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ITAM is not Transactional

ITAM is not Transactional

Cash Register

I wrote a short blog post on LinkedIn today about customers and how we as vendors treat them. Do we treat customers as partners or transactions? RAPA certainly treats our customers as partners; taking risks to serve them as they take risks in their investments with us. I wanted to share a few thoughts on how this is relevant to ITAM.

ITAM is not transactional. Yes, the technical transactions of managing and processing data are critical to the practice of ITAM but ITAM is about much more than moving data in and out of a CMDB, it is fundamentally about supporting the most important business objectives in IT:

  • Control of the IT environment (cost, use, location, lifecycle, etc.)
  • Transparency and accountability in how the IT environment operates (reporting)
  • Risk avoidance and data security (governance)
  • Compliance with regulatory and contractual obligations (governance)

Achieving these business objectives is not a transactional activity, so how can ITAM be?

ITAM objectives that support these business objectives demand cross-functional collaboration across IT and the reality is that this level of collaboration is not present in most organizations, for example:

  • Most functions within IT are siloed. ITAM, IT Financial Management (ITFM), IT Configuration Management (ITCM), IT Service Management (ITSM), IT Operations Management (ITOM), Contract Management, Human Resources are working independently, they have limited operational collaboration and report to different executives.
  • Processes and reporting across these IT functions are not integrated; therefore the data cannot easily be consolidated for management decisions and its accuracy is questionable due to a lack of aligned control.
  • ITAM operational activities are not directly tied to the critical the business objectives discussed and therefore the business value of the ITAM operation is unclear to executives.

These are business challenges, not transactional problems and must be addressed in the operationalization of ITAM.

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Customers that do not have significant experience operationalizing ITAM and seek external support to solve these problems need vendors (again, tools or service providers) who partner with their customers with a mindset that does not put transactional profitability ahead of the long term partnership because the reality is that maturity in ITAM takes time.

One real world example that I can share is this:

Our customers are awesome. They realize that the technology they have invested in to manage ITAM data is only a piece of the solution. In one case, our customer needed support in developing a sound business case that could clearly articulate the business value (in operational improvement and dollars and cents) of continued investment in the ITAM practice. This was not a trivial task and we invested significant time to help them without a guarantee that a funded project would result. We helped them proactively address potential road blocks and we helped increase their confidence in delivering the business case to the CIO. Regardless of the outcome, this investment in our customer increased the level of trust yet again.

In our experience, treating customers like partners with equal risk and opportunity for reward is not only the right thing to do, it will provide everyone involved with a more satisfying experience in working together and greater results for all parties involved.

Until next post, wishing everyone much success in ITAM and please consider our complimentary ITAM and SAM Health Check.