also yield concrete savings but will require automation and integrations to make them viable.

To ensure project success, learning the mistakes that others have made when implementing ITAM/SAM can go a long way toward ensuring you don’t make the same mistakes that led to program failure. With that in mind, we have identified mistakes within the four key areas that define a successful ITAM/SAM program:

  1. Governance
  2. Process
  3. Policy
  4. Automation

There is a natural progression in these four areas because automation is not going to contain accurate data unless process and policy are being adhered to.

If governance isn’t addressed early on, the whole program could be based on quicksand that shifts every time a new business or IT project comes up. I call it the “follow the shiny thing” strategy. When C-level executive priorities pivot, ITAM/SAM strategy should support the new direction, but it must still focus on the fundamentals that make a corporate-wide program effective while being agile.

Governance is foundational to ensure ITAM/SAM program success

Having said all of that, let me begin by stating that governance is foundational to ensure ITAM/SAM program success. Without senior managers, at the Chief Executive, VP and Director level in finance and/or IT operations, and key stakeholders in intersecting IT domains, endorsing and supporting ongoing program investment, most programs are unlikely to be in place beyond 18 months.

Alternately, the program might be realigned to a different reporting structure in the hopes that a different senior executive can have a positive impact. When programs are realigned to a different reporting structure they can quickly lose momentum while the executive learns about what wasn’t working.

To prevent this from happening, it is critical to document the urgent problems and the “wish list” problems that should be solved, and segmenting them into tactical and strategic on the ITAM/SAM roadmap. These problems should correlate to the projects that the CIO, CEO, CTO, CFO, CISO are focused on. If digital business, security, new ERP system, cloud applications, and/or mobile are priorities for the coming year, ensure that the ITAM/SAM roadmap focuses on how it can assist with delivery of those goals. Senior managers like to see how a shared service, such as ITAM/SAM, is going to enable the big picture projects as well.

Following this suggestion to start with governance will help make your ITAM/SAM programs effective and support will be ongoing, not just at the beginning.  Having executive sponsorship early on is critical to maintain buy-in as changes and disruptions occur to the business. There won’t be a question about what type of value ITAM/SAM is returning because it is part of the larger team delivering value at every step.

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Patricia Adams | IT Asset Management Evangelist

Patricia Adams is an industry expert who has more than 21 years of experience at Gartner. As a research director for Gartner, she was the lead analyst for IT hardware and software asset management tools and best practices. Her research coverage area included midrange tape storage, CMDB, change management, dependency mapping tools, discovery tool, and ITIL. Throughout it all, her primary focus was advising companies on how to establish governance programs unique to their organizations, build the business case for ITAM, measure the success of the program, design policies, define roles and responsibilities, implement tools, and build a strategic road map for integrating ITAM into other domains.

Adams spoke annually with federal, state, and local governments, as well as hundreds of companies across industries (e.g., higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services) ranging from 1000 employees to global organizations that treated ITAM as a shared service and needed advice on centralizing the program. Her advice was especially relevant to organizations that needed an effective life-cycle management strategy that met organization and regulatory requirements.

While at Gartner, Adams developed the first Gartner TCO model for storage and the groundbreaking IT Asset Management Maturity model in 2001, which has been leveraged by many customers and vendors.