As part of this month’s SAMPanel debate, SAMChannel asked Sherry Irwin, President and Principal Consultant at Technology Asset Management, ‘How can the Talent Shortage in the SAM Sector be Addressed?’
Below was her response…
SAM talent requirements and sourcing depend, in part, on the nature of the SAM role within the SAM program. In particular, it is necessary to differentiate between roles related to IT/software asset tracking and IT/software asset management. Generally speaking:
– IT/software asset tracking is an IT operational, even technical, function, concerned with the physical aspects of the IT assets (what, where); and, primarily in support of IT functions including deployment, operation, problem management and change management. This role does not typically reside within the ITAM/SAM function.
– IT/software asset management is an IT business function, additionally concerned with the fiscal aspects of the IT assets (financial, contractual/legal and regulatory); and, in support of business functions including procurement, finance, contract management and legal. This role resides within and is the foundation of the ITAM/SAM function.
Options to address the talent shortage for both roles include:
– Education and certification from a recognized training organization such as the International Association of IT Asset Managers and their global network of Accredited Training Organizations. (Disclosure: Technology Asset Management Inc. is an IAITAM ATO.)
– Mentorship programs, under which SAM staff have access to external subject matter experts on an as-needed basis, providing knowledge transfer related to organization-specific strategic and operational issues, situations and decisions. (Disclosure: Technology Asset Management Inc. offers such a program.)
– Increased automation, to reduce the manual effort for certain SAM-related processes and tasks, and making SAM staff available for more advanced and valuable activities. (In particular, automation can assist with data quality, on which SAM is highly dependent, and data analysis.)
– Participation in the many SAM networking forums such as users’ groups, conferences, LinkedIn etc. – often a valuable source of experience and knowledge. (Disclosure: Technology Asset Management Inc. founded (1992) and hosts the Canadian IT Asset Management Users’ Group (CITAMUG) – an industry first.)
– Education and training from solution providers, specific to solutions (technologies) used by the organization.
– Hiring knowledgeable staff from resellers, solution providers, partners etc. (subject to any contractual, ethical and other considerations).
Additionally, in the case of IT/software asset management:
– As needed, supplementing internal resources with consultants who are subject matter experts in selected publishers’ licensing programs and terms (e.g., IBM, Microsoft, Oracle), particularly for software license optimization or to respond to a publisher’s audit demand. For many organizations, it is difficult, if not impossible, to dedicate sufficient resources to monitor, understand and stay current with certain publishers’ practices, and the impact on cost, compliance, operational flexibility etc. In most cases, the financial and other benefits from such subject matter expertise far exceed the cost.
– Consider individuals in non-IT roles, with strong analytical skills and experience in business, finance and/or legal – valuable when dealing with the complexities of software licensing; and, providing new career options for those individuals.
Bottom Line: There is no single solution to address the SAM talent shortage; a combination of approaches is necessary, including as outlined above. Most are not immediate – time and investment are required. But, as is generally well understood, both the need and the value/return are significant.
About the Author
Sherry Irwin | President and Principal Consultant at Technology Asset Management | Connect with Sherry
Sherry Irwin, founder (1995) and President of Technology Asset Management Inc., has over 30 years of experience in IT/software asset management (ITAM/SAM), including license, contract and vendor management, across a broad spectrum of industries. She is widely recognized as a pioneer, expert, educator and advocate in this maturing discipline, including as an IAITAM Fellow. Sherry also founded (1992) and sponsors the Canadian IT Asset Management Users’ Group – an industry first – and is the Canadian delegate to ISO ITAM working group (19770).
About Technology Asset Management Inc.
Technology Asset Management Inc. advises clients on ‘good enough’ practices for lifecycle IT/software asset management (ITAM/SAM), with a focus on minimizing costs, minimizing risks, and maximizing benefits related to IT investments. Additionally, TAM Inc. offers ITAM education and training, including as an IAITAM Accredited Training Organization, and a mentorship program to accelerate knowledge transfer based on organization-specific strategic and operational issues, situations and decisions.