Build Confidence in Your IT Operation

Confidence is a powerful feeling. It can be the difference maker, the fuel you need to perform at your best, the push to help you overcome your fears, and a key factor in your success in both your personal and professional lives.

A lot of entrepreneurs make good money helping people achieve confidence. Successful self-help authors in this arena can make hundreds-of-millions of dollars annually in book sales and lucrative speaking engagements.

But what about IT? How can IT teams start building success and creating confidence in their role as supporting the business?

Former Gartner analyst and current Ivanti IT Asset Management evangelist Patricia Adams suggests companies begin by examining the Ivanti IT Asset Management / Software Asset Management Attainment Model. The model has five levels in ascending order:

  • Level 0: Unmanaged
  • Level 1: Initial
  • Level 2: Managed
  • Level 3: Shared
  • Level 4: Optimized

The Managed level is what every ITAM/SAM program should strive to achieve in order for the business to have confidence in IT’s ability to fulfill its charter.

Reaching this level requires a significant amount of resources. C-level executives must be fully supportive and patient as lessons are learned, and in some cases, relearned. Investment will be needed in governance, policy, process design, staffing, tools, and metrics. Benefits can be achieved without tools, but an ITAM/SAM tool is needed to fully automate many of the manual activities.

At this stage, the first step is to address governance. Without strong governance, moving up a level in the attainment model will be nearly impossible. IT demand governance (ITDG—what IT should work on) is the process by which organizations ensure the effective evaluation, selection, prioritization, and funding of competing IT investments; oversee their implementation; and extract (measurable) business benefits. ITDG is a business investment decision-making and oversight process, and it is a business management responsibility. IT supply-side governance (ITSG— how IT should do what it does) is concerned with ensuring that the IT organization operates in an effective, efficient, and compliant fashion, and it is primarily a CIO responsibility.”

As long as there is an IT infrastructure supporting the business, there is a definitive need for ITAM/ SAM.

The next step in a successful program is ensuring there are qualified people to staff it. You might have to look internally to find and train an ITAM/SAM workforce.

At this level, policies must be in place. However, policies are typically just targeted at the behavior of end users—such as informing them about acceptable corporate practices when it comes to hardware device physical security, software downloads, evaluation copies of software, and other areas. These policies must be applicable to both IT and end users, because IT staff with admin rights need to be informed that they might be creating a risk in the same way end users could.

When designing ITAM/SAM processes, the most effective strategy is to look at existing processes to determine if any exist that can be standardized across the organization. These existing processes can be evaluated by their position within the asset lifecycle:

  1. Requisitioning
  2. Receiving
  3. Deployment
  4. Maintenance
  5. Retirement/Disposal

An effective ITAM/SAM program depends heavily upon processes. A program’s success is 80% based on process design, efficiency, and adherence. If employees don’t adhere to the process, it will be difficult to maintain visibility and data accuracy.

Metrics are essential to every ITAM/SAM program in order to track performance and discover opportunities for improvement. Ivanti suggests users beginning their ITAM/SAM program focus on inventory, time, and cost-specific metrics. This will expose the locations of inefficiencies.

At this level, having the correct tools to automate manual processes and integration to other applications will lead to a comprehensive program. Foundationally, there must be a reliable tool that can discover and run an inventory of every asset attached to the corporate network and could potentially include those assets that are cloud based.

In addition to discovery tools, having an ITAM/SAM database that acts as an information hub for financial and contractual data is a key part of enabling automation. The ITAM/SAM database is often integrated with the procurement system first, so purchase order data can be auto-populated into the asset records. Integrations into key suppliers, like software re-sellers, is also important in order to know what assets have been received.

When the data from these three sources are brought together, a company can quickly understand where their deployed and authorized information differs. Alignment with service management can provide visibility into how a vendor is performing against the incident and into problem tickets that are opened and closed.

At this level, costs and risks are visible because they can be forecasted annually. In addition, timeframes are modest and service quality is increasing. The business has confidence in IT and end users feel as if they have the support resources necessary to be effective.

So what level is your organization at? Click below to access Ivanti’s ITAM/SAM Attainment Model to find out.