At a recent BCS event, a survey announced that 75% of survey participants felt there was a SAM skills gap within the industry.
To date, academia isn’t in a position to offer a SAM degree, and the prospect of introducing modules into an IT course is not a speedy affair.
Further digging will reveal some industry-led courses by organisations such as ITAMOrg, IBSMA, BCS, IAITAM and the BSA, and let’s not forget that training in SAM systems is often offered by the companies that make/create SAM suite software.
However, the frequent change with which licence terms and conditions are put through, a more methodical assessment of skills is required if we are to ensure that SAM skills are:
A: In place
B: Up to date and relevant to the organisation
ISO 19770-1: 2012 advocates a “Competence in SAM” process, which seeks to enforce relevant licensing knowledge within a company, and at SAM Charter we have a “SAM Competence & Training Process” which also seeks to assess those SAM individuals against the SAM skills which are needed to complete their roles – licensing is but just one part of software asset management.
The analysis of staff performance also underlines the importance of having KPIs (Key Performance Metrics) in place – without statistical data in place, a line manager’s job is made that much harder to assess staff performance, particularly if the review is annual and a line manager is then expected to remember KPI ITAM Framework behaviour for 8-10 months beforehand.
A fringe benefit of conducting a performance review for a staff member, is to also assess the goals and tasks they have been given to perform in light of the tools they have been given to achieve those goals, so an oblique analysis of systems performance can also be performed as well. Staff should be assessed on the following criteria:
– Systems Knowledge needed to complete given tasks
– Process knowledge needed to deliver data/information in the right format at the right time to the right people
– “People” knowledge (tenuous-link this one) rather, licensing knowledge necessary to undertake appropriate asset management.
And a top-tip for any performance review (not just those for SAM personnel) is to ensure that performance targets are set and agreed to PRIOR to the start of the period of time under review.
Results of a performance review could lead to staff being re-trained, or reprimanded or “given a pass” because it has been discovered that the systems are not up to the job expected of them via the processes. If licensing knowledge forms part of the performance review then the company has a duty of care to provide the relevant licensing knowledge to manage its assets; or the means by which a staff member can acquire that knowledge (see para 1, above).
For a more detailed analysis of what a SAM process should encapsulate to maintain SAM benchmarks as they pertain to staff, visit the SAM Charter website to obtain your copy of the SAM Process Kit on the 28th of August.
About the Author:
With a technical background in business and systems analysis, Rory has a wide range of first-hand experience advising numerous companies and organisations on the best practices and principles pertaining to software asset management. This experience has been gained in both military and civil organisations, including the Royal Navy, Compaq, HP, the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) and several software vendors.