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The ITAM Evolution: ITAM Trends For The Next 5 Years

The trends of ITAM for the next five years from Anglepoint President, Ron Brill

Change is in the air. Good change that is if ITAM wants to stay relevant, continue to deliver business value and become a strategic business partner. Here I summarize where I see ITAM heading in the next 5+ years.

This list is based on the information and data I’ve gathered from the clients I speak with (who are based around the world), what I’m hearing from analyst firms and at industry events, and the work I do with the ITAM Standards Committee and the FinOps Foundation’s FinOps + ITAM group.

I’ve ranked these in order of impact they will have on the scope of ITAM within the long term. This was not a scientific exercise but more directional.

1. FinOps

FinOps will have the most impact on ITAM, and this is just starting to be felt by organisations. The trend is for this to get big. If we ignore this, we risk not remaining relevant to the business. FinOps is complex. ITAM and FinOps need to collaborate.

They share objectives, principles and domains, and address each other’s blind spots – ITAM looks at things that FinOps doesn’t and vice versa. To effectively collaborate with FinOps, ITAM needs to adapt. For example, we’re used to doing annual or quarterly license reconciliation. This won’t cut it with FinOps. Reporting needs to be done in real time, which increases the need for automation.

2. Technology Business Management (TBM)

Developed by the TBM Council, this is one specific methodology for implementing IT financial management (ITFM). TBM helps organisations translate technology investments into business value. It helps IT to run IT like a business and with the business. It allows a conversation to happen between finance, IT and the business using a common language that everyone involved understands.

This methodology allows you to have what the TBM Council calls the four value conversations – the four key questions every CIO needs to ask themselves:

  • Are we maximizing our innovation dollars?
  • Are we improving the speed at which our business responds?
  • Are we spending our resources to get the biggest return possible?
  • Are we delivering the right performance for the best possible price?

3. Sustainability

This is a major trend that will hit all of us during the next few years in a big way. There are a lot of drivers for this: regulators, investors, consumers, employees. Sustainability in ITAM is on the CIO’s agenda.

The general term you may have heard is ESG (environmental, social, governance). Sustainability is about many things, but one of them that’s getting a lot of attention is Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG). Enterprise IT GHG footprints vary from organisation to organisation. Factors that affect this, other than size of environment and types of IT assets, include: location, asset utilization, external cloud adoption, etc.

IT assets themselves and their lifecycle generate carbon emissions. As the function that manages the lifecycle of IT asset, ITAM will play a key role in driving initiatives related to sustainability and reducing GHG emissions in IT.

4. Composable Business (citizens development)

This used to be considered a bad thing (think Shadow IT), but now, it’s considered mainstream and a best practice. You want your business units to use their tech savviness to drive their own IT innovation. The pendulum has shifted. Composable Business helps with agility, responding to the market, improving resiliency and innovation, and much more.

If a business unit needs something, it needs it now –it can no longer wait for central IT. We’re moving from a ‘command and control’ mode to a distributed governance model where the role of ITAM is to provide tools and templates, reports, guidance and to enable business units to be effective. This is a mind shift for ITAM. If you make this transition, you’ll continue to be effective and relevant.

5. Information Security

You cannot secure what you don’t know you have. You cannot do cybersecurity if you don’t have effective IT asset management. ITAM can provide a complete, accurate and timely hardware, software, and cloud inventory and reduce the number and variety of assets and unauthorized assets. ITAM can also help with hardware disposition (when an asset reaches its end of life) by creating and managing an IT Asset Disposition program and working with certified partners for the safe and secure disposition of assets. As a reference point, during 2022, Morgan Stanley was fined $35 million by the SEC for selling a server that contained customer data on its hard drive. These situations are happening and happening to well-governed companies.

These are the five biggest trends impacting ITAM. There are others, including disruptive technologies (blockchain, machine learning, and article intelligence), open source, and operational technology.

Overall, there is a huge opportunity for ITAM to stay relevant and to continue to deliver business value as the business environment continue to change at an increasing pace. But, to do so, ITAM must step up, stay on topic of these trends, collaborate with different functions that touch on these areas and start creating deliverables to showcase the value it can bring.

Stay relevant. Don’t get left behind.

Access Ron’s on-demand webinar that covers these 5 topics in more detail.

This article first appeared in the April 2023 issue of ITAM Insights, the ITAM Forum membership magazine:

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