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Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy

Define your business-aligned approach to ITAM.

You have a mandate to create an accurate and actionable database of the IT assets in your environment, but:

  • The data you have is often incomplete or wrong.
  • Processes are broken or non-existent.
  • Your tools aren’t up to the task of tracking ever more hardware, software, and relevant metadata.
  • The role of stakeholders outside the core ITAM team isn’t well defined or understood.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

ITAM is a foundational IT service that provides accurate, accessible, actionable data on IT assets. But there’s no value in data for data’s sake. Enable collaboration between IT asset managers, business leaders, and IT leaders to develop an ITAM strategy that maximizes the value they can deliver as service providers.

Impact and Result

  • Develop an approach and strategy for ITAM that is sustainable and aligned with your business priorities.
  • Clarify the structure for the ITAM program, including scope, responsibility and accountability, centralization vs. decentralization, outsourcing vs. insourcing, and more.
  • Create a practical roadmap to guide improvement.
  • Summarize your strategy and approach using Info-Tech’s templates for review with stakeholders.

Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy Research & Tools

1. Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy: A methodology to create a business-aligned, coherent, and durable approach to ITAM.

This two-phase, step-by-step methodology will guide you through the activities to build a business-aligned, coherent, and durable approach to ITAM. Review the executive brief at the start of the slide deck for an overview of the methodology and the value it can provide to your organization.

2. ITAM Strategy Template: A presentation-ready repository for the work done as you define your ITAM approach

Use this template to document your IT asset management strategy and approach.

3. IT Asset Estimations Tracker: A rough-and-ready inventory exercise to help you evaluate the work ahead of you

Use this tool to estimate key data points related to your IT asset estate, as well as your confidence in your estimates.


Workshop: Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Identify ITAM Priorities & Goals, Maturity, Metrics and KPIs

The Purpose

  • Align key stakeholders to the potential strategic value of the IT asset management practice.
  • Ensure the ITAM practice is focused on business-aligned goals.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Define a business-aligned direction and expected outcomes for your ITAM program.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Brainstorm ITAM opportunities and challenges.

  • ITAM opportunities and challenges
1.2

Conduct an executive alignment working session.

  • Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities.
1.3

Set ITAM priorities, goals and tactics.

  • ITAM metrics and KPIs
1.4

Identify target and current state ITAM maturity.

  • ITAM maturity

Module 2: Identify Your Approach to Support ITAM Priorities and Goals

The Purpose

  • Translate goals into specific and coherent actions to enable your ITAM practice to deliver business value.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A business-aligned approach to ITAM, encompassing scope, structure, tools, audits, budgets, documentation and more.
  • A high-level roadmap to achieve your vision for the ITAM practice.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Define ITAM scope.

2.2

Acquire ITAM services (outsourcing and contracting).

2.3

Centralize or decentralize ITAM capabilities.

2.4

Create a RACI for the ITAM practice.

2.5

Align ITAM with other service management practices.

2.6

Evaluate ITAM tools and integrations.

2.7

Create a plan for internal and external audits.

2.8

Improve your budget processes.

2.9

Establish a documentation framework.

  • Your ITAM approach
2.10

Create a roadmap and communication plan.

  • ITAM roadmap and communication plan

Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy

Define your business-aligned approach to ITAM.

Table of Contents

4 Analyst Perspective

5 Executive Summary

17 Phase 1: Establish Business-Aligned ITAM Goals and Priorities

59 Phase 2: Support ITAM Goals and Priorities

116 Bibliography

Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy

Define your business-aligned approach to ITAM.

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Analyst Perspective

Track hardware and software. Seems easy, right?

It’s often taken for granted that IT can easily and accurately provide definitive answers to questions like “how many laptops do we have at Site 1?” or “do we have the right number of SQL licenses?” or “how much do we need to budget for device replacements next year?” After all, don’t we know what we have?

IT can’t easily provide these answers because to do so you must track hardware and software throughout its lifecycle – which is not easy. And unfortunately, you often need to respond to these questions on very short notice because of an audit or to support a budgeting exercise.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is the solution. It’s not a new solution – the discipline has been around for decades. But the key to success is to deploy the practice in a way that is sustainable, right-sized, and maximizes value.

Use our practical methodology to develop and document your approach to ITAM that is aligned with the goals of your organization.

Photo of Andrew Sharp, Research Director, Infrastructure & Operations Practice, Info-Tech Research Group.

Andrew Sharp
Research Director
Infrastructure & Operations Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Realize the value of asset management

Cost optimization, application rationalization and reduction of technical debt are all considered valuable to right-size spending and improve service outcomes. Without access to accurate data, these activities require significant investments of time and effort, starting with creation of point-in-time inventories, which lengthens the timeline to reaching project value and may still not be accurate.

Cost optimization and reduction of technical debt should be part of your culture and technical roadmap rather than one-off projects. Why? Access to accurate information enables the organization to quickly make decisions and pivot plans as needed. Through asset management, ongoing harvest and redeployment of assets improves utilization-to-spend ratios. We would never see any organization saying, “We’ve closed our year end books, let’s fire the accountants,” but often see this valuable service relegated to the back burner. Similar to the philosophy that “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the next best time is now,” the sooner you can start to collect, validate, and analyze data, the sooner you will find value in it.

Photo of Sandi Conrad, Principal Research Director, Infrastructure & Operations Practice, Info-Tech Research Group.

Sandi Conrad
Principal Research Director
Infrastructure & Operations Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

You have a mandate to create an accurate and actionable database of the IT assets in your environment, but:

  • The data you have is often incomplete or wrong.
  • Processes are broken or non-existent.
  • Your tools aren’t up to the task of tracking ever more hardware, software, and relevant metadata.
  • The role of stakeholders outside the core ITAM team isn’t well defined or understood.
Common Obstacles

It is challenging to make needed changes because:

  • There’s cultural resistance to asset tracking, it’s seen as busywork that doesn’t clearly create value.
  • Decentralized IT teams aren’t generating the data required to track hardware and licenses.
  • ITAM can’t direct needed tool improvements because the admins don’t report to ITAM.
  • It’s hard to find time to improve processes given the day-to-day demands on your time.
Info-Tech’s Approach
  • Develop an approach and strategy for ITAM that is sustainable and aligned with your business priorities.
  • Clarify the structure for the ITAM program, including scope, responsibility and accountability, centralization vs. decentralization, outsourcing vs. insourcing, and more.
  • Create a practical roadmap to guide improvement.
  • Summarize your strategy and approach using Info-Tech’s templates for review with stakeholders.

Info-Tech Insight

ITAM is a foundational IT service that provides accurate, accessible, actionable data on IT assets. But there’s no value in data for data’s sake. Enable collaboration between IT asset managers, business leaders, and IT leaders to develop an ITAM strategy that maximizes the value they can deliver as service providers.

Unlock business value with IT asset management

  • IT asset management (ITAM) is the practice of maintaining accurate, accessible, and actionable data on the assets within the organization’s IT estate. Each IT asset will have a record that tracks it across its lifecycle from purchase to disposal.
  • ITAM’s value is realized through other processes and practice areas that can leverage ITAM data to manage risk, improve IT services, and control costs.
  • Develop an approach to ITAM that maximizes the value delivered to the business and IT. ITAM succeeds when its partners succeed at delivering business value, and it fails when it doesn’t show value to those partners.

This blueprint will help you develop your approach for the management of IT hardware and software, including cloud services. Leverage other Info-Tech methodologies to dive directly into developing hardware asset management procedures, software asset management procedures, or to implement configuration management best practices.

Info-Tech Members report significant savings from implementing our hardware and software asset management frameworks. In order to maximize value from the process-focused methodologies below, develop your ITAM strategy first.

Implement Hardware Asset Management (Based on Info-Tech Measured Value Surveys results from clients working through these blueprints, as of February 2022.)

9.6/10

$23k

32

Overall Impact Average $ Saved Average Days Saved
Implement Software Asset Management (Based on Info-Tech Measured Value Surveys results from clients working through these blueprints, as of February 2022.)

9.0/10

$12k

5

Overall Impact Average $ Saved Average Days Saved

ITAM provides both early and ongoing value

ITAM isn’t one-and-done. Properly supported, your ITAM practice will deliver up-front value that will help demonstrate the value ongoing ITAM can offer through the maintenance of an accurate, accessible, and actionable ITAM database.

Example: Software Savings from ITAM


Example chart with a combined bar graph and line graph. The green bars 'Series 3' shows percentages, while the blue line 'Series 1' and the purple line 'Series 2' represent dollar amounts.

This chart shows the money saved between the first quote and the final price for software and maintenance by a five-person ITAM team. Over a year and a half, they saved their organization a total of $7.5 million from a first quote total of $21 million over that period.

This is a perfect example of the direct value that ITAM can provide on an ongoing basis to the organization, when properly supported and integrated with IT and the business.

Examples of up-front value delivered in the first year of the ITAM practice:

  • Save money by reviewing and renegotiating critical, high-spend, and undermanaged software and service contracts.
  • Redeploy or dispose of clearly unused hardware and software.
  • Develop and enforce standards for basic hardware and software.
  • Improve ITAM data quality and build trust in the results.

Examples of long-term value from ongoing governance, management, and operational ITAM activities:

  • Optimize spend: Reallocate unused hardware and software, end unneeded service agreements, and manage renewals and audits.
  • Reduce risk: Provide comprehensive asset data for security controls development and incident management; manage equipment disposal.
  • Improve IT service: Support incident, problem, request, and change management with ITAM data. Develop new solutions with an understanding of what you have already.

Common obstacles

The rulebook is available, but hard to follow
  • ITAM takes a village, but stakeholders aren’t aware of their role. ITAM processes rely on technicians to update asset records, vendors to supply asset data, administrators to manage tools, leadership to provide direction and support, and more.
  • Constant change in the IT and business environment undermines the accuracy of ITAM records (e.g. licensing and contract changes, technology changes that break discovery tools, personnel and organizational changes).
  • Improvement efforts are overwhelmed by day-to-day activities. One study found that 83% of SAM teams’ time is consumed by audit-related activities. (Flexera State of ITAM Report 2022) A lack of improvement becomes a vicious cycle when stakeholders who don’t see the value of ITAM decline to dedicate resources for improvement.
  • Stakeholders expect ITAM tools to be a cure-all, but even at their best, they can’t provide needed answers without some level of configuration, manual input, and supervision.
  • There’s often a struggle to connect ITAM to value. For example, respondents to Info-Tech’s Management & Governance Diagnostic consistently rank ITAM as less important than other processes that ITAM directly supports (e.g. budget management and budget optimization). (Info-Tech MGD Diagnostic (n=972 unique organizations))
ITAM is a mature discipline with well-established standards, certifications, and tools, but we still struggle with it.
  • Only 28% of SAM teams track IaaS and PaaS spend, and only 35% of SAM teams track SaaS usage.
  • Increasing SAM maturity is a challenge for 76% of organizations.
  • 10% of organizations surveyed have spent more than $5 million in the last three years in audit penalties and true-ups.
  • Half of all of organizations lack a viable SAM tool.
  • Seventy percent of SAM teams have a shortfall of qualified resources.
  • (Flexera State of ITAM Report 2022)

Info-Tech's IT Asset Management Framework (ITAM)

Adopt, manage, and mature activities to enable business value thorugh actionable, accessible, and accurate ITAM data

Logo for Info-Tech Research Group. Enable Business Value Logo for #iTRG.
Business-Aligned Spend
Optimization and Transparency
Facilitate IT Services
and Products
Actionable, Accessible,
and Accurate Data
Context-Aware Risk Management
and Security Controls

Plan & Govern

Business Goals, Risks, and Structure
  • ITAM Goals & Priorities
  • Roles, Accountability, Responsibilities
  • Scope
Ongoing Management Commitment
  • Resourcing & Funding
  • Policies & Enforcement
  • Continuous Improvement
Culture
  • ITAM Education, Awareness & Training
  • Organizational Change Management
Section title 'Operate' with a cycle surrounding key components of Operate: 'Data Collection & Validation', 'Tool Administration', 'License Management', and 'Lease Management'. The cycle consists of 'Request', 'Procure', 'Receive', 'Deploy', 'Manage', 'Retire & Dispose', and back to 'Request'.

Build & Manage

Tools & Data
  • ITAM Tool Selection & Deployment
  • Configuration Management Synchronization
  • IT Service Management Integration
Process
  • Process Management
  • Data & Process Audits
  • Document Management
People, Policies, and Providers
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Technology Standardization
  • Vendor & Contract Management

Info-Tech Insight

ITAM is a foundational IT service that provides actionable, accessible, and accurate data on IT assets. But there's no value in data for data's sake. Use this methodology to enable collaboration between ITAM, the business, and IT to develop an approach to ITAM that maximizes the value the ITAM team can deliver as service providers.

Key deliverable

IT asset management requires ongoing practice – you can’t just implement it and walk away.

Our methodology will help you build a business-aligned strategy and approach for your ITAM practice with the following outputs:

  • Business-aligned ITAM priorities, opportunities, and goals.
  • Current and target state ITAM maturity.
  • Metrics and KPIs.
  • Roles, responsibilities, and accountability.
  • Insourcing, outsourcing, and (de)centralization.
  • Tools and technology.
  • A documentation framework.
  • Initiatives, a roadmap, and a communication plan.
Each step of this blueprint is designed to help you create your IT asset management strategy:
Sample of Info-Tech's key deliverable 'IT Asset Management' blueprint.

Info-Tech’s methodology to develop an IT asset management strategy

1. Establish business-aligned ITAM goals and priorities 2. Identify your approach to support ITAM priorities and goals
Phase Steps
  • 1.1 Define ITAM and brainstorm opportunities and challenges.
  • Executive Alignment Working Session:
  • 1.2 Review organizational priorities, strategy, and key initiatives.
  • 1.3 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities and priorities.
  • 1.4 Identify business-aligned ITAM goals and target maturity.
  • 1.5 Write mission and vision statements.
  • 1.6 Define ITAM metrics and KPIs.
  • 2.1 Define ITAM scope.
  • 2.2 Acquire ITAM services (outsourcing and contracting).
  • 2.3 Centralize or decentralize ITAM capabilities.
  • 2.4 Create a RACI for the ITAM practice.
  • 2.5 Align ITAM with other service management practices.
  • 2.6 Evaluate ITAM tools and integrations.
  • 2.7 Create a plan for internal and external audits.
  • 2.8 Improve your budget processes.
  • 2.9 Establish a documentation framework.
  • 2.10 Create a roadmap and communication plan.
Phase Outcomes Defined, business-aligned goals and priorities for ITAM. Establish an approach to achieving ITAM goals and priorities including scope, structure, tools, service management integrations, documentation, and more.
Project Outcomes Develop an approach and strategy for ITAM that is sustainable and aligned with your business priorities.

Insight Summary

There’s no value in data for data’s sake

ITAM is a foundational IT service that provides accurate, accessible, actionable data on IT assets. Enable collaboration between IT asset managers, business leaders, and IT leaders to develop an approach to ITAM that maximizes the value they can deliver as service providers.

Service provider to a service provider

ITAM is often viewed (when it’s viewed at all) as a low-value administrative task that doesn’t directly drive business value. This can make it challenging to build a case for funding and resources.

Your ITAM strategy is a critical component to help you define how ITAM can best deliver value to your organization, and to stop creating data for the sake of data or just to fight the next fire.

Collaboration over order-taking

To align ITAM practices to deliver organizational value, you need a very clear understanding of the organization’s goals – both in the moment and as they change over time.

Ensure your ITAM team has clear line of sight to business strategy, objectives, and decision-makers, so you can continue to deliver value as priorities change

Embrace dotted lines

ITAM teams rely heavily on staff, systems, and data beyond their direct area of control. Identify how you will influence key stakeholders, including technicians, administrators, and business partners.

Help them understand how ITAM success relies on their support, and highlight how their contributions have created organizational value to encourage ongoing support.

Project benefits

Benefits for IT
  • Set a foundation and direction for an ITAM practice that will allow IT to manage risk, optimize spend, and enhance services in line with business requirements.
  • Establish accountability and responsibility for essential ITAM activities. Decide where to centralize or decentralize accountability and authority. Identify where outsourcing could add value.
  • Create a roadmap with concrete, practical next steps to develop an effective, right-sized ITAM practice.
Stock image of a trophy. Benefits for the business
  • Plan and control technology spend with confidence based on trustworthy ITAM data.
  • Enhance IT’s ability to rapidly and effectively support new priorities and launch new projects. Effective ITAM can support more streamlined procurement, deployment, and management of assets.
  • Implement security controls that reflect your total technology footprint. Reduce the risk that a forgotten device or unmanaged software turns your organization into the next Colonial Pipeline.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation

Workshop

Consulting

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful." "Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track." "We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place." "Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI around 12 calls over the course of 6 months.

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Call #1: Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges.

Call #2: Review business priorities.

Call #3: Identify ITAM goals & target maturity.

Call #4: Identify metrics and KPIs. Call #5: Define ITAM scope.

Call #6: Acquire ITAM services.

Call #7: ITAM structure and RACI.

Call #8: ITAM and service management.

Tools and integrations.

Call #10: Internal and external audits.

Call #11: Budgets & documentation

Call #12: Roadmap, comms plan. Wrap-up.

Phase 1 Phase 2

Workshop Overview

Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com1-888-670-8889
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Identify ITAM priorities & goals, maturity, metrics and KPIs
Identify your approach to support ITAM priorities and goals
Next Steps and wrap-Up (offsite)
Activities

1.1 Define ITAM.

1.2 Brainstorm ITAM opportunities and challenges.

Conduct an executive alignment working session:

1.3 Review organizational priorities, strategy, and key initiatives.

1.4 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities.

1.5 Set ITAM priorities.

2.1 Translate opportunities into ITAM goals and tactics.

2.2 Identify target and current state ITAM maturity.

2.3 Create mission and vision statements.

2.4 Identify key ITAM metrics and KPIs.

3.1 Define ITAM scope.

3.2 Acquire ITAM services (outsourcing and contracting)

3.3 Centralize or decentralize ITAM capabilities.

3.4 Create a RACI for the ITAM practice.

3.5 Align ITAM with other service management practices.

3.6 Evaluate ITAM tools and integrations.

4.1 Create a plan for internal and external audits.

4.2 Improve your budget processes.

4.3 Establish a documentation framework and identify documentation gaps.

4.4 Create a roadmap and communication plan.

5.1 Complete in-progress deliverables from previous four days.

5.2 Set up review time for workshop deliverables and to discuss next steps.

Deliverables
  1. ITAM opportunities and challenges.
  2. Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities.
  3. Set ITAM priorities.
  1. ITAM goals and tactics.
  2. Current and target ITAM maturity.
  3. Mission and vision statements.
  4. ITAM metrics and KPIs.
  1. Decisions that will shape your ITAM approach, including:
    1. What’s in scope (hardware, software, and cloud services).
    2. Where to centralize, decentralize, or outsource ITAM activities.
    3. Accountability, responsibility, and structure for ITAM activities.
    4. Service management alignment, tooling gaps, audit plans, budget processes, and required documentation.
  2. A roadmap and communication plan.
  1. Your completed ITAM strategy template.
Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy

Phase 1:

Establish business-aligned ITAM goals and priorities

Phase 1

1.1 Define ITAM and brainstorm opportunities and challenges.

Executive Alignment Working Session:

1.2 Review organizational priorities, strategy, and key initiatives.

1.3 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities & priorities.

1.4 Identify business-aligned ITAM goals and target maturity.

1.5 Write mission and vision statements.

1.6 Define ITAM metrics and KPIs.

Phase 2

2.1 Define ITAM scope.

2.2 Acquire ITAM services (outsourcing and contracting).

2.3 Centralize or decentralize ITAM capabilities.

2.4 Create a RACI for the ITAM practice.

2.5 Align ITAM with other service management practices.

2.6 Evaluate ITAM tools and integrations.

2.7 Create a plan for internal and external audits.

2.8 Improve your budget processes.

2.9 Establish a documentation framework.

2.10 Create a roadmap and communication plan.

Phase Outcomes:

Defined, business-aligned goals, priorities, and KPIs for ITAM. A concise vision and mission statement. The direction you need to establish a practical, right-sized, effective approach to ITAM for your organization.

Before you get started

Set yourself up for success with these three steps:
  • This methodology and the related slides are intended to be executed via intensive, collaborative working sessions using the rest of this slide deck.
  • Ensure the working sessions are a success by working through these steps before you start work on your IT asset management strategy.

1. Identify participants

Review recommended roles and identify who should participate in the development of your ITAM strategy.

2. Estimate assets managed today

Work through an initial assessment to establish ease of access to ITAM data and your level of trust in the data available to you.

3. Create a working folder

Create a repository to house your notes and any work in progress, including your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template.

0.1 Identify participants

30 minutes

Output: List of key roles for the strategy exercises outlined in this methodology

Participants: Project sponsor, Lead facilitator, ITAM manager and SMEs

This methodology relies on having the right stakeholders in the room to identify ITAM goals, challenges, roles, structure, and more. On each activity slide in this deck, you’ll see an outline of the recommended participants. Use the table below to translate the recommended roles into specific people in your organization. Note that some people may fill multiple roles.

Role Expectations People
Project Sponsor Accountable for the overall success of the methodology. Ideally, participates in all exercises in this methodology. May be the asset manager or whoever they report to. Jake Long
Lead Facilitator Leads, schedules, and manages all working sessions. Guides discussions and ensures activity outputs are completed. Owns and understands the methodology. Has a working knowledge of ITAM. Robert Loblaw
Asset Manager(s) SME for the ITAM practice. Provides strategic direction to mature ITAM practices in line with organizational goals. Supports the facilitator. Eve Maldonado
ITAM Team Hands-on ITAM professionals and SMEs. Includes the asset manager. Provide input on tactical ITAM opportunities and challenges. Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent
IT Leaders & Managers Leaders of key stakeholder groups from across the IT department – the CIO and direct reports. Provide input on what IT needs from ITAM, and the role their teams should play in ITAM activities. May include delegates, particularly those familiar with day-to-day processes relevant to a particular discussion or exercise. Marcelina Hardy, Edmund Broughton
ITAM Business Partners Non-IT business stakeholders for ITAM. This could include procurement, vendor management, accounting, and others. Zhang Jin, Effie Lamont
Business Executives Organizational leaders and executives (CFO, COO, CEO, and others) or their delegates. Will participate in a mini-workshop to identify organizational goals and initiatives that can present opportunities for the ITAM practice. Jermaine Mandar, Miranda Kosuth

0.2 Estimate asset numbers

1 hour

Output: Estimates of quantity and spend related to IT assets, Confidence/margin of error on estimates

Participants: IT asset manager, ITAM team

What do you know about your current IT environment, and how confident are you in that knowledge?

This exercise will help you evaluate the size of the challenge ahead in terms of the raw number of assets in your environment, the spend on those assets, and the level of trust your organization has in the ITAM data.

It is also a baseline snapshot your ability to relay key ITAM metrics quickly and confidently, so you can measure progress (in terms of greater confidence) over time.

  1. Download the estimation tracker below. Add any additional line items that are particularly important to the organization.
  2. Time-box this exercise to an hour. Use your own knowledge and existing data repositories to identify count/spend for each line item, then add a margin of error to your guess. Larger margins of error on larger counts will typically indicate larger risks.
  3. Track any assumptions, data sources used, or SMEs consulted in the comments.

Download the IT Asset Estimation Tracker

“Any time there is doubt about the data and it doesn’t get explained or fixed, then a new spreadsheet is born. Data validation and maintenance is critical to avoid the hidden costs of having bad data”

Allison Kinnaird,
Operations Practice Lead,
Info-Tech Research Group

0.3 Create a working folder

15 minutes

Output: A repository for templates and work in progress

Participants: Lead facilitator

Create a central repository for collaboration – it seems like an obvious step, but it’s one that gets forgotten about
  1. Download a copy of the ITAM Strategy Template.
    1. This will be the repository for all the work you do in the activities listed in this blueprint; take a moment to read it through and familiarize yourself with the contents.
  2. House the template in a shared repository that can house other related work in progress. Share this folder with participants so they can check in on your progress.
  3. You’ll see this callout box: Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template as you work through activities in this blueprint. Copy the output to the appropriate slide in the ITAM Strategy Template.
Stock image of a computer screen with a tiny person putting likes on things.

Collect action items as you go

Don’t wait until the end to write down your good ideas.
  • The last exercise in this methodology is to gather everything you’ve learned and build a roadmap to improve the ITAM practice.
  • The output of the exercises will inform the roadmap, as they will highlight areas with opportunities for improvement.
  • Write them down as you work through the exercises, or you risk forgetting valuable ideas.
  • Keep an “idea space” – a whiteboard with sticky notes or a shared document – to which any of your participants can post an idea for improvement and that you can review and consolidate later.
  • Encourage participants to add their ideas at any time during the exercises.
Pad of sticky notes, the top of which reads 'Good ideas go here!'

Step 1.1: Brainstorm ITAM opportunities and challenges

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Rally the working group around a collection of ideas that, when taken together, create a vision for the future ITAM practice.
  • Identify your organization’s current ITAM challenges.

“ITAM is a cultural shift more than a technology shift.” (Rory Canavan, SAM Charter)

What is an IT Asset?

Any piece of technology can be considered an asset, but it doesn’t mean you need to track everything. Image of three people building a computer from the inside.
Icon of a power button.

According to the ISO 19770 standard on ITAM, an IT Asset is “[an] item, thing, or entity that can be used to acquire, process, store and distribute digital information and has potential or actual value to an organization.”
These are all things that IT is expected to support and manage, or that have the potential to directly impact services that IT supports and manages.

Icon of a half-full battery.

IT assets are distinct from capital assets. Some IT assets will also be capital assets, but not all will be. And not all capital assets are IT assets, either.

Icon of a microphone.

IT assets are typically tracked by IT, not by finance or accounting.
IT needs more from their IT asset tracking system than the typical finance department can deliver.
This can include end-user devices, software, IT infrastructure, cloud-based resources, third-party managed IT services, Internet-of-Things devices, embedded electronics, SCADA equipment, “smart” devices, and more.

Icon of a fingerprint.

It’s important to track IT assets in a way that enables IT to deliver value to the business – and an important part of this is understanding what not to track. This list should be aligned to the needs of your organization.

What is IT asset management?

  • IT asset management is the practice of maintaining accurate, accessible, and actionable data on IT hardware, software, and cloud assets from procurement to disposal.
  • Trustworthy data maintained by an IT asset management practice will help your business meet its goals by managing risk, controlling costs, and enabling IT services and products.
  • ITAM tends to focus on the asset itself – its technical, financial, contractual, lifecycle, and ownership attributes – rather than its interactions or connections to other IT assets, which tends to be part of configuration management.

What IT Asset Management is NOT:

Configuration Management: Configuration management databases (CMDBs) often draw from the same data pool as ITAM (many configuration items are assets, and vice versa), but they focus on the interaction, interconnection, and interoperation of configuration items within the IT estate.

In practice, many configuration items will be IT assets (or parts of assets) and vice versa. Configuration and asset teams should work closely together as they develop different but complementary views of the IT environment. Use Info-Tech’s methodology to harness configuration management superpowers.

Organizational Data Management: Leverage a different Info-Tech methodology to develop a digital and data asset management program within Info-Tech’s DAM framework.

“Asset management’s job is not to save the organization money, it’s not to push back on software audits.

It’s to keep the asset database as up-to-date and as trustworthy as possible. That’s it.” (Jeremy Boerger, Consultant & Author)

“You can’t make any real decisions on CMDB data that’s only 60% accurate.

You start extrapolating that out, you’re going to get into big problems.” (Mike Austin, Founder & CEO, MetrixData 360)

What is an ITAM strategy?

Our strategy document will outline a coherent, sustainable, business-aligned approach to ITAM.

No single approach to ITAM fits all organizations. Nor will the same approach fit the same organization at different times. A world-leading research university, a state government, and a global manufacturer all have very different goals and priorities that will be best supported by different approaches to ITAM.

This methodology will walk you through these critical decisions that will define your approach to ITAM:

  • Business-aligned priorities, opportunities, and goals: What pressing opportunities and challenges do we face as an organization? What opportunities does this create that ITAM can seize?
  • Current and future state maturity, challenges: What is the state of the practice today? Where do we need to improve to meet our goals? What challenges stand in the way of improvement?
  • Responsibility, accountability, sourcing and (de)centralization: Who does what? Who is accountable? Where is there value to outsourcing? What authority will be centralized or decentralized?
  • Tools, policies, and procedures: What technology do we need? What’s our documentation framework?
  • Initiatives, KPIs, communication plan, and roadmap: What do we need to do, in what order, to build the ITAM practice to where we need it to be? How long do we expect this to take? How will we measure success?

“A good strategy has coherence, coordinating actions, policies, and resources so as to accomplish an important end. Most organizations, most of the time, don’t have this.

Instead, they have multiple goals and initiatives that symbolize progress, but no coherent approach to accomplish that progress other than ‘spend more and try harder.’” (Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, Richard Rumelt)

Enable business value with IT asset management

If you’ve never experienced a mature ITAM program before, it is almost certainly more rewarding than you’d expect once it’s functioning as intended.

Each of the below activities can benefit from accessible, actionable, and accurate ITAM data.

  • Which of the activities, practices, and initiatives below have value to your organization?
  • Which could benefit most from ITAM data?
Manage Risk: Effective ITAM practices provide data and processes that help mitigate the likelihood and impact of potentially damaging IT risks.

ITAM supports the following practices that help manage organizational risk:

  • Security Controls Development
  • Security Incident Response
  • Security Audit Reports
  • Regulatory Compliance Reports
  • IT Risk Management
  • Technical Debt Management
  • M&A Due Diligence
Optimize Spend: Asset data is essential to maintaining oversight of IT spend, ensuring that scarce resources are allocated where they can have the most impact.

ITAM supports these activities that help optimize spend:

  • Vendor Management & Negotiations
  • IT Budget Management & Variance Analysis
  • Asset Utilization Analysis
  • FinOps & Cloud Spend Optimization
  • Showback & Chargeback
  • Software Audit Defense
  • Application Rationalization
  • Contract Consolidation
  • License and Device Reallocation
Improve IT Services: Asset data can help inform solutions development and can be used by service teams to enhance and improve IT service practices.

Use ITAM to facilitate these IT services and initiatives:

  • Solution and Enterprise Architecture
  • Service Level Management
  • Technology Procurement
  • Technology Refresh Projects
  • Incident & Problem Management
  • Request Management
  • Change Management
  • Green IT

1.1 Brainstorm ideas to create a vision for the ITAM practice

30 minutes

Input: Stakeholders with a vision of what ITAM could provide, if resourced and funded adequately

Output: A collection of ideas that, when taken together, create a vision for the future ITAM practice

Materials: ITAM strategy template, Whiteboard or virtual whiteboard

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

It can be easy to lose sight of long-term goals when you’re stuck in firefighting mode. Let’s get the working group into a forward-looking mindset with this exercise.

Think about what ITAM could deliver with unlimited time, money, and technology.

  1. Provide three sticky notes to each participant.
  2. Add the headings to a whiteboard, or use a blank slide as a digital whiteboard
  3. On each sticky note, ask participants to outline a single idea as follows:
    1. We could: [idea]
    2. Which would help: [stakeholder]
    3. Because: [outcome]
  4. Ask participants to present their sticky notes and post them to the whiteboard. Ask later participants to group similar ideas together.

As you hear your peers describe what they hope and expect to achieve with ITAM, a shared vision of what ITAM could be will start to emerge.

1.1 Identify structural ITAM challenges

30 minutes

Input: The list of common challenges on the next slide, Your estimated visibility into IT assets from the previous exercise, The experience and knowledge of your participants

Output: Identify current ITAM challenges

Materials: Your working copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

What’s standing in the way today of delivering the ITAM practices you want to achieve?

Review the list of common challenges on the next slide as a group.

  1. Delete any challenges that don’t apply to your organization.
  2. Modify any challenges as required to reflect your organization.
  3. Add further challenges that aren’t on the list, as required.
  4. Highlight challenges that are particularly painful.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

“The problem – the reason why asset management initiatives keep falling on their face – is that people attack asset management as a problem to solve, instead of a practice and epistemological construct.” (Jeremy Boerger, Consultant & Author)

1.1 Identify structural ITAM challenges

Review and update the list of common challenges below to reflect your own organization.

  • Leadership and executives don’t understand the value of asset management and don’t fund or resource it.
  • Tools aren’t fit for purpose, don’t scale, or are broken.
  • There’s a cultural tendency to focus on tools over processes.
  • ITAM data is fragmented across multiple repositories.
  • ITAM data is widely viewed as untrustworthy.
  • Stakeholders respond to vendor audits before consulting ITAM, which leads to confusion and risks penalties.
  • No time for improvement; we’re always fighting fires.
  • We don’t audit our own ITAM data for accuracy.
  • End-user equipment is shared, re-assigned, or disposed without notifying or involving IT.
  • No dedicated resources.
  • Lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities.
  • Technicians don’t track assets consistently; ITAM is seen as administrative busywork.
  • Many ITAM tasks are manual and prone to error.
  • Inconsistent organizational policies and procedures.
  • We try to manage too many hardware types/software titles.
  • IT is not involved in the procurement process.
  • Request and procurement is seen as slow and excessively bureaucratic.
  • Hardware/software standards don’t exist or aren’t enforced.
  • Extensive rogue purchases/shadow IT are challenging to manage via ITAM tools and processes.
What Else?

Copy results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 1.2: Review organizational priorities, strategy, initiatives

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • Business executives or their delegates

Outcomes

  • Review organizational priorities and strategy.
  • Identify key initiatives.

Enter the executives

Deliver on leadership priorities

  • Your business’ major transformative projects and executive priorities might seem far removed from hardware and software tracking. Why would we start with business strategy and executive priorities as we’re setting goals for the ITAM program?
  • While business executives have (likely) no interest in how software and hardware is tracked, they are accountable for the outcomes ITAM can enable. They are the most likely to understand why and how ITAM can deliver value to the organization.
  • ITAM succeeds by enabling its stakeholders to achieve business outcomes. The next three activities are designed to help you identify how you can enable your stakeholders, and what outcomes are most important from their point of view. Specifically:
    • What are the business’ planned transformational initiatives?
    • What are your highest priority goals?
    • What should the priorities of the ITAM practice be?
  • The answers to these questions will shape your approach to ITAM. Direct input from your leadership and executives – or their delegates – will help ensure you’re setting a solid foundation for your ITAM practice.

“What outcomes does the organization want from IT asset management? Often, senior managers have a clear vision for the organization and where IT needs to go, and the struggle is to communicate that down.” (Kylie Fowler, ITAM Intelligence)

Stock image of many hands with different puzzle pieces.

Executive Alignment Session Overview

ITAM Strategy Working Sessions

  • Discover & Brainstorm
  • Executive Alignment Working Session
    • 1.2 Review organizational strategy, priorities, and key initiatives
    • 1.3 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities, set ITAM priorities
  • ITAM Practice Maturity, Vision & Mission, Metrics & KPIs
  • Scope, Outsourcing, (De)Centralization, RACI
  • Service Management Integration
  • ITAM Tools
  • Audits, Budgets, Documents
  • Roadmap & Comms Plan

A note to the lead facilitator and project sponsor:
Consider working through these exercises by yourself ahead of time. As you do so, you’ll develop your own ideas about where these discussions may go, which will help you guide the discussion and provide examples to participants.

1.2 Review organizational strategy and priorities

30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The diagram in the next slide, and/or a whiteboard, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: Asset manager, IT leadership, Business executives or delegates

Welcome your group to the working session and outline the next few exercises using the previous slide.

Ask the most senior leader present to provide a summary of the following:

  1. What is the vision for the organization?
  2. What are our priorities and what must we absolutely get right?
  3. What do we expect the organization to look like in three years?

The facilitator or a dedicated note-taker should record key points on a whiteboard or flipchart paper.

1.2 Identify transformational initiatives

30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The diagram in the next slide, and/or a whiteboard, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: Asset manager, IT leadership, Business executives or delegates

Ask the most senior leader present to provide a summary of the following: What transformative business and IT initiatives are planned? When will they begin and end?

Using one box per initiative, draw the initiatives in a timeline like the one below.

Sample timeline for ITAM initiatives.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 1.3: Set business-aligned ITAM priorities

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • Business executives

Outcomes

  • Connect executive priorities to ITAM opportunities.
  • Set business-aligned priorities for the ITAM practice.

1.3 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities

45 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The diagram in the next slide, and/or a whiteboard, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: Asset manager, IT leaders and managers, Business executives or delegates

In this exercise, we’ll use the table on the next slide to identify the top priorities of key business and IT stakeholders and connect them to opportunities for the ITAM practice.

  1. Ask your leadership or executive delegates – what are their goals? What are they trying to accomplish? List roles and related goals in the table.
  2. Brainstorm opportunities for IT asset management to support listed goals:
    1. Can ITAM provide an enhanced level of service, access, or insight?
    2. Can ITAM address an existing issue or mitigate an existing risk?

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

1.3 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities (example)

ITAM is for the… Who wants to… Which presents these ITAM opportunities
CEO Deliver transformative business initiatives Acquire the right tech at the right time to support transformational initiatives.
Establish a data-driven culture of stewardship Improve data to increase IT spend transparency.
COO Improve organizational efficiency Increase asset use.
Consolidate major software contracts to drive discounts.
CFO Accurately forecast spending Track and anticipate IT asset spending.
Control spending Improve data to increase IT spend transparency.
Consolidate major software contracts to drive discounts.
CIO Demonstrate IT value Use data to tell a story about value delivered by IT assets.
Govern IT use Improve data to increase IT spend transparency.
CISO Manage IT security and compliance risks Identify abandoned or out-of-spec IT assets.
Provide IT asset data to support controls development.
Respond to security incidents Support security incident teams with IT asset data.
Apps Leader Build, integrate, and support applications Identify opportunities to retire applications with redundant functionality.
Connect applications to relevant licensing and support agreements.
IT Infra Leader Build and support IT infrastructure. Provide input on opportunities to standardize hardware and software.
Provide IT asset data to technicians supporting end users.

1.3 Categorize ITAM opportunities

10-15 minutes

Input: The outputs from the previous exercise

Output: Executive priorities, sorted into the three categories at the right

Materials: The table in this slide, The outputs from the previous exercise

Participants: Lead facilitator

Give your participants a quick break. Quickly sort the identified ITAM opportunities into the three main categories below as best you can.

We’ll use this table as context for the next exercise.

Example: Optimize Spend Enhance IT Services Manage Risk
ITAM Opportunities
  • Improve data to increase IT spend transparency.
  • Consolidate major software contracts to drive discounts.
  • Increase asset utilization.
  • Identify opportunities to retire applications with redundant functionality
  • Acquire the right tech at the right time to support transformational initiatives.
  • Provide IT asset data to technicians supporting end users.
  • Identify abandoned or out-of-spec IT assets.
  • Provide IT asset data to support controls development.
  • Support security incident teams with IT asset data.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

1.3 Set ITAM priorities

30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: Whiteboard, The template on the next slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: Asset manager, IT leaders and managers, Business executives or delegates

The objective of this exercise is to prioritize the outcomes your organization wants to achieve from its ITAM practice, given the context from the previous exercises.

Review the image below. The three points of the triangle are the three core goals of ITAM: Enhance IT Service, Manage Risk, and Optimize Spend. This exercise was first developed by Kylie Fowler of ITAM Intelligence. It is an essential exercise to understand ITAM priorities and the tradeoffs associated with those priorities. These priorities aren’t set in stone and should be revisited periodically as technology and business priorities change.

Draw the diagram on the next slide on a whiteboard. Have the most senior leader in the room place the dot on the triangle – the closer it is to any one of the goals, the more important that goal is to the organization. Note: The center of the triangle is off limits! It’s very rarely possible to deliver on all three at once.
Track notes on what’s being prioritized – and why – in the template on the next slide.
Triangle with the points labelled 'Enhance IT Service', 'Manage Risk', and 'Optimize Spend'.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

1.3 Set ITAM Priorities

The priorities of the ITAM practice are to:
  • Optimize Spend
  • Manage Risk
Why?
  • We believe there is significant opportunity right now to rationalize spend by consolidating key software contracts.
  • Major acquisitions are anticipated in the near future. Effective ITAM processes are expected to mitigate acquisition risk by supporting due diligence and streamlined integration of acquired organizations.
  • Ransomware and supply chain security threats have increased demands for a comprehensive accounting of IT assets to support security controls development and security incident response.
(Update this section with notes from your discussion.)
Triangle with the points labelled 'Enhance IT Service', 'Manage Risk', and 'Optimize Spend'. There is a dot close to the 'Optimize Spend' corner, a legend labelling the dot as 'Our Target', and a note reading 'Move this dot to reflect your priorities'.

Step 1.4: Identify ITAM goals, target maturity

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers

Outcomes

  • Connect executive priorities to ITAM opportunities.
  • Set business-aligned priorities for the ITAM practice.

“ITAM is really no different from the other ITIL practices: to succeed, you’ll need some ratio of time, treasure, and talent… and you can make up for less of one with more of the other two.” (Jeremy Boerger, Consultant and Author)

1.4 Identify near- and medium-term goals

15-30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Narrow down the list of opportunities to identify specific goals for the ITAM practice.

  1. Use one color to highlight opportunities you will seize in the next year.
  2. Use a second color to highlight opportunities you plan to address in the next three years.
  3. Leave blank anything you don’t intend to address in this timeframe.

The highlighted opportunities are your near- and medium-term objectives.

Optimize Spend Enhance IT Services Manage Risk
Priority Critical Normal High
ITAM Opportunities
  • Improve data to increase IT spend transparency.
  • Increase asset utilization.
  • Consolidate major software contracts to drive discounts.
  • Identify opportunities to retire applications with redundant functionality
  • Acquire the right tech at the right time to support transformational initiatives.
  • Provide IT asset data to technicians supporting end users.
  • Identify abandoned or out-of-spec IT assets.
  • Provide IT asset data to support controls development.
  • Support security incident teams with IT asset data.

1.4 Connect ITAM goals to tactics

30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Let’s dig down a little deeper. Connect the list of opportunities from earlier to specific ITAM tactics that allow the team to seize those opportunities.

Add another row to the earlier table for ITAM tactics. Brainstorm tactics with your participants (e.g. sticky notes on a whiteboard) and align them with the priorities they’ll support.

Optimize SpendEnhance IT ServicesManage Risk
PriorityCriticalNormalHigh
ITAM Opportunities
  • Improve data to increase IT spend transparency.
  • Increase asset utilization.
  • Consolidate major software contracts to drive discounts.
  • Identify opportunities to retire applications with redundant functionality
  • Acquire the right tech at the right time to support transformational initiatives.
  • Provide IT asset data to technicians supporting end users.
  • Identify abandoned or out-of-spec IT assets.
  • Provide IT asset data to support controls development.
  • Support security incident teams with IT asset data.
ITAM Tactics to Seize Opportunities
  • Review and improve hardware budgeting exercises.
  • Reallocate unused licenses, hardware.
  • Ensure ELP reports are up to date.
  • Validate software usage.
  • Data to support software renewal negotiations.
  • Use info from ITAM for more efficient adds, moves, changes.
  • Integrate asset records with the ticket intake system, so that when someone calls the service desk, the list of their assigned equipment is immediately available.
  • Find and retire abandoned devices or services with access to the organization’s network.
  • Report on lost/stolen devices.
  • Develop reliable disposal processes.
  • Report on unpatched devices/software.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

1.4 Identify current and target state

20 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

We’ll use this exercise to identify the current and one-year target state of ITAM using Info-Tech’s ITAM maturity framework.

  1. Review the maturity framework on the next slide as a group.
  2. In one color, highlight statements that reflect your organization today. Summarize your current state. Are you in firefighter mode? Between “firefighter” and “trusted operator”?
  3. In a second color, highlight statements that reflect where you want to be one year from today, taking into consideration the goals and tactics identified in the last exercise.
  4. During a break, copy the highlighted statements to the table on the slide after next, then add this final slide to your working copy of the ITAM Strategy Template.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Establish current and target ITAM maturity

IT maturity ladder with five color-coded levels. Innovator – Optimized Asset Management
  • All items from Business & Technology Partner, plus:
  • Business and IT stakeholders collaborate regularly with the ITAM team to identify new opportunities to leverage or deploy ITAM practices and data to mitigate risks, optimize spend, and improve service. The ITAM program scales with the business.
Business & Technology Partner – Proactive Asset Management
  • All items from Trusted Operator, plus:
  • The ITAM data is integral to decisions related to budget, project planning, IT architecture, contract renewal, and vendor management. Software and cloud assets are reviewed as frequently as required to manage costs. ITAM data consumers have self-serve access to ITAM data.
  • Continuous improvement practices strengthen ITAM efficiency and effectiveness.
  • ITAM processes, standards, and related policies are regularly reviewed and updated. ITAM teams work closely with SMEs for key tools/systems integrated with ITAM (e.g. AD, ITSM, monitoring tools) to maximize the value and reliability of integrations.
Trusted Operator – Controls Assets
  • ITAM data for deployed hardware and software is regularly audited for accuracy.
  • Sufficient staff and skills to support asset tracking, including a dedicated IT asset management role. Teams responsible for ITAM data collection cooperate effectively. Policies and procedures are documented and enforced. Key licenses and contracts are available to the ITAM team. Discovery, tracking, and analysis tools support most important use cases.
Firefighter – Reactive Asset Tracking
  • Data is often untrustworthy, may be fragmented across multiple repositories, and typically requires significant effort to translate or validate before use.
  • Insufficient staff, fragmented or incomplete policies or documentation. Data tracking processes are extremely highly manual. Effective cooperation for ITAM data collection is challenging.
  • ITAM tools are in place, but additional configuration or tooling is needed.
Unreliable - Struggles to Support
  • No data, or data is typically unusable.
  • No allocated staff, no cooperation between parties responsible for ITAM data collection.
  • No related policies or documentation.
  • Tools are non-existent or not fit-for-purpose.

Current and target ITAM maturity

Today:
Firefighter
  • Data is often untrustworthy, is fragmented across multiple repositories, and typically requires significant effort to translate or validate before use.
  • Insufficient staff, fragmented or incomplete policies or documentation.
  • Tools are non-existent.
In One Year:
Trusted Operator
  • ITAM data for deployed hardware and software is regularly audited for accuracy.
  • Sufficient staff and skills to support asset tracking, including a dedicated IT asset management role.
  • Teams responsible for ITAM data collection cooperate effectively.
  • Discovery, tracking, and analysis tools support most important use cases.
IT maturity ladder with five color-coded levels.

Innovator – Optimized Asset Management

Business & Technology Partner – Proactive Asset Management

Trusted Operator – Controls Assets

Firefighter – Reactive Asset Tracking

Unreliable - Struggles to Support

Step 1.5: Write mission and vision statements

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers

Outcomes

  • Write a mission statement that encapsulates the purpose and intentions of the ITAM practice today.
  • Write a vision statement that describes what the ITAM practice aspires to become and achieve.

Write vision and mission statements

Create two statements to summarize the role of the ITAM practice today – and where you want it to be in the future.

Create two short, compelling statements that encapsulate:
  • The vision for what we want the ITAM practice to be in the future; and
  • The mission – the purpose and intentions – of the ITAM practice today.

Why bother creating mission and vision statements? After all, isn’t it just rehashing or re-writing all the work we’ve just done? Isn’t that (at best) a waste of time?

There are a few very important reasons to create mission and vision statements:

  • Create a compass that can guide work today and your roadmap for the future.
  • Focus on the few things you must do, rather than the many things you could do.
  • Concisely communicate a compelling vision for the ITAM practice to a larger audience who (let’s face it) probably won’t read the entire ITAM Strategy deck.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” (Mark Twain)

1.5 Write an ITAM vision statement

30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: A whiteboard, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT Leaders and managers

Your vision statement describes the ITAM practice as it will be in the far future. It is a target to aspire to, beyond your ability to achieve in the near or medium term.

Examples of ITAM vision statements:

Develop the single accurate view of IT assets, available to anyone who needs it.

Indispensable data brokers that support strategic decisions on the IT environment.

Provide sticky notes to participants. Write out the three questions below on a whiteboard side by side. Have participants write their answers to the questions and post them below the appropriate question. Give everyone 10 minutes to write and post their ideas.

  1. What’s the desired future state of the ITAM practice?
  2. What needs to be done to achieved this desired state?
  3. How do we want ITAM to be perceived in this desired state?

Review the answers and combine them into one focused vision statement. Use the 20x20 rule: take no more than 20 minutes and use no more than 20 words. If you’re not finished after 20 minutes, the ITAM manager should make any final edits offline.

Document your vision statement in your ITAM Strategy Template.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

1.5 Write an ITAM mission statement

30 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Your ITAM mission statement is an expression of what your IT asset management function brings to your organization today. It should be presented in straightforward language that is compelling, easy to understand, and sharply focused.

Examples of ITAM mission statements:

Maintain accurate, actionable, accessible on data on all IT assets.

Support IT and the business with centralized and integrated asset data.

Provide sticky notes to participants. Write out the questions below on a whiteboard side by side. Have participants write their answers to the questions and post them below the appropriate question. Give everyone 10 minutes to write and post their ideas.

  1. What is our role as the asset management team?
  2. How do we support the IT and business strategies?
  3. What does our asset management function offer that no one else can?

Review the answers and combine them into one focused vision statement. Use the 20x20 rule: take no more than 20 minutes and use no more than 20 words. If you’re not finished after 20 minutes, the ITAM manager should make any final edits offline.

Document your vision statement in your ITAM Strategy Template.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 1.6: Define ITAM metrics and KPIs

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers

Outcomes

  • Identify metrics, data, or reports that may be of interest to different consumers of ITAM data.
  • Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the ITAM practice, based on the goals and priorities established earlier.

Navigate a universe of ITAM metrics

When you have the data, how will you use it?

  • There’s a dizzying array of potential metrics you can develop and track across your ITAM environment.
  • Different stakeholders will need different data feeds, metrics, reports, and dashboards.
  • Different measures will be useful at different times. You will often need to filter or slice the data in different ways (by department, timeframe, equipment type, etc.)
  • We’ll use the next few exercises to identify the types of metrics that may be useful to different stakeholders and the KPIs to measure progress towards ITAM goals and priorities.

ITAM Metrics

  • Quantity
    e.g. # of devices or licenses
  • Cost
    e.g. average laptop cost
  • Compliance
    e.g. effective license position reports
  • Progress
    e.g. ITAM roadmap items completed
  • Quality
    e.g. ITAM data accuracy rate
  • Time
    e.g. time to procure/ deploy

Drill down by:

  • Vendor
  • Date
  • Dept.
  • Product
  • Location
  • Cost Center

Develop different metrics for different teams

A few examples:

  • CIOs — CIOs need asset data to govern technology use, align to business needs, and demonstrate IT value. What do we need to budget for hardware and software in the next year? Where can we find money to support urgent new initiatives? How many devices and software titles do we manage compared to last year? How has IT helped the business achieve key goals?
  • Asset Managers — Asset managers require data to help them oversee ITAM processes, technology, and staff, and to manage the fleet of IT assets they’re expected to track. What’s the accuracy rate of ITAM data? What’s the state of integrations between ITAM and other systems and processes? How many renewals are coming up in the next 90 days? How many laptops are in stock?
  • IT Leaders — IT managers need data that can support their teams and help them manage the technology within their mandate. What technology needs to be reviewed or retired? What do we actually manage?
  • Technicians — Service desk technicians need real-time access to data on IT assets to support service requests and incident management – for example, easy access to the list of equipment assigned to a particular user or installed in a particular location.
  • Business Managers and Executives — Business managers and executives need concise, readable dashboards to support business decisions about business use of IT assets. What’s our overall asset spend? What’s our forecasted spend? Where could we reallocate spend?

1.6 Identify useful ITAM metrics and reports

60 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Use this exercise to identify as many potentially useful ITAM metrics and reports as possible, and narrow them down to a few high-priority metrics. Leverage the list of example metrics on the next slide for your own exercise. If you have more than six participants, consider splitting into two or more groups, and divide the table between groups to minimize overlap.

  1. List potential consumers of ITAM data in the column on the left.
  2. What type of information do we think this role needs? What questions about IT assets do we get on a regular basis from this role or team?
  3. Review and consolidate the list as a group. Discuss and highlight any metrics the group thinks are a particularly high priority for tracking.
Role Compliance Quality Quantity Cost Time Progress
IT Asset Manager Owned devices not discovered in last 60 days Discrepancies between discovery data and ITAM DB records # of corporate-owned devices Spend on hardware (recent and future/ planned) Average time, maximum time to deploy end-user devices Number of ITAM roadmap items in progress
Service Desk

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Examples of ITAM metrics

Compliance Quality Quantity Cost Time/Duration/Age Progress
Owned devices not discovered in last 60 days Discrepancies between discovery data and ITAM DB records # of corporate-owned devices Spend on hardware (recent and future/planned) Average time, maximum time to deploy end-user devices Number of ITAM roadmap items in progress or completed
Disposed devices without certificate of destruction Breakage rates (in and out of warranty) by vendor # of devices running software title X, # of licenses for software title X Spend on software (recent and future/planned) Average time, maximum time to deploy end user software Number of integrations between ITAM DB and other sources
Discrepancies between licenses and install count, by software title RMAs by vendor, model, equipment type Number of requests by equipment model or software title Spend on cloud (recent and future/planned) Average & total time spent on software audit responses Number of records in ITAM database
Compliance reports (e.g. tied to regulatory compliance or grant funding) Tickets by equipment type or software title Licenses issued from license pool in the last 30 days Value of licenses issued from license pool in the last 30 days (cost avoidance) Devices by age Software titles with an up-to-date ELP report
Reports on lost and stolen devices, including last assigned, date reported stolen, actions taken User device satisfaction scores, CSAT scores Number of devices retired or donated in last year Number of IT-managed capital assets Number of hardware/software request tickets beyond time-to-fulfil targets Number of devices audited (by ITAM team via self-audit)
Number of OS versions, unpatched systems Number of devices due for refresh in the next year Spend saved by harvesting unused software Number of software titles, software vendors managed by ITAM team
Audit accuracy rate Equipment in stock Cost savings from negotiations
# of users assigned more than one device Number of non-standard devices or requests Dollars charged during audit or true-up

Differentiate between metrics and KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics with targets aligned to goals.

Targets could include one or more of:

  • Target state (e.g. completed)
  • Target magnitude (e.g. number, percent, rate, dollar amount)
  • Target direction (e.g. trending up or down)

You may track many metrics, but you should have only a few KPIs (typically 2-3 per objective).

A breached KPI should be a trigger to investigate and remediate the root cause of the problem, to ensure progress towards goals and priorities can continue.

Which KPIs you track will change over the life of the practice, as ITAM goals and priorities shift. For example, KPIs may initially track progress towards maturing ITAM practices. Once you’ve reached target maturity, KPIs may shift to track whether the key service targets are being met.

1.6 Identify ITAM KPIs

20 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Good KPIs are a more objective measure of whether you’re succeeding in meeting the identified priorities for the ITAM practice.

Identify metrics that can measure progress or success against the priorities and goals set earlier. Aim for around three metrics per goal. Identify targets for the metric you think are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound). Track your work using the example table below.

Goal Metric Target
Consolidate major software contracts to drive discounts Amount spent on top 10 software contracts Decrease by 10% by next year
Customer satisfaction scores with enterprise software Satisfaction is equal to or better than last year
Value of licenses issued from license pool 30% greater than last year
Identify abandoned or out-of-spec IT assets # of security incidents involving undiscovered assets Zero
% devices with “Deployed” status in ITAM DB but not discovered for 30+ days ‹1% of all records in ITAM DB
Provide IT asset data to technicians for service calls Customer satisfaction scores Satisfaction is equal to or better than last year
% of end-user devices meeting minimum standards 97%

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Develop an IT Asset Management Strategy

Phase 2:

Identify your approach to support ITAM priorities and goals

Phase 1

1.1 Define ITAM and brainstorm opportunities and challenges.

Executive Alignment Working Session:

1.2 Review organizational priorities, strategy, and key initiatives.

1.3 Align executive priorities with ITAM opportunities & priorities.

1.4 Identify business-aligned ITAM goals and target maturity.

1.5 Write mission and vision statements.

1.6 Define ITAM metrics and KPIs.

Phase 2

2.1 Define ITAM scope.

2.2 Acquire ITAM services (outsourcing and contracting).

2.3 Centralize or decentralize ITAM capabilities.

2.4 Create a RACI for the ITAM practice.

2.5 Align ITAM with other service management practices.

2.6 Evaluate ITAM tools and integrations.

2.7 Create a plan for internal and external audits.

2.8 Improve your budget processes.

2.9 Establish a documentation framework.

2.10 Create a roadmap and communication plan.

Phase Outcomes:

Establish an approach to achieving ITAM goals and priorities, including scope, structure, tools, service management integrations, documentation, and more.

Create a roadmap that enables you to realize your approach.

Step 2.1: Define ITAM Scope

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Establish what types of equipment and software you’ll track through the ITAM practice.
  • Establish which areas of the business will be in scope of the ITAM practice.

Determine ITAM Scope

Focus on what’s most important and then document it so everyone understands where they can provide the most value.

Not all categories of assets require the same level of tracking, and some equipment and software should be excluded from the ITAM practice entirely.

In some organizations, portions of the environment won’t be tracked by the asset management team at all. For example, some organizations will choose to delegate tracking multi-function printers (MFPs) or proprietary IoT devices to the department or vendor that manages them.

Due to resourcing or technical limitations, you may decide that certain equipment or software is out of scope for the moment.

What do other organizations typically track in detail?
  • Installs and entitlements for major software contracts that represent significant spend and/or are highly critical to business goals.
  • Equipment managed directly by IT that needs to be refreshed on a regular cycle:
    • End-user devices such as laptops, desktops, and tablets.
    • Server, network, and telecoms devices.
  • High value equipment that is not regularly refreshed may also be tracked, but in less detail – for example, you may not refresh large screen TVs, but you may need to track date of purchase, deployed location, vendor, and model for insurance or warranty purposes.

2.1 Establish scope for ITAM

45 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: ITAM scope, in terms of types of assets tracked and not tracked

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

Establish the hardware and software that are within the scope of the ITAM program by updating the tables below to reflect your own environment. The “out of scope” category will include asset types that may be of value to track in the future but for which the capability or need don’t exist today.

Hardware Software Out of Scope
  • End-user devices housing data or with a dollar value of more than $300, which will be replaced through lifecycle refresh.
  • Infrastructure devices, including network, telecom, video conferencing, servers and more
  • End-user software purchased under contract
  • Best efforts on single license purchases
  • Infrastructure software, including solutions used by IT to manage the infrastructure
  • Enterprise applications
  • Cloud (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)
  • Departmental applications
  • Open-source applications
  • In-house developed applications
  • Freeware & shareware
  • IoT devices

The following locations will be included in the ITAM program: All North and South America offices and retail locations.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.2: Acquire ITAM Services

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Define the type of work that may be more effectively or efficiently delivered by an outsourcer or contractor.

“We would like our clients to come to us with an idea of where they want to get to. Why are you doing this? Is it for savings? Because you want to manage your security attack surface? Are there digital initiatives you want to move forward? What is the end goal?” (Mike Austin, MetrixData 360)

Effectively acquire ITAM services

Allow your team to focus on strategic, value-add activities by acquiring services that free them from commodity tasks.
  • When determining which asset capabilities and activities are best kept in-house and which ones are better handled by a supplier, it is imperative to keep the value to the business in mind.
  • Activities/capabilities that are challenging to standardize and are critical to enabling business goals are better kept in-house.
  • Activities/capabilities that are (or should be) standardized and automated are ideal candidates for outsourcing.
  • Outsourcing can be effective and successful with a narrow scope of engagement and an alignment to business outcomes.
  • Organizations that heavily weigh cost reduction as a significant driver for outsourcing are far less likely to realize the value they expected to receive.
Business Enablement
  • Supports business-aligned ITAM opportunities & priorities
  • Highly specialized
  • Offers competitive advantages
Map with axes 'Business Enablement' and 'Vendor's Performance Advantage' for determining whether or not to outsource.
Vendor’s Performance Advantage
  • Talent or access to skills
  • Economies of scale
  • Access to technology
  • Does not require deep knowledge of your business

Decide what to outsource

It’s rarely all or nothing.

Ask yourself:
  • How important is this activity or capability to ITAM, IT, and business priorities and goals?
  • Is it a non-commodity IT service that can improve customer satisfaction?
  • Is it a critical service to the business and the specialized knowledge must remain in-house?
  • Does the function require access to talent or skills not currently available in-house, and is cost-prohibitive to obtain?
  • Are there economies of scale that can help us meet growing demand?
  • Does the vendor provide access to best-of-breed tools and solutions that can handle the integration, management, maintenance and support of the complete system?

You may ultimately choose to engage a single vendor or a combination of multiple vendors who can best meet your ITAM needs.

Establishing effective vendor management processes, where you can maximize the amount of service you receive while relying on the vendor’s expertise and ability to scale, can help you make your asset management practice a net cost-saver.

ITAM activities and capabilities
  • Contract review
  • Software audit management
  • Asset tagging
  • Asset disposal and recycling
  • Initial ITAM record creation
  • End-user device imaging
  • End-user device deployment
  • End-user software provisioning
  • End-user image management
  • ITAM database administration
  • ELP report creation
  • ITAM process management
  • ITAM report generation
ITAM-adjacent activities and capabilities
  • Tier 1 support/service desk
  • Deskside/field support
  • Tier 3 support
  • IT Procurement
  • Device management/managed IT services
  • Budget development
  • Applications development, maintenance
  • Infrastructure hosting (e.g. cloud or colocation)
  • Infrastructure management and support
  • Discovery/monitoring tools management and support

2.2 Identify outsourcing opportunities

1-2 hours

Input: Understanding of current ITAM processes and challenges

Output: Understanding of potential outsourcing opportunities

Materials: The table in this slide, and insight in previous slides, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

At a high level, discuss which functions of ITAM are good candidates for outsourcing.

Start with the previous slide for examples of outsourcing activities or capabilities directly related to or adjacent to the ITAM practice. Categorize these activities as follows:

Outsource Potentially Outsource Insource
  • Asset disposal/recycling
  • ELP report creation
  • ITAM process management

Go through the list of activities to potentially or definitely outsource and confirm:

  1. Will outsourcing solve a resourcing need for an existing process, or can you deliver this adequately in-house?
  2. Will outsourcing improve the effectiveness and efficiency of current processes? Will it deliver more effective service channels or improved levels of reliability and performance consistency?
  3. Will outsourcing provide or enable enhanced service capabilities that your IT customers could use, and which you cannot deliver in-house due to lack of scale or capacity?

Answering “no” to more than one of these questions suggests a need to further review options to ensure the goals are aligned with the potential value of the service offerings available.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.3: Centralize or decentralize ITAM capabilities

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Outline where the team(s) responsible for ITAM sit across the organization, who they report to, and who they need to work with across IT and the business.

Align ITAM with IT’s structure

ITAM’s structure will typically align with the larger business and IT structure. The wrong structure will undermine your ability to meet ITAM goals and lead to frustration, missed work, inefficiency, and loss of value.

Which of the four archetypes below reflects the structure you need?

  1. Centralized — ITAM is entirely centralized in a single function, which reports into a central IT department.
  2. Decentralized — Local IT groups are responsible and accountable for ITAM. They may coordinate informally but do not report to any central team.
  3. Hybrid-Shared Services — Local IT can opt in to shared services but must follow centrally set ITAM practices to do so, usually with support from a shared ITAM function.
  4. Hybrid-Federated — Local IT departments are free to develop their own approach to ITAM outside of core, centrally set requirements.

Centralized ITAM

Total coordination, control, and oversight

  • ITAM accountability, policies, tools, standards, and expertise – in this model, they’re all concentrated in a single, specialized IT asset management practice. Accountability, authority, and oversight are concentrated in the central function as well.
  • A central ITAM team will benefit from knowledge sharing and task specialization opportunities. They are a visible single point of contact for ITAM-related questions
  • The central ITAM team will coordinate ITAM activities across the organization to optimize spend, manage risk, and enhance service. Any local IT teams are supported by and directly answerable to the central ITAM team for ITAM activities.
  • There is a single, centrally managed ITAM database. Wherever possible, this database should be integrated with other tools to support cross-solution automation (e.g. integrate AD to automatically reflect user identity changes in the ITAM database).
  • This model drives cross-organization coordination and oversight, but it may not be responsive to specific and nuanced local requirements.
Example: Centralized
Example of a Centralized ITAM.

Solid line. Direct reporting relationship

Dotted line. Dotted line working or reporting relationship

Decentralized ITAM

Maximize choice

  • ITAM accountability and oversight are entirely devolved to local or regional IT and/or ITAM organizations, which are free to set their own priorities, goals, policies, and standards. This model maximizes the authority of local groups to build practices that meet local requirements.
  • It may be challenging to resource and mature local practices. ITAM maturity will vary from one local organization to the next.
  • It is more likely that ITAM managers are a part-time role, and sometimes even a non-IT role. Local ITAM teams or coordinators may coordinate and share knowledge informally, but specialization can be challenging to build or leverage effectively across the organization.
  • There is likely no central ITAM tool. Local tools may be acquired, implemented, and integrated by local IT departments to suit their own needs, which can make it very difficult to report on assets organization-wide – for example, to establish compliance on an enterprise software contract.
Example: Decentralized


Example of a Decentralized ITAM.

Solid line. Direct reporting relationship

Dotted line. Dotted line working or reporting relationship

Blue dotted line. Informal working relationships, knowledge sharing

Hybrid: Federation

Centralization with a light touch

  • A middle ground between centralized and decentralized ITAM, this model balances centralized decision making, specialization, and governance with local autonomy.
  • A central team will define organization-wide ITAM goals, develop capabilities, policies, and standards, and monitor compliance by local and central teams. All local teams must comply with centrally defined requirements, but they can also develop further capabilities to meet local goals.
  • For example, there will typically be a central ITAM database that must be used for at least a subset of assets, but other teams may build their own databases for day-to-day operations and export data to the central database as required.
  • There are often overlapping responsibilities in this model. A strong collaborative relationship between central and local ITAM teams is especially important here, particularly after major changes to requirements, processes, tools, or staffing when issues and breakdowns are more likely.
Example: Federation


Example of a Federation ITAM.

Solid line. Direct reporting relationship

Purple solid line. Oversight/governance

Dotted line. Dotted line working or reporting relationship

Hybrid: Shared Services

Optional centralization

  • A special case of federated ITAM that balances central control and local autonomy, but with more power given to local IT to opt out of centralized shared services that come with centralized ITAM requirements.
  • ITAM requirements set by the shared services team will support management, allocation, and may have showback or chargeback implications. Following the ITAM requirements is a condition of service. If a local organization chooses to stop using shared services, they are (naturally) no longer required to adhere to the shared services ITAM requirements.
  • As with the federated model, local teams may develop further capabilities to meet local goals.
Example: Shared Services


Example of a Shared Services ITAM.

Solid line. Direct reporting relationship

Dotted line. Dotted line working relationship

Blue dotted line. Informal working relationships, knowledge sharing

Structure data collection & analysis

Consider the implications of structure on data.

Why centralize?
  • There is a need to build reports that aggregate data on assets organization-wide, rather than just assets within a local environment.
  • Decentralized ITAM tracking isn’t producing accurate or usable data, even for local purposes.
  • Tracking tools have overlapping functionality. There’s an opportunity to rationalize spend, management and support for ITAM tools.
  • Contract centralization can optimize spend and manage risks, but only with the data required to manage those contracts.
Why decentralize?
  • Tracking and reporting on local assets is sufficient to meet ITAM goals; there is limited or no need to track assets organization-wide.
  • Local teams have the skills to track and maintain asset data; subsidiaries have appropriate budgets and tools to support ITAM tracking.
  • Decentralized ITSM/ITAM tools are in place, populated, and accurate.
  • The effort to consolidate tools and processes may outweigh the benefits to data centralization.
  • Lots of variability in types of assets and the environment is stable.
Requirements for success:
  • A centralized IT asset management solution is implemented and managed.
  • Local teams must understand the why and how of centralized data tracking and be held accountable for assigned responsibilities.
  • The asset tool should offer both centralized and localized views of the data.
Requirements for success:
  • Guidelines and expectations for reporting to centralized asset management team will be well defined and supported.
  • Local asset managers will have opportunity to collaborate with others in the role for knowledge transfer and asset trading, where appropriate.

Structure budget and contract management

Contract consolidation creates economies of scale for vendor management and license pooling that strengthen your negotiating position with vendors and optimize spend.

Why centralize?
  • Budgeting, governance, and accountability are already centralized. Centralized ITAM practices can support the existing governance practices.
  • Centralizing contract management and negotiation can optimize spend and/or deliver access to better service.
  • Centralize management for contracts that cover most of the organization, are highly complex, involve large spend and/or higher risk, and will benefit from specialization of asset staff.
Why decentralize?
  • Budgeting, governance, and accountability rest with local organizations.
  • There may be increased need for high levels of customer responsiveness and support.
  • Decentralize contract management for contracts used only by local groups (e.g. a few divisions, a few specialized functions), and that are smaller, low risk, and come with standard terms and conditions.
Requirements for success:
  • A centralized IT asset management solution is implemented and managed.
  • Contract terms must be harmonized across the organization.
  • Centralized fulfillment is as streamlined as possible. For example, software contracts should include the right to install at any time and pay through a true-up process.
Requirements for success:
  • Any expectations for harmonization with the centralized asset management team will be well defined and supported.
  • Local asset managers can collaborate with other local ITAM leads to support knowledge transfer, asset swapping, etc.

Structure technology management

Are there opportunities to centralize or decentralize support functions?

Why centralize?
  • Standard technologies are deployed organization-wide.
  • There are opportunities to improve service and optimize costs by consolidating knowledge, service contracts, and support functions.
  • Centralizing data on product supply allows for easier harvest and redeployment of assets by a central support team.
  • A stable, central support function can better support localized needs during seasonal staffing changes, mergers and acquisitions.
Why decentralize?
  • Technology is unique to a local subset of users or customers.
  • Minimal opportunity for savings or better support by consolidating knowledge, service contracts, or support functions.
  • Refresh standards are set at a local level; new tech adoption may be impeded by a reliance on older technologies, local budget shortfalls, or other constraints.
  • Hardware may need to be managed locally if shipping costs and times can’t reasonably be met by a distant central support team.
Requirements for success:
  • Ensure required processes, technologies, skills, and knowledge are in place to enable centralized support.
  • Keep a central calendar of contract renewals, including reminders to start work on the renewal no less than 90 days prior. Prioritize contracts with high dollar value or high risk.
  • The central asset management solution should be configured to provide data that can enable the central support team.
Requirements for success:
  • Ensure required processes, technologies, skills, and knowledge are in place to enable decentralized support.
  • Decentralized support teams must understand and adhere to ITAM activities that are part of support work (e.g. data entry, data audits).
  • The central asset management solution should be configured to provide data that can enable the central support team, or decentralized asset solutions must be funded, and teams trained on their use.

2.3 Review ITAM Structure

1-2 hours

Input: Understanding of current organizational structure, Understanding of challenges and opportunities related to the current structure

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

Outline the current model for your organization and identify opportunities to centralize or decentralize ITAM-related activities.

  1. What model best describes how ITAM should be structured in your organization? Modify the slide outlining structure as a group to outline your own organization, as required.
  2. In the table below, outline opportunities to centralize or decentralize data tracking, budget and contract management, and technology management activities.
Centralize Decentralize
Data collection & analysis
  • Make better use of central ITAM database.
  • Support local IT departments building runbooks for data tracking during lifecycle activities (create templates, examples)
Budget and contract management
  • Centralize Microsoft contracts.
  • Create a runbook to onboard new companies to MSFT contracts.
  • Create tools and data views to support local department budget exercises.
Technology management
  • Ensure all end-user devices are visible to centrally managed InTune, ConfigMgr.
  • Enable direct shipping from vendor to local sites.
  • Establish disposal/pickup at local sites.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.4: Create a RACI

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Review the role of the IT asset manager.
  • Identify who’s responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for key ITAM activities.

Empower your asset manager

The asset manager is the critical ITAM role. Ensure they’re positioned to succeed.

There’s too much change in the technology and business environment to expect ITAM to be “a problem to solve.” It is a practice that requires care and feeding through regular iteration to achieve success. At the helm of this practice is your asset manager, whose approach and past experience will have a significant impact on how you approach ITAM.

The asset manager role requires a variety of skills, knowledge, and abilities including:

  • Operations, process, and practice management.
  • An ability to communicate, influence, negotiate, and facilitate.
  • Organizational knowledge and relationship management.
  • Contract and license agreement analysis, attention to detail.
  • Natural curiosity and a willingness to learn.
  • A strong understanding of technologies in use by the organization, and how they fit into the asset management program.
Where the asset manager sits in the organization will also have an impact on their focus and priorities. When the asset manager reports into a service team, their focus will often reflect their team’s focus: end-user devices and software, customer satisfaction, request fulfillment. Asset teams that report into a leadership or governance function will be more likely to focus on organization-wide assets, governance, budget management, and compliance.

“Where your asset manager sits, and what past experience they have, is going to influence how they do asset management.” (Jeremy Boerger, Consultant & Author)

“It can be annoying at times, but a good IT asset manager will poke their nose into activities that do not obviously concern them, such as programme and project approval boards and technical design committees. Their aim is to identify and mitigate ITAM risks BEFORE the technology is deployed as well as to ensure that projects and solutions ‘bake in’ the necessary processes and tools that ensure IT assets can be managed effectively throughout their lifecycle.” (Kylie Fowler, ITAM by Design, 2017)

IT asset managers must have a range of skills and knowledge

  • ITAM Operations, Process, and Practice Management
    The asset manager is typically responsible for managing and improving the ITAM practice and related processes and tools. The asset manager may administer the ITAM tool, develop reports and dashboards, evaluate and implement new technologies or services to improve ITAM maturity, and more.
  • Organizational Knowledge
    An effective IT asset manager has a good understanding of your organization and its strategy, products, stakeholders, and culture.
  • Technology & Product Awareness
    An IT asset manager must learn about new and changing technologies and products adopted by the organization (e.g. IoT, cloud) and develop recommendations on how to track and manage them via the ITAM practice.
A book surrounded by icons corresponding to the bullet points.
  • People Management
    Asset managers often manage a team directly and have dotted-line reports across IT and the business.
  • Communication
    Important in any role, but particularly critical where learning, listening, negotiation, and persuasion are so critical.
  • Finance & Budgeting
    A foundational knowledge of financial planning and budgeting practices is often helpful, where the asset manager is asked to contribute to these activities.
  • Contract Review & Analysis
    Analyze new and existing contracts to evaluate changes, identify compliance requirements, and optimize spend.

Assign ITAM responsibilities and accountabilities

Align authority and accountability.
  • A RACI exercise will help you discuss and document accountability and responsibility for critical ITAM activities.
  • When responsibility and accountability are not currently well documented, it’s often useful to invite a representative of the roles identified to participate in this alignment exercise. The discussion can uncover contrasting views on responsibility and governance, which can help you build a stronger management and governance model.
  • The RACI chart can help you identify who should be involved when making changes to a given activity. Clarify the variety of responsibilities assigned to each key role.
  • In the future, you may need to define roles in more detail as you change your hardware and software asset management procedures.

R

Responsible: The person who actually gets the job done.

Different roles may be responsible for different aspects of the activity relevant to their role.

A

Accountable: The one role accountable for the activity (in terms completion, quality, cost, etc.)

Must have sufficient authority to be held accountable; responsible roles are often accountable to this role.

C

Consulted: Must have the opportunity to provide meaningful input at certain points in the activity.

Typically, subject matter experts or stakeholders. The more people you must consult, the more overhead and time you’ll add to a process.

I

Informed: Receives information regarding the task, but has no requirement to provide feedback.

Information might relate to process execution, changes, or quality.

2.4 Conduct a RACI Exercise

1-2 hours

Input: An understanding of key roles and activities in ITAM practices, An understanding of your organization, High-level structure of your ITAM program

Output: A RACI diagram for IT asset management

Materials: The table in the next slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

Let’s face it – RACI exercises can be dry. We’ve found that the approach below is more collaborative, engaging, and effective compared to filling out the table as a large group.

  1. Create a shared working copy of the RACI charts on the following slides (e.g. write it out on a whiteboard or provide a link to this document and work directly in it).
  2. Review the list of template roles and activities as a group. Add, change, or remove roles and activities from the table as needed.
  3. Divide into small groups. Assign each group a set of roles, and have them define whether that role is accountable, responsible, consulted, or informed for each activity in the chart. Refer to the previous slide for context on RACI. Give everyone 15 minutes to update their section of the chart.
  4. Come back together as a large group to review the chart. First, check for accountability – there should generally be just one role accountable for each activity. Then, have each small group walk through their section, and encourage participants to ask questions. Is there at least one role responsible for each task, and what are they responsible for? Does everyone listed as consulted or informed really need to be? Make any necessary adjustments.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Define ITAM governance activities

RACI Chart for ITAM governance activities. In the first column is a list of governance activities, and the row headers are positions within a company. Fields are marked with an R, A, C, or I.

Document asset management responsibilities and accountabilities

RACI Chart for ITAM asset management responsibilities and accountabilities. In the first column is a list of responsibilities and accountabilities, and the row headers are positions within a company. Fields are marked with an R, A, C, or I.

Step 2.5: Align ITAM with other Service Management Practices

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers

Outcomes

  • Establish shared and separate responsibilities for asset and configuration management.
  • Identify how ITAM can support other practices, and how other practices can support ITAM.

Asset vs. Configuration

Asset and configuration management look at the same world through different lenses.
  • IT asset management tends to focus on each IT asset in its own right: assignment or ownership, its lifecycle, and related financial obligations and entitlements.
  • Configuration management is focused on configuration items (CIs) that must be managed to deliver a service and the relationships and integrations to other CIs.
  • ITAM and configuration management teams and practices should work closely together. Though asset and configuration management focus on different outcomes, they tend use overlapping tools and data sets. Each practice, when working effectively, can strengthen the other.
  • Many objects will exist in both the CMDB and AMDB, and the data on those shared objects will need to be kept in sync.
Asset and Configuration Management: An Example

Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

A database of uniquely identified configuration items (CIs). Each CI record may include information on:
Service Attributes

Supported Service(s)
Service Description, Criticality, SLAs
Service Owners
Data Criticality/Sensitivity

CI Relationships

Physical Connections
Logical Connections
Dependencies

Arrow connector.

Discovery, Normalization, Dependency Mapping, Business Rules*

Manual Data Entry

Arrow connector.
This shared information could be attached to asset records, CI records, or both, and it should be synchronized between the two databases where it’s tracked in both.
Hardware Information

Serial, Model and Specs
Network Address
Physical Location

Software Installations

Hypervisor & OS
Middleware & Software
Software Configurations

Arrow connector.

Asset Management Database (AMDB)

A database of uniquely identified IT assets. Each asset record may include information on:
Procurement/Purchasing

Purchase Request/Purchase Order
Invoice and Cost
Cost Center
Vendor
Contracts and MSAs
Support/Maintenance/Warranties

Asset Attributes

Model, Title, Product Info, License Key
Assigned User
Lifecycle Status
Last ITAM Audit Date
Certificate of Disposal

Arrows connecting multiple fields.

IT Security Systems

Vulnerability Management
Threat Management
SIEM
Endpoint Protection

IT Service Management (ITSM) System

Change Tickets
Request Tickets
Incident Tickets
Problem Tickets
Project Tickets
Knowledgebase

Financial System/ERP

General Ledger
Accounts Payable
Accounts Receivable
Enterprise Assets
Enterprise Contract Database

(*Discovery, dependency mapping, and data normalization are often features or modules of configuration management, asset management, or IT service management tools.)

2.5 Integrate ITAM and configuration practices

45 minutes

Input: Knowledge of the organization’s configuration management processes

Output: Define how ITAM and configuration management will support one another

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, Configuration manager

Work through the table below to identify how you will collaborate and synchronize data across ITAM and configuration management practices and tools.

What are the goals (if any currently exist) for the configuration management practice? Connect configuration items to services to support service management.
How will configuration and asset management teams collaborate? Weekly status updates. As-needed working sessions.
Shared visibility on each others’ Kanban tracker.
Create tickets to raise and track issues that require collaboration or attention from the other team.
How can config leverage ITAM? Connect CIs to financial, contractual, and ownership data.
How can ITAM leverage config? Connect assets to services, changes, incidents.
What key fields will be primarily tracked/managed by ITAM? Serial number, unique ID, user, location, PO number, …
What key fields will be primarily tracked/managed by configuration management? Supported service(s), dependencies, service description, service criticality, network address…

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

ITAM supports service management

Decoupling asset management from other service management practices can result in lost value. Establish how asset management can support other service management practices – and how those practices can support ITAM.

Incident Management

What broke?
Was it under warranty?
Is there a service contract?
Was it licensed?
Who was it assigned to?
Is it end-of-life?

ITAM
Practice

Request Management

What can this user request or purchase?
What are standard hardware and software offerings?
What does the requester already have?
Are there items in inventory to fulfil the request?
Did we save money by reissuing equipment?
Is this a standard request?
What assets are being requested regularly?

What IT assets are related to the known issue?
What models and vendors are related to the issue?
Are the assets covered by a service contract?
Are other tickets related to this asset?
What end-of-life assets have been tied to incidents recently?

Problem Management

What assets are related to the change?
Is the software properly licensed?
Has old equipment been properly retired and disposed?
Have software licenses been returned to the pool?
Is the vendor support on the change part of a service contract?

Change Enablement

2.5. Connect with other IT service practices

45 minutes

Input: Knowledge of existing organizational IT service management processes

Output: Define how ITAM will help other service management processes, and how other service management processes will help ITAM

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, Service leads

Complete the table below to establish what ITAM can provide to other service management practices, and what other practices can provide to ITAM.

Practice ITAM will help Will help ITAM
Incident Management Provide context on assets involved in an incident (e.g. ownership, service contracts). Track when assets are involved in incidents (via incident tickets).
Request Management Oversee request & procurement processes. Help develop asset standards. Enter new assets in ITAM database.
Problem Management Collect information on assets related to known issues. Report back on models/titles that are generating known issues.
Change Enablement Provide context on assets for change review. Ensure EOL assets are retired and licenses are returned during changes.
Capacity Management Identify ownership, location for assets at capacity. Identify upcoming refreshes or purchases.
Availability Management Connect uptime and reliability to assets. Identify assets that are causing availability issues.
Monitoring and Event Management Provide context to events with asset data. Notify asset of unrecognized software and hardware.
Financial Management Establish current and predict future spending. Identify upcoming purchases, renewals.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.6: Evaluate ITAM tools and integrations

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers

Outcomes

  • Create a list of the ITAM tools currently in use, how they’re used, and their current limitations.
  • Identify new tools that could provide value to the ITAM practice, and what needs to be done to acquire and implement them.

“Everything is connected. Nothing is also connected.” (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)

Establish current strengths and gaps in your ITAM toolset

ITAM data quality relies on tools and integrations that are managed by individuals or teams who don’t report directly to the ITAM function.

Without direct line of sight into tools management, the ITAM team must influence rather than direct improvement initiatives that are in some cases critical to the performance of the ITAM function. To more effectively influence improvement efforts, you must explicitly identify what you need, why you need it, from which tools, and from which stakeholders.

Data Sources
Procurement Tools
Discovery Tools
Active Directory
Purchase Documents
Spreadsheets
Input To Asset System(s) of Record
ITAM Database
ITSM Tool
CMDB
Output To Asset Data Consumption
ITFM Tools
Security Tools
TEM Tools
Accounting Tools
Spreadsheets
“Active Directory plays a huge role in audit defense and self-assessment, but no-one really goes out there and looks at Active Directory.

I was talking to one organization that has 1,600,000 AD records for 100,000 employees.” (Mike Austin, Founder, MetrixData 360)

2.6 Evaluate ITAM existing technologies

30 minutes

Input: Knowledge of existing ITAM tools

Output: A list of prioritized organizational goals, An initial assessment of how ITAM can support these goals

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Identify the use, limitations, and next steps for existing ITAM tools, including those not directly managed by the ITAM team.

  1. What tools do we have today?
  2. What are they used for? What are their limitations?
  3. Who manages them?
  4. What actions could we take to maximize the value of the tools?
Existing Tool Use Constraints Owner Proposed Action?
ITAM Module
  • Track HW/SW
  • Connect assets to incident, request
  • Currently used for end-user devices only
  • Not all divisions have access
  • SAM capabilities are limited
ITAM Team/Service Management
  • Add license for additional read/write access
  • Start tracking infra in this tool
Active Directory
  • Store user IDs, organizational data
Major data quality issues IT Operations
  • Work with AD team to identify issues creating data issues

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

2.6 Identify potential new tools

30 minutes

Input: Knowledge of tooling gaps, An understanding of available tools that could remediate gaps

Output: New tools that can improve ITAM capabilities, including expected value and proposed next steps

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers

Identify tools that are required to support the identified goals of the ITAM practice.

  1. What types of tools do we need that we don’t have?
  2. What could these tools help us do?
  3. What needs to be done next to investigate or acquire the appropriate tool?
New Tool Expected Value Proposed Next Steps
SAM tool
  • Automatically calculate licensing entitlements from contract data.
  • Automatically calculate licensing requirements from discovery data.
  • Support gap analyses.
  • Further develop software requirements.
  • Identify vendors in the space and create a shortlist.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.7: Create a plan for internal and external audits

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Establish your approach to internal data audits.
  • Create a high-level response plan for external audits.

Validate ITAM data via internal audits

Data audits provide assurance that the records in the ITAM database are as accurate as possible. Consider these three approaches:

Compare Tool Records

Audit your data by comparing records in the ITAM system to other discovery sources.

  • Ideally, use three separate data sources (e.g. ITAM database, discovery tool, security tool). Use a common field, such as the host name, to compare across fields. (To learn more about discovery tool analysis, see Jeremy Boerger’s book, Rethinking IT Asset Management.)
  • Run reports to compare records and identify discrepancies. This could include assets missing from one system or metadata differences such as different users or installed software.
  • Over time, discrepancies between tools should be well understood and accepted; otherwise, they should be addressed and remediated.
IT-led Audit

Conduct a hands-on investigation led by ITAM staff and IT technicians.

  • In-person audits require significant effort and resources. Each audit should be scoped and planned ahead of time to focus on known problem areas.
  • Provide the audit team with exact instructions on what needs to be verified and recorded. Depending on the experience and attention to detail of the audit team, you may need to conduct spot checks to ensure you’re catching any issues in the audit process itself.
  • Automation should be used wherever possible (e.g. through barcodes, scanners, and tables for quick access to ITAM records).
User-led audit

Have users validate the IT assets assigned to them.

  • Even more than IT-led audits: don’t use this approach too frequently; keep the scope as narrow as possible and the process as simple as possible.
  • Ensure users have all the information and tools they’ll need readily available to complete this task, or the result will be ineffective and will only frustrate your users.
  • Consider a process integrated with your ITSM tool: once a year, when a user logs in to the portal, they will be asked to enter the asset code for their laptop (and provided with instructions on where to find that code). Investigate discrepancies between assignments and ITAM records.

2.7 Set an approach to internal data audits

30 minutes

Input: An understanding of current data audit capabilities and needs

Output: An outline of how you’ll approach data audits, including frequency, scope, required resources

Materials: Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team

Review the three internal data audit approaches outlined on the previous slide, and identify which of the three approaches you’ll use. For each approach, complete the fields in the table below.

Audit Approach How often? What scope? Who’s involved? Comments
Compare tool records Monthly Compare ITAM DB, Intune/ConfigMgr, and Vulnerability Scanner Data; focus on end-user devices to start Asset manager will lead at first.
Work with tool admins to pull data and generate reports.
IT-led audit Annual End-user devices at a subset of locations Asset manager will work with ITSM admins to generate reports. In-person audit to be conducted by local techs.
User-led audit Annual Assigned personal devices (start with a pilot group) Asset coordinator to develop procedure with ITSM admin. Run pilot with power users first.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Prepare for and respond to external audits and true-ups

Are you ready when software vendors come knocking?

  • Vendor audits are expensive.
  • If you’re out of compliance, you will at minimum be required to pay the missing license fees. At their discretion, vendors may choose to add punitive fees and require you to cover the hourly cost of their audit teams. If you choose not to pay, the vendor could secure an injunction to cut off your service, which in many cases will be far more costly than the fines. And this is aside from the intangible costs of the disruption to your business and damaged relationships between IT, ITAM, your business, and other partners.
  • Having a plan to respond to an audit is critical to reducing audit risk. Preparation will help you coordinate your audit response, ensure the audit happens on the most favorable possible terms, and even prevent some audits from happening in the first place.
  • The best defense, as they say, is a good offense. Good ITAM and SAM processes will allow you to track acquisition, allocation, and disposal of software licenses; understand your licensing position; and ensure you remain compliant whenever possible. The vendor has no reason to audit you when there’s nothing to find.
  • Know when and where your audit risk is greatest, so you can focus your resources where they can deliver the most value.
“If software audits are a big part of your asset operations, you have problems. You can reduce the time spent on audits and eliminate some audits by having a proactive ITAM practice.” (Sandi Conrad, Principal Research Director)

Info-Tech Insight

Audit defense starts long before you get audited. For an in-depth review of your audit approach, see Info-Tech’s Prepare and Defend Against a Software Audit.

Identify areas of higher audit risk

Watch for these warning signs
  • Your organization is visibly fighting fires. Signs of disorder may signal to vendors that there are opportunities to exploit via an audit. Past audit failures make future audits more likely.
  • You are looking for ways to decrease spend. Vendors may counter attempts to true-down licensing by launching an audit to try to find unlicensed software that provides them leverage to negotiate maintained or even increased spending.
  • Your license/contract terms with the vendor are particularly complex or highly customized. Very complex terms may make it harder to validate your own compliance, which may present opportunities to the vendor in an audit.
  • The vendor has earned a reputation for being particularly aggressive with audits. Some vendors include audits as a standard component of their business model to drive revenue. This may include acquiring smaller vendors or software titles that may not have been audit-driven in the past, and running audits on their new customer base.

“The reality is, software vendors prey on confusion and complication. Where there’s confusion, there’s opportunity.” (Mike Austin, Founder, MetrixData 360)

Develop an audit response plan

You will be on the clock once the vendor sends you an audit request. Have a plan ready to go.
  • Don’t panic: Resist knee-jerk reactions. Follow the plan.
  • Form an audit response team and centralize your response: This team should be led by a member of the ITAM group, and it should include IT leadership, software SMEs, representatives from affected business areas, vendor management, contract management, and legal. You may also need to bring on a contractor with deep expertise with the vendor in question to supplement your internal capabilities. Establish clearly who will be the point of contact with the vendor during the audit.
  • Clarify the scope of the audit: Clearly establish what the audit will cover – what products, subsidiaries, contracts, time periods, geographic regions, etc. Manage the auditors to prevent scope creep.
  • Establish who covers audit costs: Vendors may demand the auditee cover the hourly cost of their audit team if you’re significantly out of compliance. Consider asking the vendor to pay for your team’s time if you’re found to be compliant.
  • Know your contract: Vendors’ contracts change over time, and it’s no guarantee that even your vendor’s licensing experts will be aware of the rights you have in your contract. You must know your entitlements to negotiate effectively.
  1. Bring the audit request received to the attention of ITAM and IT leadership. Assemble the response team.
  2. Acknowledge receipt of audit notice.
  3. Negotiate timing and scope of the audit.
  4. Direct staff not to remove or acquire licenses for software under audit without directly involving the ITAM team first.
  5. Gather installation data and documentation to establish current entitlements, including original contract, current contract, addendums, receipts, invoices.
  6. Compare entitlements to installed software.
  7. Investigate any anomalies (e.g. unexpected or non-compliant software).
  8. Review results with the audit response team.

2.7 Clarify your vendor audit response plan

1 hour

Input: Organizational knowledge on your current audit response procedures

Output: Audit response team membership, High-level audit checklist, A list of things to start, stop, and continue doing as part of the audit response

Materials: Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

  1. Who’s on the audit response team, and what’s their role? Who will lead the team? Who will be the point of contact with the auditor?
  2. What are the high-level steps in our audit response workflow? Use the example checklist below as a starting point.
  3. What do we need to start, stop, and continue doing in response to audit requests?

Example Audit Checklist

  • Bring the audit request received to the attention of ITAM and IT leadership. Assemble the response team.
  • Acknowledge receipt of audit notice.
  • Negotiate timing and scope of the audit.
  • Direct staff not to remove or acquire licenses for software under audit without directly involving the ITAM team first.
  • Gather installation data and documentation to establish current entitlements, including original contract, current contract, addendums, receipts, invoices.
  • Compare entitlements to installed software.
  • Investigate any anomalies (e.g. unexpected or non-compliant software).
  • Review results with the audit response team.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.8: Improve budget processes

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers
  • ITAM business partners

Outcomes

  • Identify what you need to start, stop, and continue to do to support budgeting processes.

Improve budgeting and forecasting

Insert ITAM into budgeting processes to deliver significant value.

Some examples of what ITAM can bring to the budgeting table:
  • Trustworthy data on deployed assets and spending obligations tied to those assets.
  • Projections of hardware due for replacement in terms of quantity and spend.
  • Knowledge of IT hardware and software contract terms and pricing.
  • Lists of unused or underused hardware and software that could be redeployed to avoid spend.
  • Comparisons of spend year-over-year.

Being part of the budgeting process positions ITAM for success in other ways:

  • Helps demonstrate the strategic value of the ITAM practice.
  • Provides insight into business and IT strategic projects and priorities for the year.
  • Strengthens relationships with key stakeholders, and positions the ITAM team as trusted partners.

“Knowing what you have [IT assets] is foundational to budgeting, managing, and optimizing IT spend.” (Dave Kish, Info-Tech, Practice Lead, IT Financial Management)

Stock image of a calculator.

2.8 Build better budgets

20 minutes

Input: Context on IT budgeting processes

Output: A list of things to start, stop, and continue doing as part of budgeting exercises

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, ITAM business partners

What should we start, stop, and continue doing to support organizational budgeting exercises?

Start Stop Continue
  • Creating buckets of spend and allocating assets to those buckets.
  • Zero-based review on IaaS instances quarterly.
  • Develop dashboards plugged into asset data for department heads to view allocated assets and spend.
  • Create value reports to demonstrate hard savings as well as cost avoidance.
  • Waiting for business leaders to come to us for help (start reaching out with reports proactively, three months before budget cycle).
  • % increases on IT budgets without further review.
  • Monthly variance budget analysis.
  • What-if analysis for asset spend based on expected headcount increases.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.9: Establish a documentation framework

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team

Outcomes

  • Identify key documentation and gaps in your documentation.
  • Establish where documentation should be stored, who should own it, who should have access, and what should trigger a review.

Create ITAM documentation

ITAM documentation will typically support governance or operations.

Long-term planning and governance
  • ITAM policy and/or related policies (procurement policy, security awareness policy, acceptable use policy, etc.)
  • ITAM strategy document
  • ITAM roadmap or burndown list
  • Job descriptions
  • Functional requirements documents for ITAM tools

Operational documentation

  • ITAM SOPs (hardware, software) and workflows
  • Detailed work instructions/knowledgebase articles
  • ITAM data/records
  • Contracts, purchase orders, invoices, MSAs, SOWs, etc.
  • Effective Licensing Position (ELP) reports
  • Training and communication materials
  • Tool and integration documentation
  • Asset management governance, operations, and tools typically generate a lot of documentation.
  • Don’t create documentation for the sake of documentation. Prioritize building and maintaining documentation that addresses major risks or presents opportunities to improve the consistency and reliability of key processes.
  • Maximize the value of ITAM documentation by ensuring it is as current, accessible, and usable as it needs to be.
  • Clearly identify where documentation is stored and who should have access to it.
  • Identify who is accountable for the creation and maintenance of key documentation, and establish triggers for reviews, updates, and changes.

Consider ITAM policies

Create policies that can and will be monitored and enforced.
  • Certain requirements of the ITAM practice may need to be backed up by corporate policies: formal statements of organizational expectations that must be recognized by staff, and which will lead to sanctions/penalties if breached.
  • Some organizations will choose to create one or more ITAM-specific policies. Others will include ITAM-related statements in other existing policies, such as acceptable use policies, security training and awareness policies, procurement policies, configuration policies, e-waste policies, and more.
  • Ensure that you are prepared to monitor compliance with policies and evenly enforce breaches of policy. Failing to consistently enforce your policies exposes you and your organization to claims of negligence or discriminatory conduct.
  • For a template for ITAM-specific policies, see Info-Tech’s policy templates for Hardware Asset Management and Software Asset Management.

2.9 Establish documentation gaps

15-30 minutes

Input: An understanding of existing documentation gaps and risks

Output: Documentation gaps, Identified owners, repositories, access rights, and review/update protocols

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, Optional: IT managers, ITAM business partners

Discuss and record the following:

  • What planning/governance, operational, and tooling documentation do we still need to create? Who is accountable for the creation and maintenance of these documents?
  • Where will the documentation be stored? Who can access these documents?
  • What will trigger reviews or changes to the documents?
Need to Create Owner Stored in Accessible by Trigger for review
Hardware asset management SOP ITAM manager ITAM SharePoint site › Operating procedures folder
  • All IT staff
  • Annual review
  • As-needed for major tooling changes that require a documentation update

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Step 2.10: Create a roadmap and communication plan

Participants

  • Project sponsor and lead facilitator
  • ITAM team
  • IT leaders and managers

Outcomes

  • A timeline of key ITAM initiatives.
  • Improvement ideas aligned to key initiatives.
  • A communication plan tailored to key stakeholders.
  • Your ITAM Strategy document.

“Understand that this is a journey. This is not a 90-day project. And in some organizations, these journeys could be three or five years long.” (Mike Austin, MetrixData 360)

2.10 Identify key ITAM initiatives

30-45 minutes

Input: Organizational strategy documents

Output: A roadmap that outlines next steps

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, Project sponsor

  1. Identify key initiatives that are critical to improving practice maturity and meeting business goals.
  2. There should only be a handful of really key initiatives. This is the work that will have the greatest impact on your ability to deliver value. Too many initiatives muddy the narrative and can distract from what really matters.
  3. Plot the target start and end dates for each initiative in the business and IT transformation timeline you created in Phase 1.
  4. Review the chart and consider – what new capabilities should the ITAM practice have once the identified initiatives are complete? What transformational initiatives will you be better positioned to support?

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Transformation Timeline

Example transformation timeline with row headers 'Business Inititiaves', 'IT Initiatives', and 'ITAM Initiatives'. Each initiative is laid out along the timeline appropriately.

2.10 Align improvement ideas to initiatives

45 minutes

Input: Key initiatives, Ideas for ITAM improvement collected over the course of previous exercises

Output: Concrete action items to support each initiative

Materials: The table in the next slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: ITAM team, IT leaders and managers, Project sponsor

As you’ve been working through the previous exercises, you have been tracking ideas for improvement – now we’ll align them to your roadmap.

  1. Review the list of ideas for improvement you’ve produced over the working sessions. Consolidate the list – are there any ideas that overlap or complement each other? Record any new ideas. Frame each idea as an action item – something you can actually do.
  2. Connect the action items to initiatives. It may be that not every action item becomes part of a key initiative. (Don’t lose ideas that aren’t part of key initiatives – track them in a separate burndown list or backlog.)
  3. Identify a target completion date and owner for each action item that’s part of an initiative.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Example ITAM initiatives

Initiative 1: Develop hardware/software standards
Task Target Completion Owner
Laptop standards Q1-2023 ITAM manager
Identify/eliminate contracts for unused software using scan tool Q2-2023 ITAM manager
Review O365 license levels and standard service Q3-2023 ITAM manager

Initiative 2: Improve ITAM data quality
Task Target Completion Owner
Implement scan agent on all field laptops Q3-2023 Desktop engineer
Conduct in person audit on identified data discrepancies Q1-2024 ITAM team
Develop and run user-led audit Q1-2024 Asset manager

Initiative 3: Acquire & implement a new ITAM tool
Task Target Completion Owner
Select an ITAM tool Q3-2023 ITAM manager
Implement ITAM tool, incl. existing data migration Q1-2024 ITAM manager
Training on new tool Q1-2024 ITAM manager
Build KPIs, executive dashboards in new tool Q2-2024 Data analyst
Develop user-led audit functionality in new tool Q3-2024 ITAM coordinator

2.10 Create a communication plan

45 minutes

Input: Proposed ITAM initiatives, Stakeholder priorities and goals, and an understanding of how ITAM can help them meet those goals

Output: A high-level communication plan to communicate the benefits and impact of proposed changes to the ITAM program

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: IT asset manager, Project sponsor

Develop clear, consistent, and targeted messages to key ITAM stakeholders.

  1. Modify the list of stakeholders in the first column.
  2. What benefits should those stakeholders realize from ITAM? What impact may the proposed improvements have on them? Refer back to exercises from Phase 1, where you identified key stakeholders, their priorities, and how ITAM could help them.
  3. Identify communication channels (in-person, email, all-hands meeting, etc.) and timing – when you’ll distribute the message. You may choose to use more than one channel, and you may need to convey the message more than once.
Group ITAM Benefits Impact Channel(s) Timing
CFO
  • More accurate IT spend predictions
  • Better equipment utilization and value for money
  • Sponsor integration project between ITAM DB and financial system
  • Support procurement procedures review
Face-to-face – based on their availability Within the next month
CIO
  • Better oversight into IT spend
  • Data to help demonstrate IT value
  • Resources required to support tool and ITAM process improvements
Standing bi-monthly 1:1 meetings Review strategy at next meeting
IT Managers
Field Techs

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

2.10 Put the final touches on your ITAM Strategy

30 minutes

Input: Proposed ITAM initiatives, Stakeholder priorities and goals, and an understanding of how ITAM can help them meet those goals

Output: A high-level communication plan to communicate the benefits and impact of proposed changes to the ITAM program

Materials: The table in this slide, Your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Participants: IT asset manager, Project sponsor

You’re almost done! Do a final check of your work before you send a copy to your participants.

  1. Summarize in three points the key findings from the activities you’ve worked through. What have you learned? What are your priorities? What key message do you need to get across? Add these to the appropriate slide near the start of the ITAM Strategy Template.
  2. What are your immediate next steps? Summarize no more than five and add them to the appropriate slide near the start of the ITAM Strategy Template.
    1. Are you asking for something? Approval for ITAM initiatives? Funding? Resources? Clearly identify the ask as part of your next steps.
  3. Are the KPIs identified in Phase 1 still valid? Will they help you monitor for success in the initiatives you’ve identified in Phase 2? Make any adjustments you think are required to the KPIs to reflect the additional completed work.

Add your results to your copy of the ITAM Strategy Template

Research Contributors and Experts

Kylie Fowler
Principal Consultant
ITAM Intelligence

Kylie is an experienced ITAM/FinOps consultant with a track record of creating superior IT asset management frameworks that enable large companies to optimize IT costs while maintaining governance and control.

She has operated as an independent consultant since 2009, enabling organizations including Sainsbury's and DirectLine Insurance to leverage the benefits of IT asset management and FinOps to achieve critical business objectives. Recent key projects include defining an end-to-end SAM strategy, target operating model, policies and processes which when implemented provided a 300% ROI.

She is passionate about supporting businesses of all sizes to drive continuous improvement, reduce risk, and achieve return on investment through the development of creative asset management and FinOps solutions.

Rory Canavan
Owner and Principal Consultant
SAM Charter

Rory is the founder, owner, and principal consultant of SAM Charter, an internationally recognized consultancy in enterprise-wide Software & IT Asset Management. As an industry leader, SAM Charter is uniquely poised to ensure your IT & SAM systems are aligned to your business requirements.

With a technical background in business and systems analysis, Rory has a wide range of first-hand experience advising numerous companies and organizations on the best practices and principles pertaining to software asset management. This experience has been gained in both military and civil organizations, including the Royal Navy, Compaq, HP, the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), and several software vendors.

Research Contributors and Experts

Jeremy Boerger
Founder, Boerger Consulting
Author of Rethinking IT Asset Management

Jeremy started his career in ITAM fighting the Y2K bug at the turn of the 21st century. Since then, he has helped companies in manufacturing, healthcare, banking, and service industries build and rehabilitate hardware and software asset management practices.

These experiences prompted him to create the Pragmatic ITAM method, which directly addresses and permanently resolves the fundamental flaws in current ITAM and SAM implementations.

In 2016, he founded Boerger Consulting, LLC to help business leaders and decision makers fully realize the promises a properly functioning ITAM can deliver. In his off time, you will find him in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and family.

Mike Austin
Founder and CEO
MetrixData 360

Mike Austin leads the delivery team at MetrixData 360. Mike brings more than 15 years of Microsoft licensing experience to his clients’ projects. He assists companies, from Fortune 500 to organizations with as few as 500 employees, with negotiations of Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA), Premier Support Contracts, and Select Agreements. In addition to helping negotiate contracts, he helps clients build and implement software asset management processes.

Previously, Mike was employed by Microsoft for more than 8 years as a member of the global sales team. With Microsoft, Mike successfully negotiated more than a billion dollars in new and renewal EAs. Mike has also negotiated legal terms and conditions for all software agreements, developed Microsoft’s best practices for global account management, and was awarded Microsoft’s Gold Star Award in 2003 and Circle of Excellence in 2008 for his contributions.

Bibliography

“Asset Management.” SFIA v8. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Boerger, Jeremy. Rethinking IT Asset Management. Business Expert Press, 2021.

Canavan, Rory. “C-Suite Cheat Sheet.” SAM Charter, 2021. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Fisher, Matt. “Metrics to Measure SAM Success.” Snow Software, 26 May 2015. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Flexera (2021). “State of ITAM Report.” Flexera, 2021. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Fowler, Kylie. “ITAM by design.” BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, 2017. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Fowler, Kylie. “Ch-ch-ch-changes… Is It Time for an ITAM Transformation?” ITAM Intelligence, 2021. Web. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Fowler, Kylie. “Do you really need an ITAM policy?” ITAM Accelerate, 15 Oct. 2021. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Hayes, Chris. “How to establish a successful, long-term ITAM program.” Anglepoint, Sept. 2021. Accessed 17 March 2022.

ISO/IEC 19770-1-2017. IT Asset Management Systems – Requirements. Third edition. ISO, Dec 2017.

Joret, Stephane. “IT Asset Management: ITIL® 4 Practice Guide”. Axelos, 2020.

Jouravlev, Roman. “IT Service Financial Management: ITIL® 4 Practice Guide”. Axelos, 2020.

Pagnozzi, Maurice, Edwin Davis, Sam Raco. “ITAM Vs. ITSM: Why They Should Be Separate.” KPMG, 2020. Accessed 17 March 2022.

Rumelt, Richard. Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. Profile Books, 2013.

Stone, Michael et al. “NIST SP 1800-5 IT Asset Management.” Sept, 2018. Accessed 17 March 2022.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Define your business-aligned approach to ITAM.

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Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 2-phase advisory process. You'll receive 12 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Establish business-aligned ITAM goals and priorities
  • Call #1 - Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges.
  • Call #2 - Review business priorities.
  • Call #3 - Identify ITAM goals & target maturity.
  • Call #4 - Identify metrics and KPIs.

Guided Implementation #2 - Identify your approach to support ITAM priorities and goals
  • Call #1 - Define ITAM scope.
  • Call #2 - Acquire ITAM services.
  • Call #3 - ITAM structure and RACI.
  • Call #4 - ITAM and service management.
  • Call #5 - Tools and integrations.
  • Call #6 - Internal and external audits.
  • Call #7 - Budgets & documentation.
  • Call #8 - Roadmap, communications plan. Wrap up.

Authors

Andrew Sharp

Sandi Conrad

Contributors

  • Kylie Fowler, Principal Consultant, ITAM Intelligence
  • Rory Canavan, Owner and Principal Consultant, SAM Charter
  • Jeremy Boerger, Founder, Boerger Consulting and Author of Rethinking IT Asset Management
  • Mike Austin, Founder and CEO, MetrixData 360
  • William Choppa and Terry Divelbliss, Eracent
  • Jeff Kelsey, Phil Bowermaster, and Corinna Fulton, Ivanti
  • 2 anonymous contributors
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