26 July 2022
Chatting to Lewis Martin, my manager at KA2, about the vagaries of IT Asset Management he suggested I write an article on the subject. Shed some insight into the dark art. Dispel the myths and point us all in the right direction. I am by nature sceptical of self-professed experts in any field and was a little perplexed at the prospect of having to position myself as such. Surely there are many paths to Oz, not just via the yellow brick road?
The more I thought about this ask, the more I realised that my years of experience in ITAM have provided some valuable learnings that could probably be captured quite succinctly. There are many different specialisms within the overall field so let’s start with a few general laws and try not to get too bogged down from the outset.
Nobody escapes ITAM!
Almost every business relies on IT assets. These are the tools by which we operate, create products and services, promote ourselves, communicate and sometimes even define our existence. They can give us an edge over competitors and are a necessity for doing business in the world we live. They can also become a massive liability if mismanaged.
All things must pass.
As the late great George Harrison told us, transience is pervasive. This is especially true in ITAM. Today’s latest technology will one day (and probably quite soon) be a pile of old junk. There are a few important realisations that come from this fact. Effective lifecycle management is one of the most fundamental aspects of good ITAM. A defined and controlled passage from cradle to grave for every asset will ensure that the benefits provided by each will be maximised and the liabilities minimised.
Objectivity and data.
ITAM needs to be conceived of as a journey. Almost every aspect is constantly changing from the types of assets being managed, the products and services that are provided by the assets, management tools, processes and more…
Having reliable data and reporting in place is essential as it is how best to understand what is really going on at any given point in time. ITAM relies heavily on data feeds from trusted sources that are constantly validated, reconciled and designs reviewed. A golden source of asset data should always be agreed upon in principle.
ITAM isn’t a technology race.
As a native Kiwi, I grew up around boats, sailing and the ocean. I like to follow the America’s Cup which has significantly changed over the last 20 years. The formula for this race is now relatively simple. Whoever has the best design and technology usually wins. This next analogy requires a separation of those two words (design and technology).
The role of good design in ITAM is imperative. An understanding of the entire IT stack and how it works together as well as the underpinning business processes, culture and vision of the individual organisation needs to be considered. This should be first and foremost. There are a bunch of very cool tools and blossoming technology available which can help move ITAM capabilities forward and even inform design decisions. Technology in and of itself does not solve problems and is a means of delivering these designs. Getting the right fit between design and technology is important as let’s face it, cutting-edge tech is never cheap.
A five-minute read was the brief, enough to whet the appetite and engage the audience. These are some of the basics of ITAM from my perspective, which I hope will resonate with readers. Experience is made of a combination of both success and failure and through the sharing of such, we can hopefully help lead clients to a better place. Admittedly the title is a little overstated, but if you are still reading it served its purpose and I sincerely apologise if I mis-sold your attention.
Carey Walton, Solutions Consultant – ITAM Specialist at KA2.