Based on my experiences, here are my top tips for the next generation of SAM professionals.
You can learn a lot from your colleagues, both good and bad:
- Learn from their mistakes and successes
- Understand how they are doing things right and how it impacts on the organisation
It is also important to learn from colleague’s mistakes or poor practise. Don’t be afraid to make your concerns known, or advise them of your ideas.
- Listen to what your colleagues have to say, and absorb their advice
Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, it is still worth listening to them. Their experience or opinions may come in handy to you in the future. If you are fortunate enough to work with an experienced ITAM/SAM professional, then ask them as many questions as possible (when appropriate and without annoying them!).
They can provide you with valuable information that will help enhance your knowledge and give you an insight into other professional’s perspective and other organisations procedures.
Do your homework
- Research as much as you can on software licensing and software asset management
It is also worth knowing the basics of the business processes that are related to software asset management, such as procurement, service management and hardware asset management. Learn as much as you can about the licenses you use, and the processes currently in place.
There are a number of different licensing structures out there and a number of software vendors to learn about, so doing your homework will help broaden your knowledge base.
If you enjoy what you do then reading articles and news about ITAM/SAM won’t be much of a chore for you.
- Read as many articles as you can
There are a number of brilliant websites out there that contain a large number of articles (such as the one you are reading this on now – the ITAM Review). Reading up on the sector that you work in will help you understand the sector more, and also gives you an insight into what the future holds for ITAM/SAM. There are also a number of product reviews on ITAM tools that can prove extremely useful when implementing a new ITAM tool at your organisation.
There are no disadvantages to doing extra homework. It can only expand your horizons and increase your knowledge on ITAM, which will ultimately help you progress with your career. It is also worth looking into SAM qualifications and courses to help enhance your stature.
Put in the hours
- Possess a strong work ethic
Achieving results will help to differentiate you from your peers and enhance your reputation within your organisation. As mentioned before, this won’t be too much of a problem if you enjoy your job, and what’s not to love about software asset management?!
Putting in the hard work at this early stage of your career will shape your future progression. Now is the time to be putting in the extra work as the more knowledge and experience you gain now, the better your working life can be in the future. It also helps you gain an advantage personally; as working hard can help you progress and reach your career goals a lot sooner than expected.
Networking internally at work, or externally on LinkedIn or SAM groups and at conferences is pivotal to getting your name known within the SAM sector. I have found this to be an extremely useful way of learning and finding out information and the views and opinions of the type of professionals that we strive to be. The SAM community on LinkedIn and the various ITAM groups that are available to us is full of experienced professionals that are more than willing to give their views, experience and advice to other professionals.
At this early stage of your career it is extremely important that you make connections within the community, get yourself known. This will help you gain valuable information and you may even make a friend or two! It will also enhance your reputation, thus making you more attractive to future employers. Obviously, a reputation needs to be backed up with results and top performances within your current role.
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had a number of contracted roles. This has allowed me to see what a good SAM estate looks like, and how it’s run, but also the impacts of bad software asset management.
- Experience is a key part of software asset management
It’s something that will help shape your career. There are a number of obvious disadvantages of contracting, but from a knowledge perspective it’s a great opportunity to learn how different organisations manage their software assets.
The experience you gain from contracting can prove pivotal to your future career. You can see and understand different organisations methods of managing their software assets. You can take everything that worked well in one organisation, and tailor it to the next. As long as they follow best practice and are doing everything correctly, then you’re on to a winner. It’s also the same for processes or procedures that you don’t think work. Figure out why they don’t work and then fix it. You can take this experience with you later on in your career.
Another advantage of contracting is that you can see and understand the different problems different sized organisations have. Larger corporate organisations ultimately have bigger and more complex problems than a small public sector business for example.
Finally my last piece of advice
- Enjoy what you do
If you have a real passion and enthusiasm for what you do, it will rub off on others. If you enjoy your job I believe that you’ll perform better and progress quicker.