2023 is projected to be a challenging year for organizations. Is your ITAM program built to face those challenges?
We’re excited to offer this Lightning Course on ITAM Program Transformation.
Brian White, Director of Anglepoint’s ITAM Program Transformation Practice, will share our 4 essential steps of ITAM program transformation.
Because there are 4 steps, the course will include 4 instructional videos. They cover the following topics:
- First, defining the outcomes of your ITAM program and designing the program to meet those outcomes
- Next, driving stakeholder buy-in for the program
- Third, transitioning to and implementing your new program
- And finally, running and managing the program in a way that ensures constant improvement
We hope that you find a lot of helpful information in these videos.
Define the Outcomes of Your Program
The first step of our ITAM Program Transformation methodology is to define what value means for you, and the desired outcomes for your ITAM program.
These outcomes vary from organization to organization, but here are a few general areas that should be considered:
1. Cost savings
In our current economy, there is immense pressure on all business functions to deliver cost savings. Gartner predicts an increase of 6% IT spend worldwide in 2023, making IT a key focus area that is being targeted for spend relief.
Many organizations are currently stuck in a reactive state for renewals, requests, and audits, this can keep them busy and leaves little time to perform other important cost optimization activities. The only way to unlock high, consistent cost optimization is through a clear, stakeholder supported ITAM governance strategy. This framework of best practices that everyone buys into will move from a reactive state to a proactive one based on results.
2. Risk Management
Some different risks could be commercial, legal, reputational, and security related. Implementing a robust IT Asset Management framework lays the foundation for overall corporate governance excellence and will ensure that your organization is protected from the greatest corporate risks, then diagnose and provide action paths aligned to internal corporate governance.
3. Key Stakeholders
Engaging stakeholders such as procurement, vendor management and business leaders early and collaboratively will greatly increase the chances of your program’s success. Successful programs adopting an internal service provider mindset, enabling tangible outcomes are centered on getting the right actionable intelligence to the right people at the right time. This is all about winning over a range of hearts and minds that this is the program to support.
When designing your ITAM program, you can’t move forward unless you define what value is, the aims of the program, and what today looks like, then create a plan to bridge the gap to that future state to realize value.
The key cornerstone of any program is quality, trustworthy underlying data. On this basis We recommend that you begin with full inventory coverage analysis reviewing inventory across your entire estate – users, hardware, software and cloud to determine any key issues and data health of your estate. This can also highlight data blank spots which are important to stakeholders and understand if or how additional tooling might be used.
Also, for all contractual data, a Publisher prioritization should also be included in the process, reviewing all publisher spend, and aligning that to audit risk and segment holistic spend into categories of management (with aligned approvals, marketplaces and guardrails) to get the right balance of governance without impacting user creativity. This allows the program to put its shoulder behind high value activities such as renewals or risk mitigation.
Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have a clear set of executive-aligned objectives, with the steps to get there, supported by insightful and accurate inventory and vendor spend intelligence.
The process to design and implement this framework is a journey with various stages, initially focusing on low overhead, high value tactical activities such as better negotiation of large contracts, and more sustainable strategic value mid-long term such as departmental show back and automation. We recommend you engage with experts to support this process, as many programs focus on report creation and not building the bridge to value realization. This will accelerate results from the program and allow your team to stay on top of the day-to-day tasks and ensure that industry best practices like ISO 19770 are adhered to.
A chosen partner with the right experience can accelerate value realization, through experience in focusing on the right areas in the right order. This includes defining key objectives, success criteria, policy development, process, and role design. They will help to layout the strategy and roadmap, defining outcomes & objectives, asset lifecycle review, including departmental roles and roadmaps. They can also use tried and tested methods for managing and bringing stakeholders on the journey, both at the executive level, and mid to lower level for supporting in day-to-day tasks.
Driving Stakeholder Buy-in
The change to ITAM being a result orientated internal service provider can be a challenging one. To execute and drive your ITAM program plan effectively will require a shared stakeholder vision, with departments such as vendor management and procurement acting in partnership with ITAM. Buy in across your organization and should utilize your existing relationships and resources, augmented with a framework from your selected partner to ensure the definition of value is consistent and met.
When working with our clients, we’ve found that stakeholder management is often one of the largest challenges they have. Growing internal support and resources based on the value they will bring to executives, procurement, security, or vendor management takes a lot of listening and time built on solid relationships. In our experience, it’s best to see yourself as an internal service provider and treat these groups as customers whose requirements you are selling value to and gathering, then creating the service that will deliver value to them. This is a club we want people to want to be a part of.
Developing a collaborative governance or target operating model for trustworthy data, lifecycle management, and optimization will be key to ensure this buy in. Your model should align to ISO standards and will allow all stake holders to realize results through collaborative support around deliverable dependencies and practical needs for an ongoing sustainable program.
Your operating model should take all service management requirements into account, starting with the defined outcomes, then creating dependency building blocks of processes, policy and governance to deliver on KPIs and SLAs (again agreed by all). The process for communication and reporting must be agreed upon and documented along with time frames and resource management. Finally, deliverables and task co-ordination must be outlined and assigned, taking care to include all business areas involved.
Data Management will also play an integral part in ensuring buy-in, providing stakeholders with a clear understanding of how data will be obtained and how integrated is vital. Benchmarking the stakeholder defined outcomes, then working backwards to create the underlying inputs and data points is how we can meet their needs. Having reports that nobody trusts, or are openly challenged, is a very quick way to lose confidence and buy in.
There may well be a collection process required to ensure the collection of specific metric data points. This data should be consolidated, and the agreed outputs should be aligned to stakeholder requirements.
Whilst getting the governance or target operating model clearly defined will require input from across the business, the end result will provide documented and defined processes, policies, and KPIs with a clear view of required stakeholder reporting and a plan to deliver. Also, there will often be targeted pieces of short-term work that can be prioritized to drive value, such as a renewal calendar or vendor risk profile to engage in focused optimization and/or negotiation activities, or they may have a specific ask around an area such as end of life hardware or software.
In some organizations, a business case may be required to further solidify the need for an ITAM program. A good first step to creating a solid business case is asking executives their goals, and how ITAM can be a tool to help achieve them.
You should consider including the following aspects in your business case for ITAM to align with business strategies:
First, Risk mitigation and cost optimization – Meaning optimizing spend to manage software and cloud costs in a proactive and structured way, including managing increased vendor costs and increased audit activity
Getting proactive with commercial management will only deliver results when a combined picture of strategy, portfolio, and benchmarked value is in place. This also requires accurate and trustworthy data and processes to deliver well-negotiated contracts through a focused timeline and series of activities. It is important to note here that while negotiating vendors down will deliver some level of cost savings, Gartner outlined in the 2022 Critical Capabilities for SAM Managed services that “Through 2025, organizations will save more money using proactive SAM than negotiating lower prices with software and cloud providers.”
The second aspect to consider is getting the right information to the right people at the right time to drive Sustainable Lifecycle Management—or having enterprise data management to drive business value decision making.
A single view of the right information is needed to manage spend and to drive value can include a combination of intelligence reporting, and process/policy implementation. Stakeholders can then work more efficiently and be empowered to make decisions in their de-centralized team or department, driving value measurement vs spend to the business unit owner.
And the third aspect is Automation for request, fulfilment through marketplaces – Only by providing an outstanding internal service will people engage proactively. This will drive user efficiency and satisfaction.
This ensures that costs are managed throughout the lifecycle process and avoids unnecessary spend of software and cloud throughout its lifecycle and must include validating user request to reuse software already purchased and the management of software and cloud contracts to minimize renewal costs. The processes outlined in the Target Operating Model must be supported by accurate trustworthy data and skilled resources.
Transition and Implement Your Program
Once you have completed planning and gained buy-in for your ITAM program, it’s time to start implementing. By this stage, you should have a clear, outcome-driven plan supported by everyone, and you should have created an approach to managing information, processes, and dependencies.
You may well be starting the process of delivering the early tactical elements and rolling out the governance structure to fit your needs & the culture of your organization.
It’s essential to proactively recruit & engage your Steering Committee Members to ensure they support the processes through their sub-organizations that have been agreed to enable them to make informed sponsorship decisions. We recommend organizing Steering Committee workshops.
During these workshops, you can provide Steering Committee members structure using focused, executive-level training materials on key concepts & principles, such as:
- Roles & duties of Steering Committee members
- Complexities of licensing & limitations of tools
- And Conceptual models to understand the aims of the ITAM program
A recent Gartner report states that “The siloed nature of roles and responsibilities has led to enterprises struggling to obtain and leverage accurate data for software and SaaS consumption within their cloud environments. This is leading to conflicting reporting and governance standards between functions.” Composable businesses made up of autonomous innovation centers around the business are a key driver for many organizations. In this scenario the SAM service evolves to become a customer centric internal service provider.
To ensure the smooth integration of this new structured ITAM Framework and avoid the siloed roles mention by Gartner, requires communication across the business to ensure that each and every business function is onboard and understand the businesses ‘way of working’. The best way to do this is through adopting Composable Business thinking. This will accelerate innovation & modularity at the edge. If you are working with a partner, they must engage in this way of thinking too.
We recommend assigning a ‘spokesperson’ from each business function to join an operational team, and enabling them with an easily accessible playbook, complimented with a two-way line of communication so each department’s needs and capabilities are brought to the table. this allows the process to be communicated back to each of these departments and the SAM/ITAM team along with the service provider can then work upwards with the steering committee to ensure the embedded processes are adhered to and work for the entire business. The SAM function must adopt a service-provider mentality to the internal business owners it exists to serve. This will facilitate agility, speed, quality and cost optimization, ensuring the SAM Service remains a relevant business enabler.
In the afore mentioned Gartner report, Gartner cites that “Digital transformation in uncertain times requires IT leaders to support an increasingly diverse set of stakeholders and technology requirements.” Successful leaders must develop an adaptive approach to governance and managing vendor performance, prioritizing the most impactful business outcomes. Composable Business thinking will deliver this approach.
Run & Manage Your Program
To future-proof your ITAM program and deliver with continuity and success, you will need to leverage the designed framework to Run, Manage, Review, and Improve the process on an ongoing basis. This will further enhance the maturity of key process areas based on industry standards and highlight program strengths, weaknesses, and areas of risk and opportunity.
The key challenge here is to take the model which has been created and is being adopted and transition it into an ongoing ecosystem that is continuously supported by everyone involved.
In our experience, there are 4 key components to consider to maintain momentum and constant improvement.
Component number 1 is validating that value is still being delivered, and the vehicle used for this could be an Annual Strategy & Roadmap checkpoints.
These checkpoints ensure that the approach and value are still on-point and relevant, as well as course-correcting based on lessons learnt. It will highlight any business changes and confirm that the right mix of stakeholders are involved.
Some questions to consider during these checkpoints are:
- What do we want to do more of and less of in the next year—review wins and losses, celebrate and widely publicize good news, learn and diagnose where to improve if needed
- Are goals clear & objectives still relevant?
- Is success criteria being met and how are we measuring it?
- Where is the system falling down/needs focus? What key processes and workflows need to be in place?
- Who is responsible for what? What are the roles & responsibilities needed?
Component number 2 is an Annual Process and Governance Alignment.
This naturally follows the annual strategy review and ensures consistent alignment with your outcomes. A few questions to consider include:
- Is the governance model still fit for purpose, or will the broader business strategy or structure need us to consider a new plan
- How do we evolve from crawl activities such as tactical risk mitigation to walk activities such as better stakeholder reporting
- Are roles, responsibilities, and processes clearly defined?
- Is there an overall policy, clearly articulated and consumable for all? Have policies been reviewed?
- How will program success be measured? Review your KPIs and create new ones as needed.
We also recommend that you create a playbook for all stakeholders and their teams. This helps them understand the bigger picture and how their role fits into that.
Component number 3 is a bi-annual data analysis. This exercise will ensure that information being provided to the business is trustworthy, relevant, and timely. Think about these areas:
- How is data trending from the initial reviews, are we getting better? If not, why not?
- Do you have a clean repository of renewals and information to inform renewals and negotiations?
- Is your data trustworthy and aligned to the program requirements? Is it presented in a clean format to stakeholders on an ongoing basis?
- Compliance benchmarking summaries—turn ELPs and compliance benchmarking into actionable tasks and contextualized view of risk aligned to owners who can independently risk-assess and feed back into process.
The fourth and final component is a facilitated Stakeholder steering committee meeting:
This is a simple, high-level meeting to update stakeholders on the progress of your ITAM program. This meeting also provides a forum to validate that value is being provided and understand how things can be improved.
A few things we recommend you cover during these meetings include:
- Review outputs and progress against annual strategy review—review effectiveness and operational tasks to deliver results
- In-flight activities—what’s happening currently and what everyone needs to be aware of
- Key observations—trends observed, ideally with suggested resolutions or positives to keep repeating
- Risks and roadblocks
- Key actions—what 2-3 things will be the focus for the next period. Make sure to be clear with these and assign ownership of each task.
While these recommendations are not comprehensive, we do believe they are helpful areas we have seen be successful, and hopefully be a help for you to start as you work to run and maintain your ITAM program. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like to learn more about building an efficient and effective IT Asset Management program.
Thank you for participating in our Lighting Course, we hope you found it helpful! Transforming your ITAM program and delivering results is indeed a challenging process, but we’re confident that with proper planning and execution, you’ll find success.
If you would like to learn more about ITAM Program Transformation, please reach out to us and we would be happy to discuss.
Meet your instructor
Director of ITAM Program Transformation
With over a decade of ITAM experience, Brian leads Anglepoint’s team that specialises in enabling customers to programmatically mature their approach to ITAM. This capability and approach is one of the main reasons Anglepoint was recognised by Gartner as industry leading.
This is delivered through a range of consultative services to identify and deliver improvements in tandem with an organisations’ internal capability. This may include a blend of; advisory steering support, ITAM process design and optimization, training, technology evaluation and recommendations, audit defence. All of these services can be delivered against a blend of FinOps, SAM and HAM.