If you look at the discipline of IT Asset Management (ITAM) from a distance, in its broadest sense it revolves around minimizing the costs and risks of IT while trying to optimize the value of IT for the business. And that continuously, with a certain degree of predictability. As a core business function within the organization. And in order to fulfill that function, it has value to connect ITAM inextricably to organizational objectives. And thus the objectives of other organizational units. If you know that you can provide your colleagues with structural value – or protect them from risks – and help them in achieving their goals, then this is fertile ground for a sustainable relationship. A customer-supplier relationship. Or a partnership, if you prefer.
This is not a one-off action or short-term project. Every relationship you will have in life – business or private – has a beginning, but in principle no end. You have to maintain relationships and you can develop them by dealing with them carefully and sustainably. Relationships do have a horizon, but in principle no end point. This also applies to ITAM.
And although the so-called ITAM maturity level of organizations in the Netherlands and abroad differs of course, the principle of structure and sustainability always applies in our experience. We now have the license management ‘on premise’ in order, but what about (the costs we incur in) the cloud? We have mapped out all devices and the application landscape, but what about SaaS – which we as ITAM staff sometimes like to qualify as ‘shadow IT’? Okay, we haven’t had an audit for 5 years, but how do we get maximum value from the relationship with our software suppliers? As the ITAM ship continues to sail, the dot on the horizon also gets further and further away. And that is a good thing, whereby it is of course important to continue to improve and innovate. To continuously optimize the service that ITAM provides the organization. Very disrespectfully said: from the license police to the valuable partner in achieving (IT) objectives. In short, from cost center to profit center.
But how do you do that? And where do you start? That is the philosophical question that we have to deal with a lot at The ITAM-Unit. Finding out what the objectives of colleagues are – and how the ITAM ‘shop’ can play a facilitating role in this – is often a good starting point, whereby of course the precondition is that we as ITAM employees have something to offer. Something valuable. Providing accurate and ‘real time’ insight into the IT environment and the costs and use of IT resources is in itself a valuable ‘product’ that you can deliver, especially if you are not limited to ‘on prem’. The use of technology is indispensable in this. An obvious ‘customer’ of such information is, for example, the cybersecurity team; The renowned Center for Internet Security (CIS) has in its CIS Controls (formerly known as SANS20) insight into hard- and software assets as number 1 and 2 recommendations. The ISO27001 standard for information security also relies heavily on IT Asset Management. What you can contribute to cybersecurity as an ITAM employee is therefore a business case in itself if, for example, there is no longer any scope for achieving license savings or preventing audits.
Speaking of ISO standards; the ITAM field in itself has grown enormously recently – and thereby it came on the agenda of IT boards and even managers. The ISO19770 standard for ITAM had been around for a while, but it was not yet really possible to get it well established – just like the ISO27000 standard family – despite the fact that the standard is already being used as a guideline in a number of organizations. That could change from this year on. In 2022, the first organizations are expected to actually be tested for compliance with the ISO19770 standard and will also take the step towards certification. The driving force behind this is, among other things, the end-user-driven ITAM Forum, where the undersigned, together with colleague Martijn Braamskamp (former colleague and current co-board member of the ITAM NL Association), represents the Dutch chapter. Moreover, The ITAM-Unit colleague Ben van den Bosch is part of the working group that makes these certifications possible.
I myself hope that the ISO19770 standard for the field of ITAM means what the ISO27001 standard has meant for the field of information security; the definitive, sustainable breakthrough of a crucial, innovative and dynamic discipline that is indispensable in the modern, IT-driven world. In any case, I commit my future to the further development of ITAM in the Netherlands and beyond because I firmly believe in the value that the field represents – in a commercial and social sense. If we connect ITAM inextricably to organizational objectives, then that future is guaranteed to be prosperous. Connecting was therefore the main theme during the last Heliview conference about ITAM in which we participated as The ITAM-Unit; this also applies to the next meeting of the ITAM NL Association on April 20th, where everyone who cares about the ITAM field is welcome (and all other interested parties too).
In short, you can always call me up for sparring and thinking about how you can offer sustainable value with ITAM. Together we look for the connecting factors that make ITAM an indispensable part of the organization. But if you have an audit or license compliance issue, I will of course also be happy to answer the phone 😉