How Implementing an ITAM/SAM Program Is Like Playing Pokémon GO

IMG_3165Implementing an effective ITAM/SAM program isn’t any more difficult than trying to locate and catch a Snorlax or evolve into a Vileplume in Pokémon GO, though many organizations feel that it is too complex, too difficult and too resource intensive.

Additionally, many organizations experience only one or two software license audits a year, they don’t feel it justifies the cost of an ITAM/SAM tool or building a disciplined program.

  • Investing in an ITAM/SAM tool is similar to working out at a Pokémon gym.

If one of the goals of Pokémon is to own a gym that will lead to an increase in your stash of gold coins, then you need a group of team members with different strengths (e.g., psychic, fire, water) to help you defend it.

Similarly, the more work you do around ITAM/SAM process, policy, and governance, the more effective your program will be. Having a diverse team with strengths in contracts, licensing, capacity and demand management, and data analytics will help your organization easily defend against threats to the IT budget in the form of an audit, asset lifecycle or security.

  • Improve the combat power of your ITAM/SAM team.

Taking over a Pokémon gym by defeating another team isn’t easy if that team has many defenders with high levels of combat power.

To improve the combat power of your ITAM/SAM team, you must ensure that your tools are robust and can help the broader IT team, rather than staying siloed in ITAM/SAM. Integrations into other key data sources are essential in order to reduce the amount of manual data entry necessary to ensure the data is current.

Training your team members provides them with the necessary skills to solve problems. Having the skillset necessary to move from a reactive to a proactive position is essential. Metrics that focus on tactical and strategic problems will identify opportunities for savings. An example of a tactical metric is asset inventory accuracy and a strategic metric is capex vs. opex asset spending.

  • An effective ITAM/SAM program/tool is like owning a Pokémon gym.

Overbuying software licenses is a hedge against an audit, but an effective ITAM/SAM program doesn’t need hedges. It’s akin to “owning” a Pokémon gym and having your fellow team members acting as defenders. Everyone on the team benefits because they get more PokéCoins every 21 hours.

In the ITAM/SAM world, the “defenders” come in many forms, but the most useful ones are accurate data reports about what is being deployed, purchased, and actively used in your environment. And the PokéCoins you accrue are the facts and details needed to respond to an audit request. This frees up time that can be spent on higher-level, strategic tasks that add value to the business.

  • Earning PokéCoins is like saving money on your IT budget.

The PokéCoins earned can be redeemed for other purchases later, just as the savings gained by optimizing deployed and purchased software can benefit the IT budget. These hard-dollar savings from risk and cost avoidance can then be allocated later to new technology investments, thereby benefiting other IT domains or supporting the business that has a constrained budget.

Increasing your ITAM/SAM prestige by strengthening the resilience of your program means you can plan for an audit without wasting time or overestimating your budget.

  • The physical health benefits of catching Pokémon are similar to implementing a healthy ITAM/SAM program.

Similar to the health benefits achieved by walking or running to get a lucky egg to hatch in Pokémon, ITAM/SAM programs help you control application proliferation and manage lifecycles to prevent the build up of technical debt. Usually, the more time that is required to hatch an egg, the more rare and powerful the Pokémon is likely to be.

While monitoring legacy applications and reducing the number of overlapping applications takes time over the long-term, the benefits to your program are also greater.

Standardizing applications, consolidating vendors, reducing maintenance on unused applications, measure vendor performance, and renegotiating contract clauses when the vendor repackages your applications are all opportunities to improve the health of your ITAM/SAM program and evolve to higher levels of maturity. These are not short-term tasks but require investment to achieve the benefits.

Having an ITAM/SAM program isn’t the latest cool bandwagon to jump on, but rather a discipline that enables the business to be more agile and flexible. Evolving your ITAM/SAM program to include IT service management, security, cloud, and IoT, is akin to building up your Pokédex.

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