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Leveraging Value from IT Asset Management – Insights from Gartner ITAM Summit

I recently attended Gartner’s IT Financial, Procurement & Asset Management summit in Orlando, FL (www.gartner.com/us/itam ). In line with Gartner image and spirit of shaping up and defining what’s hot and what’s not in the IT world, the summit was organized to present the current state and trends in IT Fin, Procurement and Asset Management world and would have certainly appealed to IT benchmark and best practice seekers.

Sessions were organized by tracks and during each timeslot, each track had a session going on a specific topic. I think this was done primarily to maximize the participation, which I believe was a good strategy as most of the sessions I attended were full house. I primarily attended ITAM sessions, though would have loved to attend the procurement ones as well (my portfolio included procurement services).

 

One of the key sessions I attended included session on IT Asset Management: Trends, Tools and Best Practices by Patricia Adams. The key focus was on setting the processes right before implementing a tool, especially putting a clear software licensing policy in place to ensure compliance and mitigate compliance related risks. She outlined 5 different stages of maturity in this area (similar to CMM) and shared that it is not easy for organizations to move up the curve and it often takes 18-20 months to move from one stage to the next. There was also emphasis on centralizing the IT asset inventory data and determine clearly which tool meets the inventory and compliance needs most (agent based vs. agent less).

The next key session on ITAM was presented by Frances O’Brien – Gartner Research VP – focused on perspectives to select and apply ITAM standards and framework. The key takeaway was that there is no “single standard fitting all the requirements” and the choice really depends upon what is required by the supporting business case. The session succinctly covered the existing standards, criteria to determine what’s applicable for an organization and how one should go about selecting and applying standards. The session factually outlined strengths and weaknesses of the key standards such as ITIL, COBIT, ISO-19770-1,4,6 and 7 and how / where these standards are helpful on key ITAM organizational criteria such as governance, risk, effectiveness and cost optimization. Finally, great emphasis was laid on building the business case right with clearly articulating the ROI in terms of benefits and costs, linking the business drivers to standards and outlining implications of key implementation scenarios (best case, worst case, most likely and “do nothing”). One of the suggested approaches which I could relate to very well based on my own experience was building the ITAM business case along with other key projects linked to business drivers where ITAM can accelerate the benefits, thereby improving the ROI of other projects.

Jack Heine (Research VP, Gartner) talked about the convergence of ITAM, EAM and IWMS highlighted the trends in IT and non-IT computerized assets and how these are driving the convergence of support functions in ITAM and EAM and the fact that this convergence is real and represents significant cost reduction / saving potential for the organizations as investment in facilities today is second largest corporate expenditure (after labor costs). Jack’s session also outlined some of the key organizational issues faced regarding this convergence – e.g. impact on software licensing cost (charge / connection), expansion of IT architectural standards, O/S and server migration plans, re-definition of IT backup and recovery. The session also presented perspectives on how this convergence can potentially drive convergence on the tool vendors as the need for consolidated asset view is becoming stronger.

From my perspective, the summit greatly helped in validating some of the key trends and perspectives we are observing through our own client base. Infosys’ EAM practice has clearly recognized the convergence and synergies of ITAM and EAM and we strongly emphasize to look at the asset management as a holistic discipline to drive compelling business advantage – not just cost reduction, but also leverage the assets to improve organizational responsiveness.

Overall, this was an exciting event and I look forward to attending the future one as well.               
Would love to hear from you, if you attended this one.

Comments

I guess all the facts, findings, trends & research shown by Gartner is no secret and is true for any package implementation.

Though there is good amount of convergence & synergy between ITAM & EAM, thanks to IBM’s focus of putting together both of these in one product; maximo, I guess that implementing an ITAM should be lot easier than implementing EAM.

IT assets are intelligent & speak for themselves. Sitting in a control room/ server room, at any distance, you can change the software configuration, auto-install new virus controllers and do whatever you want to do. You can run remotely software tools which can run through all of your IT assets and scan & find out the problems sitting in your cozy offices. Typical manufacturing assets do not have all of these qualities.

Change management is also less problematic as you deal with the users who are well versed in IT technologies in case of ITAM implementation, while it would be more difficult in case of EAM.

Well said Praveen. While packages such as Maximo have made great strides in converging ITAM and ITSM (service management), EAM still remains a little laggard in terms of in-built asset intelligence compared to IT assets which by design have these components (agent based vs. agent less).

So, in order for EAM to catch up to ITAM on performing inventory, we will need to perhaps wait some more when the sense & track becomes more routine (RFID or otherwise) and not just limited to high value assets which are only a handful and are counted and recorded meticulously in the financial systems.

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