ITAM / ITSM / SAM / … – another acronym in time for Christmas?


This blog usually takes its subject matter seriously, but with the UK (where I’m based) gripped in the coldest and snowiest start to winter on record, you will excuse me for appearing lighthearted in the title to this post. Sometimes, a theme can suddenly become popular in our industry, and in the last few weeks various posts on this blog and discussions on LinkedIn have been talking about connection between IT Asset Management and IT Service Management. Change Management is also being positioned by some contributors as vital to the jigsaw puzzle, although simply recording change in Change History is a good start when a help desk analyst is trying to find out why a system started showing instability.

Acronyms – where are they born?

Acronyms can be coined by influential pundits, by influential vendors seeking to establish a unique sales message, or by industry groups. ITIL was established by a previously unknown department of the UK government. I have no idea where ITAM originated, even though I have been involved with IT asset management for over 20 years. So now we have ITSM, ITAM, SAM, ALM, all being used to describe areas of IT infrastructure management. I don’t have an acronym for Change Management, but I guess it lives as a subset of ITAM.

ITAM / ITSM etc – joining it all up

If in 2011 we are going to see more emphasis on trying to connect these functions, what acronym are we going to find to refer to it with? Let’s look at why connections are being pursued. We have the pundits, for example Gartner telling us that “Gartner found that IT organizations can save an estimated 20% to 30% of the total asset life cycle management costs of their PCs by integrating ITAM processes and technologies with IT service desk tools as defined in their publication, Toolkit Decision Framework: The Value of Integrating IT Asset Management and the IT Service Desk.”  That is hard to ignore, but it was offered in response to a LinkedIn Discussion posted by industry expert Sandi Conrad asking for specific instances of identifiable cost savings, which so far has not flushed out any specific cases backed up by numbers.
Maybe such information is just a little too commerically sensitive to be disclosed right now, but at the moment it appears that connection and integration is being pursued because it feels right, it is common sense, there is data generated in each function which must be of value to other functions, and consolidating selected data from each function at organization dashboard level must help in monitoring overall IT performance. 
This is going to make it even harder to find an acronym to refer to this new phase of connecting these functions. Do you have some code name in your organization for projects pursuing these goals?