One year of the ITAM Forum! This April marks the first anniversary of the formation of the ITAM Forum.
In this article, I’ll look at why we formed, the guiding principles we developed along the way and the great milestones we passed during our first year.
1 year review – ITAM Forum, Getting Started…
There were two driving forces behind the formation of ITAM Forum. Firstly, it became apparent that the standards body ISO doesn’t build certification schemes for standards, industries do.
The ISO standard 19770 has been in the market for more than a decade without a scheme to be able to measure conformance. To progress as an industry, we have to develop one. The business case for being certified is becoming increasingly stark, as covered in our white paper here.
Secondly, given that a rising tide lifts all boats, every participant in the ITAM industry could benefit if we all lean in and work together to push the industry forward on a not-for-profit basis.
Ten years ago, I was fortunate to interview Ben Clacy, the former CEO of itSMF UK. Ben described itSMF as an ITIL user group and the glue that unites the service management industry.
Ben said, “It’s all about giving back to our members and helping them deliver better IT services”.
What if we could replicate what itSMF had done but for the IT Asset Management industry?
…and then COVID-19
So, starting in November 2019 with a blank sheet of paper, a rallying cry for volunteers enabled us to gather together a collective of folks that shared this germ of an idea, and the organisation began to take form.
Then, just before formation, a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic breaks out! Whilst we did pause for thought before launching, we remembered the great recession of 2008 and decided ITAM has a role to play in this pandemic – ensuring organisations around the world should cut IT waste (with help from ITAM practices) and therefore saving money before cutting IT jobs – and the ITAM Forum was born.
As we gathered as an industry collective, the following guiding principles began to emerge:
- End-user led – Too many organisations in the ITAM industry have been software publisher led. It was important that the ITAM Forum was led by end-user customers at the rock face of ITAM. Today, more than half of our Trustee Board, the largest industry contingent, is composed of end-user ITAM professionals, and our Chair Melody Ayeli works for an end-user customer.
- Trustee Board – We formed a Trustee Board to keep us on track. The Trustee Board meets once a month and ensures our outcomes are aligned to what the industry needs. We don’t want our output to be of academic use. It needs to have an impact on the lives of ITAM professionals. Thank you to all our Trustee Board members and volunteers for stepping up to the plate and helping.
- Not for Profit – In order to really garner the support we needed as an industry trade body, we formed a not-for-profit so our purpose is to truly serve the interests of the industry. Thank you to our Patrons who have kindly donated on this basis, supported our vision and underwritten our efforts (Thank you to Anglepoint, ELEE, FisherITS, GeminiSix, ITS, Lansweeper, Snow Software, Softline Solutions, SoftwarOne and USU)
1 year review – ITAM Forum, Accomplishments
One of our first accomplishments as a team was to define our strategic direction. This is based on four objectives (Certification, Community, Enablement, Evangelism), each with its own work stream and band of volunteers to support it. Our accomplishments this past year for each of these areas is summarised below:
The goal of evangelism is to raise awareness of IT Asset Management and attract new professionals and organizations into the industry.
How many of the Fortune 1000 have a mature IT Asset Management practice that delivers value back to the organisation? My rough estimate would be 40% at best. Our goal is to change that, for all organisations that invest in technology to have some form of IT Asset Management practice in place delivering value.
To support our ongoing evangelism efforts, we launched an ongoing press campaign and have landed press exposure almost every month since launch, including traction with our ITAMsavesjobs campaign. We’ve hired a Community Marketing Manager to support our outreach and in 2021, will continue to professionalise our communications and extend our outreach.
The goal of Enablement is to help existing IT Asset Management professionals be successful. We have begun efforts in this area by launching a free discussion board for addressing any and all questions in the ITAM, SAM or Licensing domain – answered by a panel of volunteer experts. Expect soon further resources to help ITAM professionals be more successful. Join the discussion board here: https://forum.itamf.org/invites/
The goal of our Community work stream is to enable worldwide ITAM professionals to connect and learn from each other. We have begun this effort with a German pilot, which, at the time of writing, has delivered its first two chapter meetings in German. These are virtual due to COVID restrictions, but hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to offer a mixture of in-person and virtual meet-ups.
Based on lessons learned from our German pilot, we have 8-10 countries waiting to build local chapters. Our vision is that ITAM professionals will be able to connect and learn at a local country level, or globally around specific subjects, as well as connecting with their international peers. If you are interested in joining or leading a chapter in your city please contact us.
The development of a scheme to support organisational certification against ISO/IEC 19770 is underway, and we expect to announce pilot schemes throughout 2021.
Whilst the ISO standard has been a useful resource for many ITAM professionals in building out their practice, it’s not been possible to measure conformity against the standard in a global and uniform way. For a standard to be credible, conformity in Belgium needs to match conformity in Brooklyn. Our goal is a credible, community driven scheme with input from as many practitioners as possible, validated at a Trade Body, Scheme and National Country Level. To get involved please reach out to us.
In addition to the work streams above, we have also supported the launch of a new ISO/IEC 19770 study group on sustainability in IT Asset Management. Learn more about that initiative here. We have also become an official liaison organisation for ISO/IEC 19770, which means our voice will be heard in the development of ITAM standards, and we have a formal channel for communications with that important group.
If you are curious about any of these ITAM Forum projects and want to learn more, or want to join or start an international chapter, please reach out and contact us.
About Martin Thompson
Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.
He is also the 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. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.
Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).
When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.
Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.