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Mailbag: What should the success criteria be for a SAM project?

An ITAM Review reader writes:

“I would like to set up a list of success criteria for a SAM project. Do you have any documentation around this that you can share with me?”

Generic criteria, generic outcome

If you create a generic list, you’ll get a generic outcome. You’ll be shooting at success criteria that are potentially not business aligned and without the critical senior management support or budget required for success.

Success criteria should be business and IT department aligned.

The question of picking success criteria is a variation on a common theme around “What should I measure?” or “What metrics should I track?”.

From the start, you should measure your progression towards your business plan. You do have a business plan, right? That plan that was signed off and understood at senior management level which led to your team being well supported, funded and resourced.

If not – go and create a plan and measure your success against it.

Consider these scenarios:

  1. Our company must ‘develop and maintain an effective IT asset management program to minimise the incremental risks and related costs of advancing IT portfolio infrastructure projects based on old, incomplete and/or less accurate information.’
  2. In light of tough market conditions and our organisations mandate of cost saving and efficiency gains, the ITAM function will focus on removing software and maintenance waste without impacting service levels, and support the IT department’s goal of helping users help themselves etc….

The first was copied and pasted from Wikipedia, the second was formed by listening to the current focus of the company / market conditions and current focus of IT. Which one do you think is more likely to be listened to by busy executives with an endless list of priorities biting at them?

If you need some inspiration in terms of what elements of ITAM might help your company and it’s goals check out this article from 2016: Quick guide to building a three-year roadmap. Also see ITAM Metrics.

(We cover this in depth within the AUTHORITY, PLAN and REPORTING modules of our Practical ITAM course. See also the book Practical ITAM)

success criteria

Success criteria should be business and IT department aligned

SAM Project Success Criteria

Returning to the original question, and after considering the danger of borrowing somebody else’s metrics as outlined above, here are some success criteria you might want to consider:

If your goal is compliance / Audit defence centric:

  • Number of audits thwarted / avoided
  • Audit “ask” versus settlement figure

If your goal is cost reduction:

  • Value of unused software / subscriptions removed
  • Value of software requests fulfilled from stock
  • Reduction in overall software spend
  • Reduction in overall maintenance spend
  • Reduction in app portfolio / diversity

If your goal is operational efficiency and customer satisfaction:

  • Time to deliver a new app from management approval
  • % of asset requests delivered without human intervention

And so on…

And Finally, …

Finally, success criteria for a SAM project is not implementation of SAM technology.

Installing agents, installing software, connecting integrations, loading systems full of procurement data are all milestones but not success criteria. The success of a SAM tool should be judged based on the ability to deliver business outcomes. For example, I would consider a SAM tool successfully implemented if you are able to deliver a Microsoft ELP and maintain it on an ongoing basis.

I hope this helps – I would value the opinions of others on this, please leave a comment below.

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin is the Chief Agitator at the Campaign for Clear Licensing, a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the SAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770 and board member of Free ICT Europe which supports the ICT secondary market.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. I’m concerned about the terminology “SAM project”. Unless the questioner is referring to a short-term compliance project, SAM should be thought of as an ongoing business process covering the entire software lifecycle, not an event.

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