How To Build An ITAM Team That Pays For Itself
Part of my role as an ITAM coach and consultant is helping organizations create ITAM teams that are so successful that they pay for themselves. In the 20 years I’ve worked in Information Technology, I’ve discovered four key characteristics that point to who is most likely to succeed in the fast-paced and often high-stress world of ITAM.
One of the main goals of ITAM is to protect your organization from the crippling audit penalties that destroy IT budgets. Whether you’re building a new ITAM team or want to level up your existing tea, I encourage you to look for these four characteristics in your candidates – some of which may surprise you! This method cuts down on the risk of hiring the wrong person by guiding you to the right questions:
The 4 Qualities & Characteristics Of The Ideal ITAM Team Member
While you may assume that years of experience and excellent references are the most important markers to look for, personality traits need to be factored in, as well. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of understanding the basic tenets of ITAM, but that alone doesn’t mean a hire will be the right asset for your team.
Instead I suggest that you be on the lookout for these four inherent personality traits:
The ideal team member is persistent. This person is always driven to find the right information – regardless of how much time and energy it takes. They simply don’t give up.
Find out what the candidate has done in the past when they’ve hit a roadblock. Did they stop working? Did they ask for direction? Or were they persistent and kept poking at the problem until they saw the way forward?
With ITAM, there will always be problems, such as when someone refuses to share data because they think it’s “theirs.” Your team member at that point has to make a decision – try to sweet-talk the person into sharing the data? Bring in a superior? Or exhaust every other possibility to get the information first?
Another characteristic to look for is whether they have good instincts for where the boundaries lie. For example, you don’t want your team member to reach out to a publisher to find out what you own – that will almost certainly trigger an audit.
I always say that ITAM is part science, part art. Your ITAM team will often spend a lot of their time following disorganized and difficult to parse data to logical conclusions. Someone with what I call a logical and ordered mind has an appreciation of logic and an understanding of cause and effect, which are key characteristics to look for.
You want to look for how a candidate handled either a blank slate situation or a chaotic experience. Were they able to apply order to it? Where did they start? What made the most sense or got them the most bang for the buck? Did they run a test to know whether they were on the right path?
A love of research of all kinds is an essential characteristic you want to look for in a potential team member. This type of person will follow every thread in the data until they get to the truth.
What to look for: Did they do queries inside the database? Are they familiar with excel spreadsheets and contracts? Can they handle reading very dense information? And, most of all, do they enjoy sharing what they’ve found?
4. An Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge
Some people always want to know more, and that’s a valuable trait for an ITAM team member. The continual desire to uncover more and more data is not for everyone, and it’s the folks who always ask “why,” don’t give up, and never accept “good enough” who are often excellent candidates to build an ITAM team.
St. Thomas Aquinas said, “I fear the man of a single book.” If a candidate is focused on just one thing, they’re probably not broad enough to consider other points of view or different ways of getting what they need to do their job effectively.
Do they look under the surface? Are they an independent thinker? The best clues will be found in what they like to do outside of work.
Dig Deep To Build An ITAM Team That Will Pay For Itself
While considering candidates, remember to look under the “hood.” The characteristics of persistence, a logical and ordered mind, a love of research and an insatiable thirst for knowledge are as important, and in some ways may be more important, than years of experience and excellent references.
Try to identify the four characteristics above and ask the right questions to make it much easier to build an ITAM team that rocks. No one can guarantee success but it will improve the odds that you’ll be able to demonstrate to your leadership the cost/benefit of the ITAM program.
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.