ITAMChannel is a hub of coverage for all the latest news and views within the IT Asset Management Industry

SAM Charter, Rory Canavan on ITAM Maturity Assessment


ITAM Channel interview with Rory Canavan



–    Rory, welcome and thank you for joining us for this interview where we will be talking about ITAM processes and the Maturity Assesment tool that has just been made available to all corporate members of ITAMOrg. You’re the founder of SAM Charter and also the Director of R&D at ITAMOrg. But let’s first have a bit of background on you:

I started out with a UK organisation called the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) November of 2007.  I was charged with helping clients work through a programme of licence compliance (as it was called back then) The phrase “Software Asset Management” was just coming into the language at that time.  The volume of driving was putting me in an early grave, so I decided to leave FAST and go and consult for Trustmarque.  A brief engagement there was followed by a longer period of time at Flexera – all the while, I was focused on SAM process engineering.  In July of 2012 I founded SAM Charter, my own SAM process engineering consultancy – essentially, I am taking my business and systems analysis skills honed from my Computing Degree (thank you University of Plymouth) and applying them to SAM/ITAM.

You’ve now developed this maturity assessment, with just a little support from ITAMOrg, and now it’s made available to all corporate members of ITAMOrg. Can you please fill us in – why you decided to develop this?

I was keen to develop a scalable, automated, customisable, on line, multi-language platform that anyone could use; and that also didn’t force clients into answering yes or no as to the value and existence of a process – life is not always so black and white.  I also wanted to do away with the current experience many companies go through, where a graduate is sent out into the work-space with a laptop and a spreadsheet and tasked with asking questions of people when their diaries allow, and then taking that data back and manually generating a report.  We have better/quicker ways of working today.

If an organization decides to run this maturity assessment – what should they expect as the outcome from such initiative?

First and foremost, I should say that there are two flavours of the assessment:
The light version (20 questions) – this is a free version, that allows a client to get a feeling for the kinds of SAM questions they should be answering with relative ease.
The full version (100+ questions) – this is a paid-for version, that offers a surgical analysis of your Software Asset Management System, with additional section including how it copes with:
•    ISO 19770-1: 2017
•    Digital Transformation
•    Financial Reporting
•    IBM Licensing
•    Microsoft Licensing
•    VMware Licensing
•    Oracle Licensing
•    SAP Licensing
The assessment can be taken on line, and in five languages (English, German, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese) The assessment can be taken in multiple sittings, and the assessment taker has the ability to email out questions to co-workers if they don’t know the answer to a particular question.
Once all the questions are answered (you can’t skip any of them!) the end user receives an email to say that their report is ready; unless the consultant sending the initial invitation to take the assessment has ticked a box to alter the workflow to allow him/her to add their own analysis prior to sending the report on to the client.

To the best of your knowledge and experience – will an organization be able to use the outcome from this assessment as it is or would you expect them also to have support from any industry professional/consultant to take advantage of this?

This would depend upon the level of SAM experience within the organisation as a whole.  The report has been crafted so that it could be presented to C-level, Project/Programme Managers and SAM Managers so that they understand the value of SAM, and why that company is seeking to improve its position on the SAM maturity curve.
Top tip:  Take the findings of this report; plot your required processes, break them down to a step by step level, and then see who in your company does what against those steps.  You might be surprised to find that if you have deployed as-a-service software, some of those activities will be assumed to be completed by the as-a-service provider – but are they enshrined in your as-a-service contract as SLAs?

The assessment has been out and around for a while, so could you provide a couple of good examples of clients (industry, size, etc.) and what their experience was from this?

The maturity assessment has been used in a global bank (circa 300,000 users), an international fashion company (circa 6,000 users), a UK utilities company (circa 5,000 users), and a global car company (circa 40,000 users).  Some clients use it as a bench-marking service, so that they can see where they are, and where they want to be.  Others have then taken the findings and requested consultancy around designing the SAM processes.  Another client asked me to design the processes and then secure ITAM department buy-in for those designs – and the ITAM team then took them to the point of implementation.  One client wanted me to stay to the point of company-wide implementation, but then had a major retraction of business on two continents, and so throttled back on its consultancy-hire.
All though, saw the value of the processes that enveloped the SAM technology that was in place at the time.  Owning a SAM suite is like owning a thermometer – would you expect the thermometer to cure you of your cold?  It’s the processes that can refine your IT estate; not the SAM suite.
One final point to raise about using the platform is this:  if you are truly global and your Citrix Estate is centred in Nigeria, and your Unix estate is located in California, and you have a sizeable Desktop and as-a-service offering running out of Denmark, then do not try to shoe-horn such a company into one taking of the assessment:  The maturity level for your software request process (as an example) will be different across all three IT domains – take one assessment per IT domain.

So – finally; what are Your current projects besides the maturity assessment tool? And what are your projections and expectations of the ITAM industry? Where are we in say 3-5 years?

As for current projects; I am in the middle of re-writing the syllabus for the SAMS course, so that we can re-align the course to the newly revised ISO 19770-1: 2017 standard. And for that we’re establishing a BOK to get input and contributions from across a number of geographies and industries.  I’m also writing a HAM process kit to complement the SAM process kit in partnership with Kylie Fowler.
I think the onward march to the cloud will be inevitable, and I suspect SAM will become a closer cousin to Information Security than it will to Service Management.  I think the true value of processes has yet to hit the industry; regrettably, too many people have the idea that throwing tech at the problem of SAM/ITAM will make it go away.
I also believe that with as-a-service software being billed monthly, the demand on SAM to produce meaningful and more relevant reports on consumption will take us away from the assault-course experience of producing annual ELPs and organisations settling up financially once every 12 months; promising “to do SAM better”.
Audits will continue to increase in an effort to drive companies to the cloud.  Oh, and Oracle will be as popular as ever! 😉

Thank you for joining us today Rory – END