I was recently discussing work with a friend, and we were talking about the issues currently faced within their sector. It was the usual lack of jobs in the market, not a lot of money for investment in roles and also wages issues. He then turned to me and asked, “So what’s the problem with ITAM? What issues do ITAM professionals currently face?” I had to stop and think for a second. ITAM is a niche, so in some respects the challenges we face can seem disjointed from your usual department/sector problems. Here are the current problems ITAM face as I see it:
Organisations Still Not Waking Up To ITAM
There are still a number of organisations that have not ‘woken up’ to the fact they need an ITAM structure within their organisation. This is clearly evident in the article that we recently posted about a small business being fined by the BSA. There are a number of reasons this may be the case, with the Secret IT Manager highlighting some examples of the issues faced. Issues may include:
- Lack of senior management support
- Lack of finance
- Lack of awareness
- Blasé attitude towards software and software audits
- Lack of ITAM education
Obviously it needs to change within organisations, but surely there is another way to alert organisations of the benefits than for the reactive approach post audit? More awareness and education is needed, but how can that happen if organisations eyes are closed? It’s certainly a challenge that ITAM faces, and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There needs to be an ITAM program within all organisations.
The Supply and Demand Issue
There may be some organisations that still have their heads in the sand, but there are those that have realised the benefits of ITAM and want to start their own ITAM program. Now they have a difficult decision to make. Do they directly hire an ITAM team, or do they get the services of a managed service provider (MSP)?
In my experience the majority of ITAM practitioners, those that really know what they’re talking about and have a passion for ITAM, have already been snapped up by the MSP’s or are now consultants. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest one is the fact that organisations simply cannot compete financially with MSP’s. They also cannot provide the training and knowledge resources that some MSP’s can provide. Some organisations simply don’t have the funds to hire an MSP or a consultant to sort out their ITAM estate, so are left between a rock and a hard place.
This in turn means that organisations are left either hiring someone who is inadequate for the job that possibly hasn’t had any ITAM experience in the past, or completely abandoning the prospect of implementing an ITAM program. This is a dangerous road to go down. ITAM is a complex process that needs to be understood fully to be successfully implemented and managed. But what other choice do organisations have?
There are no ITAM practitioners out there waiting to be paid less than what they could earn as a consultant at an MSP or as an independent. For some, it’s either forget about an ITAM project all together, or hire someone that hasn’t got the experience or knowledge and hope they can be educated to practitioner level. At that point they will then leave and the organisation will be back to square one!
Vendors and Licensing
Another problem at the moment are software vendors. They are changing their licensing models and dictating to (and in some cases bullying) their customers into moving to models or applications that they may not need, or don’t want to move to. Organisations and its users don’t really have a choice though, as the vendors make out like you need them more than they need you. That may be true, but vendors need the users a lot more than they let on!
The changing of licensing models is another sticky patch within ITAM. ITAM professionals need to be on the ball, with their ear to the ground to keep up with the changes. If they are working directly for an end-user and not through an MSP, this can be challenging, as the only resources they have are online ITAM media outlets, or their own research for each vendor. Obviously, they are never going to be able to keep up with all the vendors they deal with, but the main vendors software and licensing news should be tracked.
With vendors changing licensing schemes it also means that ITAM and Licensing professionals need to know as much about the changes as possible so they know what the use rights are, how to license their estate and what impacts the changes may have on deployments, patches and updates. The licensing market is forever changing its goal posts, and ITAM professionals need to change their approach to ensure they score between those posts!
As I explained to my friend there are a number of issues currently facing the ITAM sector at the moment, and some of the issues are quite unique compared to other areas of a business. As the pick up on ITAM keeps increasing, these problems will either sort themselves out or become magnified. There are no doubts that future issues will arise within ITAM, but it’s up to us as ITAM professionals to find solutions and over-come them!
I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think are the key issues currently facing the ITAM sector and it’s professionals? Leave me a comment below!