Process, policies, and standards: 3 critical components of a successful ITAM implementation

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Proper IT asset management (ITAM) can deliver a range of benefits to your business. It can help you create a more efficient system for tracking your physical devices. It can help you take control of your software licenses before hardware end-of-life. It can help you save millions of dollars in cost avoidance by optimizing your environment and diminishing audit risk.

It can help you do all these things – and more. But only when it’s done correctly. The problem is, most times, ITAM isn’t executed correctly.  According to Gartner, ITAM implementations fail 75% of the time.

There are countless reasons why implementing a successful ITAM program is difficult. Most organizations have multiple departments, managers, and personnel that must work together to accomplish company goals. But ITAM fails most often because companies mistakenly look to an ITAM or SAM tool to solve all their problems.  Instead, they should focus on the critical aspects of successful execution, not least of which are process, policies, and standards.

In this post, we’ll discuss these three key components, explain why they’re essential, and offer you solutions to address them.

1. Process

If you start your ITAM journey believing that purchasing and running discovery tools is going to solve all your problems, you’re in for a rude awakening. Tools are important, but they are only a small part of the solution.

Here’s a simple truth: ITAM is 80% process and 20% tools. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t understand that ITAM needs to be part of their business practices. They don’t invest the time, resources, or budget required to achieve successful ITAM outcomes. And they quickly learn that, without the proper processes in place, the tools are nothing more than that – tools.

Solution: Every organization is different, but the concept is the same: Develop a process tailored to your company’s size, scope, and needs for detecting, tracking, and auditing your IT assets.

But, remember, while it’s important to develop a baseline process, know that it needs to be consistently audited and updated over time to account for changes to your company.

2. Policies

How would you know if a laptop is missing if you can’t identify your devices? If you don’t know what software your employees are using, how would you know if you’re in compliance with licensing rules?

You can only answer these questions if you have policies in place to ensure your IT assets are being accounted for and monitored correctly.

Before you get started with ITAM, you need to identify your desired outcomes and install clear policies for how you’re going to achieve them. Of course, having policies and procedures in place is one thing. Making sure that everyone follows them is a completely different animal.

Solution: Hardware and software policies are only effective if everyone follows them. Which is why, not only do you need to have them in place, but you need to make sure you have complete company buy-in. That starts at the top.

While these changes may feel unfamiliar at first, your C-suite and executives must pave the way, enforce these policies, and set an example for the rest of the company. ITAM only works if everyone is on board and adheres to the same policies.

3. Standards

Even if your organization has an ITAM strategy in mind, how would you know that you’re following the right steps to achieve your goals? Without using a well-established framework, you’ll likely struggle to structure your business in a way that helps you identify your assets and determine the best way to manage them throughout their lifecycle.

Unfortunately, many organizations attempt to build an ITAM strategy without following accepted standards. This is a recipe for disaster.

Solution: An international standard – like the ISO 19770-1 – gives you a framework for crafting an effective IT strategy. It can help you improve policies and procedures and offer you best-practice guidelines for achieving everything from controlling costs to determining risks to identifying your software and hardware.

ITAM isn’t one size fits all; every organization is different. Using a tried-and-true standard like ISO will put you on the path toward creating the best and most effective strategy for your company.

Realizing full value from your ITAM program

The benefits of ITAM are well-documented. But so are the complexities associated with undergoing this sort of project.  When companies embark on this journey alone, they oftentimes put themselves behind the eight ball right off the bat by failing to address these three vital elements. There’s no reason to let that happen to you.

By incorporating a defined process and clear policies using a trusted standard as your guide, you’ll be well on your way to ITAM success.

Gaining an outside, objective perspective can help too.  It’s a role we have facilitated for a growing number of organizations over recent years, delivering not just on their goals to be compliant or optimized on their software licensing, but to really implement and maintain effective ITAM programs that continue to deliver tangible benefits year over year.

If you’d like to learn more about improving your ITAM processes with the help of an expert from SHI, contact us or speak with your SHI Account Executive today.