When do spreadsheets run out of steam for ITAM?

IT Asset Discovery – great start in ITAM – but only a start

Organizations adopt IT asset management disciplines for a wide variety of reasons, at different rates of maturity, and at different stages of the organization’s growth. The term IT asset management is used to refer to a broad spectrum of capability and achievement. Basic, but automated, discovery and inventory of the organization’s IT assets can be a big step up for an organization that has until then relied on clip board walk-round. At the other end, sophisticated budgeting, tracking, optimization, compliance and other activities also come under the IT asset management label.

Does big mean sophisticated for ITAM?

It would be easy to think that the larger an organization is, so the more sophisticated it will be in its IT asset management disciplines. This is not what we have found. A large organization will often have grown organically, and with no single IT asset management tools deployed universally it can be a nightmare simply cataloging the assets for the whole organization. Management attitude is also crucial in deciding to what level ITAM will be taken. If the IT team themselves simply need a tool to find, map and catalog all the hardware and software they are supposed to look after, that may be as far as it goes; software license compliance and optimization is someone else’s problem. If someone high enough up has the vision of what can be achieved with IT Asset Management and Software Asset Management (SAM) in particular, then it can happen for the smallest of organizations. With a smaller management structure that can take decisions more easily, the 1,000 PC organization may have a champion that can communicate the vision to the CEO and CFO.

Organization culture and ITAM/SAM attitudes

One of the most interesting aspects of developing relationships with new prospects is understanding where they are on this evolution, and what drove them to decide to move futher ahead. Analyzed down, there are issues of good governance that should be important in stimulating the adoption of ITAM/SAM disciplines but which are not recognized at the appropriate level in the organization. Exploring these issues with the CEO, the CFO and even  the chief legal officer, can often result in a greater top-down commitment to a project which was initially born out of a desperate operational problem for the hands-on IT team.

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