Get complimentary access to the latest Gartner® SAM & FinOps Research report.


Measuring & Communicating ITAM’s Impact | Women in ITAM 2024

Listen to “Measuring & Communicating ITAM’s Impact | Women in ITAM 2024" on Spreaker.

Host: Sarah Marriott, Anglepoint Director

Speakers: Antonela Agbaje, Software Asset Manager at Sainsbury’s; Dominika Franke, Software Asset Manager at ABB; Kay Twitchell, Deputy Agency Software Manager at NASA

This episode of the ITAM Executive includes content taken from our 2024 Women in ITAM webinar, ‘Measuring & Communicating ITAM’s Impact.

In this episode, Sarah Marriott, Antonella Agbaje, Kay Twitchell, and Dominika Franke discuss various aspects of measuring and communicating the impact of ITAM within organizations. This panel of experts share their insights and experiences in the field.

The episode also delves into the challenges of communicating the value of ITAM, including the need to align ITAM goals with business objectives, prioritize ITAM initiatives amidst competing priorities, and establish ownership for software assets within the organization. They emphasize the significance of building relationships, fostering communication, and celebrating incremental wins to gain momentum and support for ITAM initiatives. Additionally, they discuss the role of women in ITAM, acknowledging how essential it is to have diverse perspectives and skills.

By listening to this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Our panelists’ experiences measuring and communicating the impact of ITAM
  • The importance of ITAM KPIs
  • Strategies for effective communication
  • The importance of having women in ITAM
  • And more

Episode Transcript

Sarah Marriott:

Welcome everyone, and thank you so much for taking the time to join us for Anglepoint’s third annual Women in IT Asset Management webinar. This is all part of International Women’s Day celebrations, which is fantastic. It’s great to see we have people from all over the world.

So welcome. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening from wherever you happen to be. It’s my absolute pleasure to be hosting today, where we will be discussing measuring and communicating ITAM’s impact, which is a very important and interesting topic.

For those who don’t know me, I am Sarah Marriott. I’m a director here at Anglepoint in the EMEA team, supporting our international clients.

Now let us introduce our fantastic panelists for today and get them to tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to work in IT Asset Management. Kay, would you like to go first?

Kay Twitchell:

I would love to. Thank you so much. And thank you for having me here today. My name is Kay Twitchell. I am the Deputy Agency Software Manager at NASA in the US, and I see so many people here from around the world. I have been the deputy for our software license and asset management division of OCIO at NASA for about two years now.

My path to ITAM is unique. I think that’s the case across much of ITAM, right? Nobody grows up and says, “I want to be in ITAM," right? When I actually came to NASA in 2010, prior to that, I got my foot in the door as a secretary. So I came on board and gradually worked my way up. I became a special assistant to the center director, and then I moved over to engineering. And that gave me the opportunity to be more involved in projects and missions and spacecraft, which was really exciting.

But at one point, my director looked at me and said, “I don’t have anyone to manage our IT. So it’s you, right?" And so it was like I don’t understand what that means, but okay. So I jumped in with both feet and ended up taking over all our security plan for the engineering directorate managing IT acquisitions. And then all of that led to actually moving into the CIO organization and doing ITAM for the entire center.

But as time went on, I was able to work and meet and build some relationships. I met the agency software manager. She was baselining her new program. And so that’s where I ended up actually moving into a more agency role and looking at software across all of NASA, not just center aspects.

Sarah Marriott:

That’s amazing, Kay. I could listen to you talk about managing software about space stations all day long. I think that’s incredible. Yeah.

Kay Twitchell:

I do have the uniqueness of how do you manage software on the moon, right?

I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Sarah Marriott:

There’s still time. We can certainly help with that. No, that’s amazing. Dominika, how about you? Do you want to go ahead and introduce yourself?

Dominika Franke:

Sure. Thank you for having me, Sarah. It’s great to meet Kay and Antonella. I’m happy to be here with you. As Kay mentioned and as we discussed before, no one is born in ITAM and neither was I. I basically started in IT support. And then I started doing analysis for problem management, and from analysis and problem management started doing some asset management for my previous employer.

And then I jumped to software asset management. And I have been in that space for eight years now. And my journey is obviously hopping additional steps into that direction, new challenges, new roles, and basically trying to help organizations to shape mature ITAM.

Sarah Marriott:

And what about you, Antonella? How did you come to this crazy world of ITAM?

Antonela Agbaje:

First of all, thank you for the invitation. And I’m really honored to be here with Kay and Dominika. Obviously, tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and it’s great to see so many people of all genders joining this session. So thank you very much from the very beginning for that.

Now, as both Kay and Dominika said, we land in this ITAM world, either male or female because as in the past, I’ve heard people being gas engineers in their previous lives and then being ITAM managers or sound managers. My story is no different. I actually started with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. So very far away, some would say, from the analytical world of ITAM, although I do have to say some of the greatest philosophers have been the greatest mathematicians as well, not that I place myself anywhere near that, but there is a connection between the logical elements.

Actually, it all started with my scholarship during my bachelor’s degree for philosophy in Spain. That’s where I got proficient in Spanish. And after that, I landed a job in HP, in Hewlett Packard. So that’s how my corporate career started. And after that was Oracle in the LMS department, the feared LMS license management services department in Oracle.

I became an auditor first and I got familiarized myself with the licensing aspect and compliance and what a publisher usually looks for when they do their audits or reviews. And from Oracle, I moved to the UK. I worked as a consultant in software asset management. And finally, right now, I’m working for Sainsbury’s, one of the big four supermarket chains in the UK as a software asset manager. So yeah, a bit of a diverse journey as well like everyone, I assume.

Sarah Marriott:

Who would have thought that knowing Spanish meant a career in ITAM? And I’m really glad that you’re all here today because I really love hearing people’s stories about how they got into ITAM.

So thinking about the topic, measuring and communicating ITAM’s impact and tying this also to the original purpose of today’s webinar, which is getting ready for International Women’s Day tomorrow. I think this is really something that everyone can relate to in terms of measuring and communicating the impact that we all have in the workplace every day. One of the easiest ways I find to communicate my impact is by using data and KPIs as an objective way of demonstrating this.

So I’m keen to know, Antonella, if you could have a favorite KPI, what would you say your favorite KPI is and why?

Antonela Agbaje:

So interestingly, right now, we don’t have KPIs necessarily as defined strictly as KPIs in Sainsbury. However, I would say if I were to choose one and this is something that we do report on, I would say the number of active audits at any given time. This is probably the one that has the most impact. This is when your leadership board does listen to you when you present the risks. Also, audit defense is probably the part that I enjoy most from software asset management. So that’s why they’re very much connected one to the other. That’s my forte and that’s my favorite area of ITAM or the defense. So yeah, I would go with the number of active audits.

Sarah Marriott:

How about you, Kay? What’s your favorite KPI?

Kay Twitchell:

I really want to have a good understanding of our software usage. And I really want to have a really good look at our license compliance. So those are the two, I would say those are my favorite. Want to be’s, right? But, and I’m hoping that as we are evolving and growing that we really do get to develop those and be able to use them effectively.

Sarah Marriott:

I think it’s easy to forget just how hard getting trustworthy data is to even be able to report on KPIs. There are so many other ways that we can measure the success, the small wins, or perhaps the pressing challenges. In the case of audits, and Antonella mentioned as well. How about you, Dominika? What’s your favorite KPI?

Dominika Franke:

I wouldn’t say that the number of audits is my favorite, but basically, I’m now heavily involved in process implementation. So we are hoping to have this stream of measurable data, which is good and which is giving us metrics. And I know, Sarah, that we were joking before this panel that my favorite KPI is end-user smiles per hour. And basically, it’s about CSAT scores, right? The customer satisfaction.

And we have customers on many levels, right? Either those are our CIOs or people who are making decisions, strategies, and they need reliable analysis. Or those are our end-users, which need efficient processes in delivering their software products and someone who is taking care of their product lifecycle and everything works efficiently, right? is what we are here for. And I like when it makes a difference for our clients.

Sarah Marriott:

That really is about demonstrating our impact, right? We work with stakeholders from engineers who are using the software or managing a service perhaps one day. And then the next day, we’re working with CIOs or CEOs. So much of our job, yes, part of it is the technical aspect, but the other part is change management, influencing our varied stakeholders. And making them smile is certainly on my list as well, in terms of goals that I have.

When I was thinking about what my favorite KPI is, I really like realized cost avoidance. And this is the value of the risk mitigated by working with various stakeholders. This can easily get into the hundreds of millions of dollars. And while we can point to the objective financial value that vendors could have built in the event of an audit. This is only possible by collaborating with people to change their behavior to do something differently if it’s removing a double-stacked license or changing over from a local agreement to a global agreement, perhaps, or installing a SAM tool agent. And so while it might be a big financial value of cost avoidance, what it really is capturing the result of people’s hard work and the outcomes of the actions taken on for me personally, I really love to see that progress.

So when we think about demonstrating our impact, I find one of the biggest challenges is even explaining what is ITAM, why are we here? What do we do? And trying to justify the time and the investment that’s spent in ITAM because often to save money, which all executives want, you do have to spend some money to get there. But before anyone will do anything, they first need to understand the value that we bring and believe that us in ITAM will benefit them individually. When thinking about some of the conversations that you’ve had in measuring the impact of ITAM, what challenges, if any, have you faced in communicating ITAM’s impact?

Dominika, do you want to go first?

Dominika Franke:

Sure. So first of all, we need to be clear, or I always try to be clear, it’s not always easy, as we all know, why it matters, right? What kind of impact action or inaction has, right? What will happen if we do something about this and what will happen if we won’t, right? So when I’m trying to communicate, this is the message I usually pass, but obviously there are competing business priorities and we need to be really listening to what business is telling us and try to make sure that this is aligned with what is a business needs because in the end, we are serving our clients and this has to be aligned with their business purpose.

Sarah Marriott:

Even trying to get on the priority list can be difficult sometimes or more difficult than we would like it to be. How about you, Antonella? What kind of challenges have you faced in demonstrating the impact of ITAM?

Antonela Agbaje:

I’m not sure it’s actually demonstrating the impact of ITAM, but in the end, it does relate to the impact that we can make. What I found quite challenging is ownership in the sense of who owns a certain like software in the business, who takes responsibility if remediation works needs to be undertaken. Sam in general, or ITAM in general, it’s an advisory function when you talk inside of a business.

So we offer the guidance, we offer advice into optimizing ways of using the software that we’re allowed to use or better remediating any compliance issues. But all this advice is as good as the actions undertaken to make it turn it into reality. So from my perspective, the hardest bit is that ownership bit and not only talking the talk but walking the walk in terms of the actions that need to be undertaken?

Sarah Marriott:

Thank you for sharing that. How about you, Kay? What challenges have you faced?

Kay Twitchell:

So, I have a list. Because we are government, budget is always an issue for us, right? And because it is an advisory-type role, my advice is never going to be worth as much as an astronaut. So there’s that, there’s culture that comes with how we do things at NASA.

And the one thing that we have found that is probably the most important for us is building our relationships, communicate, I called it a year of slam and where if anybody asked me, if anybody wanted to hear from me, it was like I was talking Sam and slam and ITAM, every chance we got and so making sure that everybody was hearing what we do and how we do it and how we can help. And so, it’s those small incremental steps, right?

But that is a challenge. It’s a time challenge because life is not waiting. IBM is not waiting to come back to audit me, right? Oracle is not waiting. And so trying to get that momentum is a challenge and once you’ve got it then having the people and the abilities and the skill sets to maintain it, right? So that’s been a challenge for us as well, right?

And so growing our team, we are a team of five. We are a team of five amazing women. I just want to say that for the international women’s day plug there, which is just amazing to me as well. But so helping people understand how we’re here to help and the ways that we can help and those incremental wins, right? You talk about the smiles. Some days, I’ll tell you, it’s the smallest win, get your biggest celebration, that stakeholder that didn’t want to talk to you for the last six months, right? But today they reached out to you and said, Hey, can you help me with this? That’s a big win. Major celebration, that’s confetti, right? So you take advantage of those moments as well.

Sarah Marriott:

To me, you are just as important as an astronaut. And it’s really incredible that you have an all-woman item team at NASA. That is amazing. And certainly not something that we see every day. And I completely agree with you. Something as simple as data collection can be so hard in convincing people to take the time to run a script or share consumption data with us. And then that one time that someone replies immediately and gives you the information or they say, thank you so much. I really appreciate your help. The number of times I’ve forwarded those small emails to a broader people like, yes. They appreciate our help and they know where to come to when they need it. It’s really important. So given that it is International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’m curious from your perspective, how has being a woman in ITAM influenced your ability to communicate the impact and be successful, if at all?

Kay Twitchell:

That’s an interesting one. I don’t tend to think of it as a woman in ITAM, but it, I do think that there are some things that we inherently do differently. I think the way that we tend to listen is a little bit different, right? And I’m also coming at this from, I work with a lot of engineers, right? And it’s a little bit of a different kind of mindset at times, but I always joke that I can, I’m not fluent in engineer, but I can translate, right?

But I think that, there is a certain energy that just comes from women in a room of the same mindset and this, the same ambitions and the same willingness to give and take and, all having that cohesive thought. And that’s why I just, I, that’s why I’m so excited. And I just love being five women, right? But I think the one thing that we then can go out and do individually is just the, our listening, our hearing, and listening we see it, In a certain in a way, right? And so I think that’s an advantage for us and that’s you know.

As someone is talking to us. We’re hearing ways of we can help how to get things in a better situation for them. And again, this is hard to say from a woman’s perspective because it’s I don’t want to denote that men can’t do this. I just think that women inherently do this naturally. It’s that hearing and nurturing aspect to a solution set for everyone.

Sarah Marriott:

What about you, Antonella? What do you think?

Antonela Agbaje:

I am probably the counterexample to what Kay has mentioned, just to show the variety, a variety among all of us. So I personally don’t think I can boast about very good listening skills and honestly, I’m not saying this in a bad way or a lack of, I think we’re all different and I don’t see that difference coming from being a woman and from being a man.

I think obviously when I started 15 years ago in the industry it was very much a male-dominated industry and still is probably to this day. And we still have many years till we remove ourselves from the unconscious biases that we still live under in any shape or form so I’m not saying that one of us is more prone to biases, but what I see as a bit different in terms of the women’s skill. I think it’s more around the ability to multitask and wear different roles. In item in SAM, in HAM, you do need to wear different hats either from a commercial perspective, either from an analytical view, depending on which side of the item whole spectrum you’re dealing with at any given time. So either discussing with procurement, either discussing with legal team, either discussing with operational, with engineering. So it’s a different, that sort of adjusting to the different audience and being able to multitask and handle different approaches at the same time. Probably that I would say is a bit in the favor of women in general because I have the feeling in our, in all aspects of our life. We need to juggle with various plates and wear various hats, but I don’t think there is that much difference between women and men in this industry.

I have to say that’s my view again. Don’t throw any tomatoes at me. I think we’re all equipped and we all have our, our good or positive or things that we’re better at rather than. So yeah, as I said, I’m probably the counterexample to what Kay has mentioned earlier, and that just shows how different we all are and diverse and unique.

Dominika Franke:

I can just confirm what Antonella mentioned, that we are very diverse. Antonella likes multitasking. I hate it. I can do it, but I don’t love it. I would prefer to focus on one thing, finish it and then start another. Obviously, we never have this comfort to do or very rarely, maybe during holiday seasons. That’s the reason why I actually like working during holiday seasons because then I can make progress on something. It really requires my full focus. If there are any benefits of being a woman in ITAM, I don’t know. I never been anyone else. So it’s hard to tell for me what people, what kind of feedback I received as a person in ITAM in general is that I am caring. I care what I do. And that’s true.

Is this inherently women? I don’t know. Maybe. I’m working with men only right now in my department. But it’s totally fine. I used to have a team made of women before. Now I’m working with men and it is all fine. It’s all dependent on the personal relations. I would say like with every person. We are working with, we need to build some kind of relation. Everybody’s different and it’s I guess hard to apply one measure for everybody and treat everybody the same way it’s  sometimes challenging but that’s what I think.

Sarah Marriott:

Thank you. And I completely agree with you. It’s impossible to know whether it’s being a woman or whether it’s just your personality, that you care about what you do, right? Regardless, that’s really important. And I think in ITAM, where so much of our job is relationship building and influencing, having that ability to show people that you care about their problem and that you’re there to help them is really important. I think we all have that in common, regardless of whether we’re women or men. So thank you for sharing that. And I completely agree with you about multitasking. I hate it, but I also hate single tasking. So I don’t know what that makes me. It’s a conundrum. I’m not sure.

And I think the last thing I’d say, as we think about International Women’s Day tomorrow is just a reflection of how proud I am of the role that women play in ITAM, and not just within our organizations but also within the community. I think ITAM is a really unique industry and it’s full of really passionate, really intelligent, really ambitious people, and not just the women that we have on this panel today, but all the women who have spoken at our webinars over the last three years and all the women who have taken part in the various ITAM events that I’ve been involved in, in the last however many years. I’m just really proud to be a part of such an incredible community. So thank you for joining us today. And thank you for being a part of that community.

 If you’re interested in learning more about Sarah, Antonela, Dominka, and Kay, connect with them on LinkedIn.

Listen in on our latest podcasts by checking out the ITAM Executive.

Dig into more insights from ITAM executives by subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Related Resources

Let’s start a conversation.