Accurate tracking of IT assets within an organisation is vital to ensure they are being properly used and adding value to the bottom line. Unfortunately, however, the effectiveness of such management can be compromised due to a range of mistakes, according to field expert Patricia Adams.
“But things like improper documentation, miscommunication with staff and unreliable data are all examples of issues that can compromise the success of an IT Asset Management (ITAM) program and lessen its effectiveness for an organisation,” Ivanti’s IT asset management (ITAM) evangelist, Patricia Adams told iTWire in an interview.
Adams has been a research analyst/director with Gartner from 1996 prior to joining Ivanti in May 2015. She is widely regarded one of the world’s foremost experts in IT asset management and understands this discipline from a business, process, people, and technology viewpoint.
The following are her tips on avoiding the 10 most common mistakes when implementing and managing a proper ITAM programme:
1. Insufficient governance
One of the biggest mistakes made comes in the form of insufficient governance. Within many organisations, the foundational work required to ensure the success of the ITAM program is simply not completed. Often, the IT asset management team knows it has a problem but is unsure of how to get the C-level attention required to fix it. Without support and direction from executives, the program risks failure.
In these situations, it is important to build a tactical roadmap of what needs to be done, but also to include a strategic roadmap that aligns with the technology and budgetary priorities of senior management. In this way, the asset management team will be able to gain consensus on exactly what problems exist and the steps that will be needed to overcome them.
2. Incomplete process documentation
All organisations have processes in place, but far fewer have them fully documented or regularly train staff on process execution. This can lead to a lack of reproducible activities when staff change or the organisation’s structure is altered.
It also means there is no documentation that can be shared both within teams and with the wider business, making it hard to explain what ITAM is and why it’s important. It also means there is no baseline from which improvements can be measured. Completion of detailed documentation for all processes will overcome these issues.
3. Lack of metrics to measure effectiveness
Proving that your ITAM program is adding value to your organisation is difficult unless you have the metrics to support it. You need the ability to know where you are, where you want to be, and the progress you are making in the interim.
Effective metrics required include details of asset prices, maintenance costs, inventory accuracy, installed base of software, and total cost of ownership calculations. It is also good to have the mechanisms in place to track estimated future spending requirements as an organisation evolves and grows.
4. Believing processes are static
Processes should be standardised but at the same time must not be inflexible. They need to be able to be adjusted based on the specific requirements of group or department, or if the business goals change.
Exceptions to the standard processes should be expected and need to be documented so they can be clearly communicated in the future. This tends to occur among senior management who often require the flexibility to work in different ways and in different locations.
5. Never revising asset-related policies
Processes are not static and policies should not be either. Policies need to reflect the current business environment and must be revised as the business changes.
This is important when it comes to creating policies that apply to third parties and contractors. These groups need to understand what is expected of them when they make use of company IT assets.
All these policies should be accessible and readily understood, rather than buried within HR manuals. Any revisions and updates should also be noted so they are clear for everyone who is effected.