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How to Start, Optimise, and Elevate your ITAM program

This article accompanies the series of three webinars the ITAM Review and ServiceNow delivered in May/June 2020. In this series, we set out to provide insight on how to start, optimise and elevate your ITAM program.

Introduction

2020 has presented businesses with an unprecedented set of challenges. IT departments have adapted rapidly to deliver safe remote working environments. They’ve accelerated transformation programs to enable organisations to pivot to new products and customer experiences. They’ve handled layoffs; and now, as the economy starts to open up again, they need to manage a new hybrid working environment.

Throughout this period, the focus has been on rapid enablement rather than cost and risk management. Now is the time to get to grips with those elements of IT governance; and ITAM is well-positioned to drive success against those objectives. How do you go about it? This article, along with the webinars and Gorilla Guides, provides a structure for starting, optimising, and elevating your ITAM program.

Getting Started

If your organisation doesn’t currently have an ITAM program, how do you start one? The best approach is to secure executive sponsorship with a well-researched business plan. You need backing from senior management to make this happen since ITAM touches everything that IT does and also has the ability to drive increased value from technology investments. Your senior sponsor may be your CIO, but equally it could be your CFO or even your CISO. How do you go about securing that backing?

In the first webinar, we presented the following approach to building a simple business case–a one-page statement of intent that provides compelling evidence to a prospective executive sponsor.

In this model, we look at defining the actions needed to deliver business value in response to a business issue. For example, the business issue might be a directive to reduce IT costs by 10%. In addressing that directive, we discover that a lack of cost visibility is hampering our efforts, and the lack of visibility implies that we may be over-spending on IT by up to 30%. We develop a position to resolve it–a set of activities that if carried out will solve the problem and deliver business value. For this example, it starts with gaining visibility, focusing on quick wins such as SaaS License Management, and driving process improvements through automation. The business value is that we’ve delivered cost savings of 10% in the first year. We’ve also delivered process improvements that mean our colleagues get the right tools to do their job quicker than ever before.

With executive sponsorship secured, we’re ready to get started with our program. Throughout this webinar series, we stress the importance of building momentum for your program; and the starting point for that is delivering quick wins.


For further guidance on how to build your plan, secure sponsorship, and identify those quick wins, please register to view the webinar “Getting Started with ITAM” available on-demand here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mA1yNSwWShaDl3A_zU0sFA

Implementing and Optimising your ITAM program

With your plan agreed and executive backing secured, it’s time to implement and optimise it. The question to ask yourself is “What do we need to do in the first 30/60/90 days?”. There are three key workstreams in this phase–getting trustworthy data, building strong stakeholder relationships, and delivering quick wins.

ITAM always starts with acquiring trustworthy data about the assets deployed in your estate and the license entitlements that you hold. Such data enables informed decisions to be made about current asset usage and future investment and is foundational to any successful ITAM program. A central repository of trustworthy data also enables ITAM’s ability to break down silos across IT and beyond. Being able to accurately respond to stakeholder questions is critical to building strong stakeholder relationships that are vital to delivering ITAM success.

With trustworthy data available and strong stakeholder relationships developing, we can start to build momentum with quick wins. For many SaaS-first organisations–or those that have turned to SaaS solutions to enable remote work—the ideal place to start is by reducing SaaS spending. The reason for this is that the Time to Value (TTV) is very short – it is measured in days and weeks rather than quarters. With trustworthy data from a variety of SaaS discovery methods, it is possible to determine and quantify where savings can be made. Furthermore, because SaaS is subscription software and typically on an annual contract, right-sizing the contract will yield rapid savings. The key to this approach is building and acting upon a renewals pipeline–determining which SaaS subscriptions are due for renewal in the next 2-3 months and acting as soon as possible to right-size those renewals.

With SaaS Optimisation up and running and delivering results, your program naturally develops momentum, giving you the opportunity to focus on big ticket items with a longer time to value such as optimising enterprise software spend and reducing audit risk.

 


For more on Implementing and Optimising your ITAM program, including leveraging the IT Asset Lifecycle to drive continuous improvement, please register to view the webinar “Optimising ITAM for Success”, available on-demand here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G4qCP_y_Qt6N2qL0DlG0BQ

Embedding and Elevating

So far, we’ve built a plan, secured backing, and delivered some big wins. We have momentum behind our program. But how do we maintain that momentum? What’s next? The aim is to use ITAM to transform IT; and to do that, we need to move our program from being tactical and somewhat reactive to being strategic and proactive. The best way to approach this is to ensure that ITAM Operations (the day-to-day routine activities) are embedded in the fabric of the IT department’s business-as-usual operating model. This can be achieved through automation. By automating key processes such as Request and License Harvesting, ITAM teams can focus on tasks and programs with greater value-add potential. Automating routine tasks also improves governance because human error and delay are reduced. This is particularly important for time-critical tasks such as employee onboarding/offboarding–a vital process in these times of high employee turnover.

With the routine automated and embedded ITAM, teams are free to become strategic partners for IT senior leaders and beyond. Strategic ITAM teams directly improve the value companies derive from technology investments. For example, they work with Architects to proactively workflow data on which applications and technologies are reaching end-of-life in the medium term. They work with Program and Project Offices to ensure that the right technology investments are made on the right terms. With the shift to remote working, they have application usage data vital to HR departments adjusting to governing these new working arrangements. Finally, ITAM has always been closely aligned with IT Security as both functions are in the business of discovery and management of assets. The two teams can work together on a single data model to proactively reduce risk by identifying unpatched and unsupported software, and to respond quicker to vulnerabilities prone to a cyber-attack.


For more on embedding and elevating ITAM through automation and strategic engagement, please register to view the webinar “Elevating ITAM with Workflow”, available on-demand here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_P1EaRUx2Sw-Pqxwplo_YAQ

Conclusion

For a digital business, a structured ITAM program is essential. You can’t run a digital business if you don’t know what it’s running on. On a single platform, ITAM teams are now in the nucleus of the means of production and value creation. They ensure that the right technology investments are made with automated workflow. They continuously manage the risks associated with the use of technology, elevating ITAM visibility with stakeholders across IT and beyond. And they ensure a “work from anywhere” workforce has the right tools at the right time to do their jobs, leveraging automation to streamline the asset lifecycle. The time is now to Start, Optimise, and Elevate your ITAM program.

Further Reading

For further guidance on how to Start, Optimise, and Elevate your ITAM program ServiceNow have created the following Gorilla Guides to align with the webinar series, available for download from their website. For a longer read, the final guide “Achieving IT Asset Management Success” collects the content from the first three guides into a single volume.

Gorilla Express Guide 1:

Getting Started with ITAM

Gorilla Express Guide 2:

Optimizing ITAM for Success

Gorilla Express Guide 3:

Elevating ITAM with Workflow

The Gorilla Guide to:

Achieving ITAM Success

Download here Download here Download here Download here

 

About AJ Witt

A former IT Asset Manager, AJ is Industry Analyst for The ITAM Review. He's interested in hearing from end users of ITAM tools and also vendors. He enjoys writing about the SaaS Management market, practical aspects of ITAM operations, and the strategy of major software publishers. You can connect via email (aj.witt@itassetmanagement.net) or LinkedIn. AJ is based in the New Forest where he enjoys cycling, walking, spending time with his family, and keeping chickens

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