As an ITAM coach and consultant, part of my job is helping organizations build their ITAM teams. This often involves providing the leaders with specific IT asset management interview questions that will help them uncover candidates who will be ideal additions to their teams.
If you’re an IT director or ITAM lead and in the process of building (or improving) your ITAM team, you’re in a precarious position. Your hiring decisions are critical because of the massive impact your department can have on the entire organization.
I’ve assisted numerous healthcare conglomerates, global insurance companies, large manufacturers and more in structuring their ITAM teams. And I’ve discovered through the process that no matter how many years of experience a candidate may have or how stellar their references are, there are other qualities and characteristics which are equally, if not more, important.
As a matter of fact, by far the most talented ITAM team members I’ve coached are less experienced than their more seasoned colleagues. They all seem to share are these four qualities and characteristics:
- A Logical and Ordered Mind
- A Love of Research
- An Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge
So, how do you uncover, during an interview, whether a candidate possesses these qualities and characteristics? You need to ask these seven very specific questions:
One of the country’s more recognizable small aircraft manufacturers understands the need to be nimble, light, and responsive. They build private and small commuter jets used the world over, and have earned a reputation of quality at a competitive price. That is because they use the best of the best business, engineering, and quality control methods to keep manufacturing costs low and the planes flying high.
Unfortunately, mistakes happen. A single mouse-click allowed a single piece of software to be installed onto a business critical service leveraged by the entirety of their 15,000 employees. That mistake almost cost the company $3M in software license penalties.
Thanks to the ITAM Coach, the organization’s Software Asset Management team found the issue in time.
The “Unknown Unknowns” on their tail could have been costly.
The software at the heart of the matter is Microsoft’s Project Server. Even though it is separately licensed from the other tools, the software is included with SharePoint Server installations wizards (to aid in building a ‘golden image’ to speed up deployment and support). The SysAdmin in charge neglected to de-select the option to include MS Project Server, which allowed it to appear on all 70 SharePoint servers.
MS Project Server itself is relatively inexpensive – around $6,000 per instance – but it requires a client access license (CAL) for any employee to use the product. CALs are best thought of as “paper licenses”; there is no software to install or controls to limit access. However, you are still required to prove to Microsoft (and their license auditors) that you have bought enough of them when your volume license agreement renewal comes due.
The cost balloons when you consider Microsoft’s likely argument had they learned of the mistake. These 70 servers are accessible to every user in the corporate environment. Plus, every user has a SharePoint CAL purchased for all 15,000 employees. MS Project Server is installed and running on all 70 servers. Shouldn’t all 15,000 employees also have a MS Project CAL?
Got the @#$%# software off their @#$%#@ server.
Luckily, the issue was discovered and resolved before Microsoft (and their audit team) found it on their next license true-up. The corporate software asset management (SAM) team had engaged the ITAM Coach to help them improve their CMDB reporting. The mismatch between the MS Project Server installations and MS Project CALs became clear as their existing ServiceNow SAM Pro module was reconditioned and repopulated.
Once discovered, the solution was simple: just disable the MS Project Server program from the upper memory of the SharePoint servers. If the program isn’t running, then no user can access it. And, if they can’t access it, they don’t need a client access license!
- The SAM team members are now the “aces” of the company.
- The Aircraft Manufacturer can now say, definitively, that this software is not in use nor is it accessible to any end users in any future audit.
- The Aircraft Manufacturer is now in compliance with their Microsoft enterprise agreement.
- They’re no longer at risk of an audit penalty when Microsoft asks for an audit at their next annual renewal.
- Because The ITAM Coach was working shoulder-to-shoulder with the existing SAM team, they now know what to look for in their asset MDR. Their skillset is now improved and other audit risks have already been discovered on their own.
This is an example of an unbudgeted risk the SAM managers didn’t know was out there nor had the CFO budgeted for a $3.5M MS project server. Not only did we find that, but now the SAM team knows what to look for so it never happens again.
Thanks to the Pragmatic ITAM Method, The aircraft manufacturer evaded a $3.5M penalty and now knows how to avoid such bogeys in the future!
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