As part of our quarterly roundtable series, last week we invited members of the UK ITAM community to come together to discuss a challenge we’re all increasingly facing in this industry—the ability to attract and retain skilled talent within our SAM and ITAM teams.
A quick round of introductions from attendees confirmed our hypothesis—that most people had landed in software asset management by chance either through IT or other more circuitous routes. Some had fine art degrees, some had no degrees. They had backgrounds in everything from the education sector to maritime regulations but one thing was clear, they were all passionate about the work they do now and believe strongly in the essential value ITAM holds for their organizations.
The discussion began with the challenges of definitions within the industry itself. For every organization of every size, the definition and scope of a SAM role is likely to change. A Software Asset Manager role focused upon processes is very different to a Software License Manager that specialises on creating Effective License Positions for the core publishers. The question is whether the industry recognizes these distinctions or lumps them all together?
What makes a successful SAM professional? And how do we keep them when we find them? These are just some of the questions we discussed and a few of the answers we found:
Focus on skills and experience, not qualifications
Given these many ITAM roles and their shifting nature, the group suggested that it was more important to focus on the skills and experience of an applicant than the degree or qualification they brought to the table. This might help broaden the search process and find successful candidates in unlikely places.
Celebrate the impact of ITAM in the organization
Rebranding the perception of ITAM emerged as a crucial consideration. Despite its ‘unsexy’ reputation, ITAM serves as the linchpin in cost optimization, risk mitigation, and alignment of technological initiatives with overarching business objectives. It’s not merely a ledger of hardware and software but a strategic playbook that orchestrates technology to drive business success. Elevating the strategic value of ITAM requires proactive efforts to position it as a central pillar rather than an auxiliary function. The ability to drive cost efficiencies, provide data led intelligence, and manage risks can significantly enhance its perceived worth and attractiveness to potential talent.
There are many reasons as ITAM professionals that we need to sell the value of our function (support from C-suite!) but one of them is to build pride and a sense of value for the employees who work there. By encouraging higher-ups in the business to recognize the money saved and risk averted by ITAM, newcomers will feel more motivated in their work.
Make ITAM a hotspot for networking
ITAM’s strategic central positioning is also a great selling point for professionals just starting their ITAM career who are both eager to learn and be exposed to many parts of the business. Through ITAM, they can make connections with multiple functional areas and position themselves to transition more easily into new roles.
Shape industry perception
The conversation extended to industry recognition. By participating in relevant events and engagements, organizations can bolster ITAM’s industry stature. Thought leadership not only positions the individual as a beacon of knowledge but also galvanises interest in ITAM as a formidable career trajectory.
Run an internship program
A common observation from the group was that the face of ITAM is increasingly looking older. One way to bring younger professionals in who are eager to learn and grow is through an internship or graduate program. We have run a successful one here at Anglepoint for a number of years. Most have no experience of software asset management or IT asset management but given trust and a sense of responsibility through projects that will require them to develop their skills, many choose to stay and continue their learning as they begin their ITAM career.
Nurture career progression
The roundtable delved into the necessity of structured career pathways within the ITAM domain. Attendees underscored the significance of transparent progression routes, which not only retain talent but also provide motivation for upward mobility. We need to invest in nurturing the growth of ITAM professionals, aligning individual aspirations with the company’s strategic goals – including sponsoring trainings and extending the remit of their responsibilities.
In conclusion, finding and retaining top talent for ITAM won’t be easy. This is an ever-evolving field and great ITAM professionals must also be perpetual learners. They are both keepers of the present and heralds of the future as they adapt to emerging technologies and business requirements while juggling the responsibilities of managing existing assets.
For more on the ITAM talent crisis and what we can do about it, check out our podcast episode, Addressing the ITAM Talent Crisis and our related article, Plugging The ITAM Skills Gap: A New Generation.
Anglepoint’s London roundtables are designed as a space for community and connection within the industry encouraging knowledge sharing among ITAM professionals to network and learn from one another. Each quarter, we bring in an external expert to speak on a pressing topic for ITAM professionals, followed by a Q&A and a chance to eat, drink, and meet with peers.