Information technology asset management (ITAM) is a practice supported by processes and technologies to manage the physical, contractual and financial aspects of IT assets. A mature ITAM solution will provide data on what assets are owned, where they are located, who is using them and how much they cost.
“An ITAM solution is definitely not onesize-fits-all,” says Peter S. TenEyck, a principal IT asset management consultant for Pomeroy IT Solutions. “It is based on very specific needs uniquely identified for each company, and it can take on many levels of maturity.”
TenEyck adds that no matter what the maturity level may be, it’s best to follow the 80-20 Rule — 80 percent process, 20 percent tool.
Smart Business spoke with TenEyck about ITAM and why it’s so vital in the current economy.
What role does ITAM play in today’s business world?
A major objective of any corporation must be to provide business value through implementation of strategies and by facilitating new technologies. The eventual goal of these investments will be to reduce IT costs and maximize IT asset utilization. In this economy, I believe ITAM will thrive.
A comprehensive, centralized ITAM program can make information available as needed for software license compliance and harvesting, budgeting, chargeback, migration and upgrades. The life cycle data can also assist the IT manager to understand the functional and operational status of assets to effectively manage usage and ownership.
ITAM is also critical to providing effective IT service management. When an IT organization knows what infrastructure it has and where it resides, it can provide service continuity and service availability and can properly manage the costs of IT services.
What problems or issues can arise from ITAM?
There are a couple of different barriers — a technology barrier and an organizational barrier. From the technology side, ITAM solutions are quite different in their approach. Some solutions have strengths in managing the financial aspects, others have greater strengths in managing the contractual relationships, and others are better at integrating with external data sources. In larger corporations, there will be different groups with different needs, all trying to solve a specific need with a single solution. So, while there is a technology barrier, and there is no single tool that can do this today, many are still trying to get around this by taking a couple of different technologies, a couple of different tools, and ‘band-aiding’ those tools together to meet that technology need.
Of the two barriers, the organizational barrier tends to be the greatest. As stated, there will be different silos with vested stakes in an ITAM project. The help desk will want something that will integrate with the help desk software while the CFO wants tight financial data as it may relate to lease contracts or maintenance contracts. These groups need to work together to understand the goals of the company and develop a centralized solution. An investment in ITAM will typically fail if executives do not perform an in-depth look at what the needs and goals are or if they don’t give sponsorship to supporting the project.
What are the consequences a company faces if it doesn’t monitor and/or contain this?
A very common phrase out there is: ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure.’ Many of the consequences (or benefits) are not even realized until a complete assessment is performed and all silos are brought in to the solution design.
The consequences are as follows:
Should a company outsource its ITAM efforts?
There is less than a 25 percent success rate for those companies that design and implement an ITAM solution from within. It is important to develop a strategic and tactical road map that will deliver an effective and supportive solution. A professional ITAM consulting group specializes in performing assessments to determine needs and requirements and can assist in overcoming the technology and operational barriers. The ITAM partner can act as an impartial mediator to hear all input from all silos. Once a design is established, the transition is critical to successful implementation.
PETER S. TENEYCK is a principal IT asset management consultant for Pomeroy IT Solutions. Reach him at email@example.com or (803) 327-5716.