3 Crucial IT Asset Management Policies Features
IT Asset Management policies, standards, and procedures are vital to the success of ITAM teams. A formal outline of your policies is crucial if you’re building a new team or endeavoring to improve the team you already have. IT asset management policies impact the efficiency of the ITAM team and how other teams interact with the software and hardware in your computing space.
As an ITAM consultant and coach, the lack of IT asset management policies causes a lot of what I’m brought in to correct. Based on my experience and the ultimate success of teams I’ve worked with, the lack of strong IT Asset Management Policies is at the root of the kind of problems that often turn into disasters.
Feature #1 – A Declared IT Tower
A declared IT Tower is explicitly responsible and accountable for ITAM to operate successfully and is an inherent aspect of your IT Asset Management Policies. ITAM lives in one of these three places in most organizations – IT Operations, IT Finance, or IT Security.
- IT Operations: Most ITAM teams are part of IT operations. Why? Because they are accustomed to working with service delivery CSFs and KPIs and have the best access to CMBD asset and CI records (if not outright ownership). They answer to the IT COO.
- IT Finance: Because ITAM has cost-reduction or spend-savings objectives, these teams are most comfortable dealing with budgetary and cost-center reporting and are usually responsible for only the asset portion of the CMDB or their own Asset MDR separate from the CMDB. They answer to an IT Budget Finance liaison or the CFO.
- IT Security: Because ITAM has security and maintenance objectives, it lives in IT Security in some organizations. While not as common as Towers 1 and 2, I see this setup becoming more frequent. I’m not entirely sure why some ITAM teams are part of IT security, but I’m guessing it’s where new ITAM initiatives can get going more easily and faster than in other areas. An ITAM team that lives in IT Security answers to the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).
In all three scenarios, ITAM lives within another department, and the focus of that department doesn’t necessarily help it complete its mission. Due to what may seem to be more urgent needs and requirements, ITAM can get lost. ITAM usually demands more care and feeding of data than its fellow departments, so it runs the risk of not getting the attention and resources it needs – that is, until disaster strikes.
Could ITAM exist in its own Tower within IT? I wish I could answer this question with a resounding yes! – but my answer is this: Maybe. Possibly. It Depends. (Sorry.)
Many organizations now have the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) position, which means ITAM could exist in its own Tower. But here’s the rub – the CTO role must be designed so it doesn’t overlap or rub up against the other IT Towers.
Feature #2 – Clearly Outlined Vision & Mission Statements
For your IT Asset Management policies to ensure you can meet your goals, your team’s relationship with the rest of the IT department must be clearly outlined, particularly its vision and mission. A direct line should link the ITAM team to the IT department, then ideally, align to Corporate. Or skip the IT department altogether. The old saying, “If there’s no money, there’s no mission,” totally applies here.
Feature #3 – Regularly Reviewed IT Asset Management Policies, Standards, & Procedures
This is important. All ITAM policies, standards, and procedures must be signed, dated, and reviewed on a regular basis. I recommend once a year.
IT Asset Management policies are not simply for guidance. They can either hurt or help you during software license audits and negotiations. It is good corporate practice and should be standard for all departments in every organization. Unfortunately, too many corporate implosions were caused by policies not reviewed since they were initially written.
As you build your ITAM team and support the one you have, it’s a smart move to make sure you have the IT asset management policy features I’ve laid out above. For a deeper dive, pick up a copy of my book, Rethinking Information Technology Asset Management, where I explain my tried and true Pragmatic ITAM Method. And, if you need help building your team or having trouble getting trustworthy and reliable data, give me a call – I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
The above content is based upon a chapter of my book, Rethinking Information Technology Asset Management, where I lay out my Pragmatic ITAM Method, which is helping hundreds of organizations cut their ITAM spend without buying less software. To get your copy, click here.