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ITAM moves centre stage

New body formed to raise profile of global ITAM industry

To date, IT Asset Management (ITAM) has not been given the attention many feel it deserves. This could change with the establishment of the ITAM Forum, a new not-for-profit body dedicated to the advancement of the global ITAM industry.

The new body has been founded by Martin Thompson, founder of the ITAM Review and the Campaign for Clear Licensing, to raise the profile of the ITAM industry and to establish a globally recognised Organisational Certification for ITAM based on the ISO standard for the ITAM industry – ISO19770 –first published in 2006.

Thompson argues that the establishment of the ITAM Forum comes at a time when IT teams are enjoying more seniority and board-level exposure then ever before, with Gartner now describing ITAM as a C-level imperative.

“Over the course of the last decade, IT Asset Management (ITAM) has been slowly rising out of the shadows. Once the back-office, operationally focused team that simply ‘counted computers’, ITAM has pulled itself out of the basement and up to the more senior levels of the business. According to research conducted by the ITAM Review, 37% of ITAM practitioners reported to the C-suite in 2018, compared with 45% reporting to the more operationally-focused ITSM in 2011. This is a significant change in just seven years.”

Thompson says this transformation is being powered by several key trends.

“Digital transformation has made IT much more critical to the business, elevating it from the team that fixes your PCs to being the function that drives the business strategy. IT purchases are no longer the preserve of the IT department – Software-as-a-Service and cloud have made customers out of everyone n the business – and ITAM’s domain has had to expand across the business to accommodate this change. Thirdly, ITAM as a discipline has grown up. As it has become more sophisticated in its approach, the value it delivers to the business has become indispensable.”

Thompson points out that even so many organisations have not yet caught up with these changes, which is why there is still a need for a body like the IT Forum.

“If you look at the Fortune 2000, not everyone has a mature practice or is realising the strategic benefits that ITAM brings. Our aim is to change that. ITAM has a key role to play in the 2020s, especially in the current economic climate. Our goal is to raise awareness of the discipline and to raise its profile within organisations.”

Thompson suggests that ITAM Forum is better equipped to do this than other ITAM industry bodies because, uniquely, it is led by end user organisations (see panel); it is not for profit; and it is committed to bringing an ISO certification programme to the industry.

“ISO standards are about industries coming together to identify ‘what good looks like’ and using standards to improve quality and outcomes. We felt that a not-for-profit trade body with a cross-industry trustee board to oversee its operation was the best way to build trust, rally a response and unify the ITAM industry,” he explains.

Initial priorities
In the short-term, the ITAM Forum will have a role to play in highlighting ITAM’s value to organisations as they manage the consequences of Covid-19 and the impending recession.

“The priority for many businesses at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was to invest rapidly in remote working solutions so they could maintain day-to-day operations as best they could, whatever the cost. Now that the dust has settled and businesses adapt to the new normal, IT Asset Managers have a huge role to play in documenting and unpicking this rapid and unplanned investment. Looking longer term towards the onset of a global recession, cost cutting has become the priority for businesses and the ITAM industry will be on hand to help organisations achieve this.”

ITAM can do this by providing answers to questions like:

*What do we have? What’s being used? What can we cut?

*How do we cut out waste? How do we reduce and renegotiate what we can’t afford to cut?

*How do we return to core services that deliver for our business and cut away extraneous projects or distractions?

In the meantime, is there anything the IT channel do to help raise the profile of ITAM?

Yes, there is says Thompson: “Recognise the bottom-line impact of IT Asset Management and help us communicate this to customers. Partners and service providers helping customers realise the benefits of ITAM can elevate themselves to trusted advisors. The first step in any strategy is to identify the current situation and lie of the land – trustworthy asset data does just that!”

The ITAM Forum Board of Trustees

End User Trustees
1 Bryant Caldwell (USA) 2 Rachel Ryan (UK) 3 George Arezina (Switzerland) 4 Melody Ayeli (USA) 5 Elise Cocks (USA) 6 Brett Zurbrick (USA) 7 Julia Veall (UK) 8 Denise Lee (USA)

1 Sinisa Lukacev (Serbia) 2 Ron Brill (USA) 3 Eric Chiu (UK)

Tool Providers
1 Roel Decneut (USA) 2Johannes Biesing (Germany)

Independent Consultants
1 Barry Pilling (UK) 1 Sherry Irwin (Canada)

The ITAM Forum has been made possible by the financial support of the following patrons:
*Asperan Anglepointn Fisher
*Gemini Six
*Snow Software

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