(By Jan Øberg, ITAMOrg – Published June 2021)
The Growing Importance Of ITAM
To be a successful IT Asset Manager, it’s about knowing what you have got, where it is, who’s using it and how much it costs. You must be in control, and you need to know the software, hardware, and cloud infrastructure supporting your business processes.
To some, ITAM is a less than urgent need in their organization. This could be a fatal attitude to take…
- How do you manage capital and operational costs if you do not know what IT assets you have?
- How do you secure your organization if you do not know where your IT assets are or what IT assets you have?
- How do you know if you are out of compliance?
- Are you willing to wait for a publisher initiated audit? This could be a costly conversation if it comes attached to a massive fine.
It is a hard job for the IT Asset Manager, in this day of cloud computing, ubiquitous virtualization, and the Internet of Things (IoT), to even know everything that is running on your network. You need to manage an efficient ITAM organisation which supports your ITAM principles and helps to give a lot of practical advice on how to use IT assets efficiently and cost effectively.
IT Asset Manager Challenges
One of the biggest challenges for the IT Asset Manager is to be in control of all IT Assets. The IT Asset Manager is not the only party who is dealing with IT Assets. On a daily basis, IT support and IT specialists are changing IT Assets as part of their job, which could include support, maintenance, installation of new IT Assets or retiring and disposing of IT Assets, or making retired IT Assets ready for re-use.
Without well-implemented and mature processes, procedures, and technologies it will be a difficult job to be an IT Asset Manager.
An IT Asset Manager is tasked with managing all IT assets within a business. This includes anything from software and hardware to digital assets and cloud services. IT Managers are also primarily responsible for the deployment and operational functions of an IT Asset Management (ITAM) system. As well as the strategic management of all IT assets and the day-to-day management of workflow tasks.
It is not an easy job to be in control and manage the daily changing IT environment, therefore you also need to look at the skills and knowledge level in your organisation.
As an IT Asset Manager, it could also be challenging to identify which roles are assigned to support you and which skills and competencies do they have? But you need to know because you need their advice and insight to setup the cross functional control and management ITAM system based on different best practices such as IT Service Management, IT Governance, IT Security etc.
ITIL® – IT Service Management and ITAM are two very basic disciplines to understand for everybody involved with technology in their professional life. Quite clearly – ITAM professionals need to understand at a deeper level the complexity in managing technology – but also relate this complexity to the organisation and be part of the overall governance structure. For people in IT Service Management, you cannot deliver a good service if you do not know what you have. You need to have a clear and consistent knowledge of what you have, where it is, and the status etc.The same is true for IT Security; governance structures around the IT Assets are essential to run a secure operation. A logical touchpoint could be the CIS controls. In Procurement, Legal and Finance the touchpoint could be IT Contract Management (CATS or other).
What Is The Role And Responsibility Of An IT Asset Manager?
An IT Asset ,anager is responsible for the management and maintenance of an organisation’s IT assets. Whether that is securing data-laden spreadsheets for a small business or ensuring software licenses are compliant for multiple users across a large enterprise. The vast array of IT equipment and infrastructure means IT asset managers must have versatile skills when it comes to IT Asset Management processes. For instance, not only must they ensure network security across an organisation’s cloud applications, but they are also expected to plan maintenance for computer monitor defects. Depending on the structure of a business, the roles of an IT asset manager can regularly change. But there are typical roles that an IT manager will always have a hand in, including:
- Calculating depreciation and ROI values
- Scheduling maintenance for IT equipment
- Planning for the procurement of assets
- Managing equipment users and usability
- Maintaining and renewing software licenses
- Planning for the disposal or replacement of IT assets
Typical Tasks Of An IT Asset Manager
The tasks and responsibilities of an IT asset manager can vary depending on the industry. These tasks can essentially be broken down into seven key groups:
Planning And Procurement
Forecast and produce procurement strategies for IT assets across an organization. Effectively plan development and upgrades procedures for software, hardware, and other IT equipment.
Valuable project management on a range of company-wide asset and technology projects.
Oversee the implementation and on-boarding of new software and hardware solutions.
Oversee and regulate the management of contracts and licenses in relation to IT assets. Including negotiation, contract renewals and vendor management.
Focus on eliminating manual processes that support management and control of IT Assets. Manual processes limit the business result potential. Automation provides benefits over thorough pre-implementation testing and testing, reliable and repetitive results, and greatly improves response and delivery times. Because automation takes over and handles repetitive and tedious tasks, the IT staff’s time is freed up which can be spent on better management and streamlining of the IT environment such as preventing and preventing errors.
Customer And Outcomes
Be aware of who are customers to IT Asset Management what kind of outcome do they expect to receive from IT Asset Management? Be in touch with you customer to understand what they expect from IT Asset Management to do their job e.g. What kind of information and information level do IT Security Management need from IT Asset Management to be in control and what data and information level do the IT Service desk need to support the management and control of IT Assets?
Do the mapping of your customers and their expectations: it is an important task for the IT Asset Manager to help with expectation-setting.
Work with third-party vendors to streamline and optimize software and hardware delivery, resolve bugs, and implement updates and improvements to IT Assets. Ensure strong collaboration with other teams and departments. Ensure support for others in teams with the day-to-day administration and processing of IT Assets. Ensure and support with a good foundation for effective management of security tools and all, if any, security protocols.
Management Of IT Assets
The IT Asset Manager is primarily responsible for the management of assets and inventory as well as being advisory and supportive in relation to maintenance planning and repairs. Presentation of important data on asset management and reports to managers and teams outside and within the organization. Development and implementation of asset management policies, procedures, and processes. Including identification, maintenance of liability and location of assets. Management of forecasts and budgeting as well as planning of financial assets. Effective asset life cycle management to improve asset quality control, including software, hardware, and cloud technologies.
People Care And Team Optimization
By analyzing the roles and tasks of the individuals and teams involved in the IT Asset Management activities there must be a variety of skills to be successful. And as IT assets and technology evolve, an IT Asset Manager needs to ensure their knowledge and skills are up to date and their job can be significantly easier by having the right skills and competencies.
High-Level IT Asset Manager Role
Understand The Industry
IT Asset Managers must be aware of specific circumstances and requirements that pertain to the organisation in
which they work. Whether it is the need for a specific maintenance report or the way an asset is to be stored, or how an asset is to be disposed of and focus on the best and most appropriately appropriate way of working. A good IT Asset Manager focuses on making the processes manageable and large for the company. This knowledge can help to map systems and plan the use of asset management software in connection with other IT tools that together can support in the management and control of IT Assets. An IT Asset Manager understands the complexities and difficulties of who needs what type of access to which systems and how software and hardware solutions will be used by teams. That knowledge helps develop relevant ITAM policies and procedures.
As part of the role, an IT Asset Manager must also take the leading role in relevant projects related to IT Asset Management and work with various teams and stakeholders across the organisation. This may include IT support teams, procurement, and procurement, change management and maintenance teams. The IT Asset Manager must also act as the connection between external suppliers and the organisation. The main purpose is to ensure consistent messages that are delivered in a way that makes sense to all stakeholders involved.
Understand The Complexity Of Software Licensing
The role of the IT asset manager is also to have knowledge of licensing laws prove crucial for both security and development. If a third-party vendor, unlike an internal manager, does not handle an organisation’s licenses, it can quickly become a complex issue. However, an IT Asset Manager can ensure that the relevant proof of software license is available and that it is embedded in future contracts.
Carry Out Company Audits
Effective IT Assets ongoing auditing and reporting is a powerful tool for documenting control and management of IT Assets, and which will make everyday life easier. A good and qualified IT asset manager will be a great help in performing an audit. Implementation of ongoing Internal audits will ensure that the organisation is prepared when an external audit takes place. Ongoing internal audits will optimize the planning of repetitive tasks in counseling and run practice surveys to make everyone familiar with the process in advance. This makes it possible to mitigate problems in the case of the real external audit.
If support of Service Management is sought through using SAM/ ITAM as a screen to evaluate the worthiness of CI’s and their attributes, then ensuring companies only deploy hardware and software that is being used could be a great value-add offered via SAM/ ITAM reporting.
Increasing ITAM Maturity
Over time, the business will make greater demands of ITAM, as mere visibility of the IT estate will be deemed “yesterday’s news”. Full-on conformance to ISO 19770-1: 2017 might be a laudable goal, but the time, effort and expense may be too much for many companies to tolerate. A reasonable approach of aiming “for what good looks like” will help set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to aim and maintain performance against.
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IT Asset Management Training & Certification – Purple Griffon
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