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Giving ITAM a Voice: 2023 Women in ITAM Webinar

2023 Women in ITAM webinar:Giving ITAM a Voice


IT Asset Management programs often face the challenge of being heard and sometimes, being taken seriously. This could be due to a lack of understanding, lack of resources, siloes with the organization, or even an open resistance to change.

Our Women in ITAM webinar panel is making sure that ITAM has a voice.

Join us as we discuss:

  • The challenges of making sure the ITAM program is heard
  • Advice & actionable tips to overcome those challenges
  • How women in tech face similar challenges and what we all can do to contribute to the solution
  • And more

This webinar benefits everyone – we hope you enjoy!

Meet the Panelists

Amanda Jacob Headshot

Amanda Jacob
VP Office of the CIO, Brunswick

Lesley Spencer Ford Women in ITAM

Lesley Spencer-Ford
Head of IT Asset Management, Capita

Kim Ryan headshot

Kimberly Ryan
IT Director, Service Management, Vanguard

Zarra Leonte Anglepoint headshot

Zarra Leonte
Senior Director, Anglepoint

Webinar Transcript

Zarra Leonte:

Hi everyone, and thank you so much for joining today. Really appreciate you taking the time for what is our now second annual Women in ITAM webinar, which I have a pleasure of hosting today.

Just to second, what Braden said, please do use the chat. I’m gonna do my best to monitor that and get you as included as possible. For those that don’t know me, I’m Zara Leonte. I’m a senior director in the service delivery department at Angle Point, and I’m proud to be part of a team of individuals, which is made up of 60 plus software licensing and ITAM.

Prior to this my career really started in software auditing. That was for one of the enterprise software publishers in the USA. And I did this for a very long time until I truly understood that I would instead actually be able to go out and assist and help companies to become more proactive with managing their IT assets.

And that really is what I was keen to do to come away from the auditing side and go more into, to the proactive side of item. And so what I did was I joined the Sam team at a company, an insurance company here in the UK called Liverpool Victoria. I was working together there with Leslie, one of our panelists today who you’ll get to know in just a bit.

And that’s where I really got stuck into software asset management as it were at the time. So then I from there decided that I would actually go into the professional services, and that’s when I joined Anglepoint and I’ve been there ever since. So that’s me. And without further ado let’s go ahead and get to know some of our panelists for today.

Kim, would you like to go next with your intro?

Kim Ryan:

Sure, happy to. Thank you. So my name is Kim Ryan. I work for Vanguard and I’ve been at Vanguard for almost 19 years at this point and have spent the last 10 years in it. So I actually I’m a finance person at heart. I started as a financial consultant at a company prior to Vanguard and then moved over to Vanguard as a financial analyst.

And about 10 years ago found my way into IT operations. And I currently lead an organization that’s responsible for what I like to call more business management and governance functions. So I have responsibility for all of the strategic planning and financial management for our operations group.

I also have responsibility for software asset management, hardware asset management. We use ServiceNow as our platform. So I also have the development team for. ServiceNow that’s underneath of me. We met up with Anglepoint a couple years ago when we faced a pretty I’ll say nasty software audit. That kind of came outta nowhere and it really brought to light that we needed a dedicated software asset management function. Did some research and quickly came upon Anglepoint and have been here ever since. So, it’s been great.

I’m also a mother of three, so definitely keep myself busy. I have a high schooler and I have a preschooler. So, we’re, we range lots of span across lots of ages, so keep myself busy, but happy to be here and thanks for including me.

Zarra Leonte:

Thanks so much. Thanks for sharing that. Yes, certainly not bored ever, I would imagine there, Kim, right?

Thanks again, Amanda. Would you like to go next?

Amanda Ryan:

Sure. Hi, I’m Amanda Jacob. I work at Brunswick. I’ve actually been here for about five and a half months. I came from somewhere else in the industry or out in it which I’ll talk about. So, I’ve actually been in it for 20 plus years.

I started as a developer, COBOL, for those of you who know what COBOL is these days.

And I’ve helped many different functional and leadership roles throughout my career. I’ve worked in many different industries, manufacturing financial services, insurance sales for B2B aspects, and then also back to manufacturing. I have like I said, been in a lot of different areas and I got into ITAM when a leader was set to retire and she needed to find a replacement and I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn another area of it.

And then I helped to mature that organization and I really love that ITAM interfaces with almost every area of it as well as the business. And so, it’s one of those functions that allows someone to grow knowledge and understanding in so many different aspects of it. And ITAM has gotten me where I am today which is the vice president of the Office of the CIO and enterprise functions. And so, my area here at Brunswick covers not only ITAM from a SAM and HAM perspective but vendor management organization for IT, IT finance the project management organization. And then we also partner with our enterprise functional areas such as HR, finance, legal, et cetera with my team of BRMs and BAs.

Zarra Leonte:

Great. Thank you so much. And I agree ITAM does touch every part of IT and the business and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today. So, we’ll get into that a bit. Can’t wait. Leslie, last but not least.

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

Sure. Hi everyone. Thank you for allowing me to be here today.

So, I’m Leslie Spencer Ford. I am head of IT asset management for Capita. I have only been here six months. So, I am mainly responsible I’m actually responsible for all of asset management hardware and software across of all of Capita and a number of clients. So, we also have a kind of MSP kind of angle to it as well where we off offer consultancy for a number of capital clients.

Prior to that I was at an organization called the aa, which is a breakdown company for those that aren’t based in the UK. I wasn’t in breakdown. I was working as the head of partner management and there I was responsible for supply management, procurement, finance, hardware asset management, software asset management, and cloud consumption management.

So, I did that for about two and a half years. I did really enjoy it. The remit was extremely broad, as I’m sure you can imagine with all of those things to look after. And that’s why I ended up. Kind of channel in inter capita to be head of asset management. Cause I know it’s a huge organization.

It was going to take a lot of effort and a lot of work to get this to absolutely where it needed to be. I like a challenge and hence why I dropped the other kind of elements that I was looking after and came here. But prior to those things, I’ve worked in software asset management, I’ve done a lot of desktop support.

I did first- and second-line support on the service desk. So yeah, I’ve worked in IT for 15 years, but I think ultimately ITAM is what I do really enjoy. And I think while we’ve all touched on it here, really, that it does touch so many areas of the business and it’s really getting all of those different business areas to buy into what you’re trying to do is something that I also really enjoy.

So yeah,

Zarra Leonte:

Thank you Leslie. We are going to go through how exactly to get that message across. So in in thinking about today’s theme for the webinar, giving ITAM a voice, what does that really mean? In having a think about it in, in prep for today, it’s obviously a challenge that, that we face everyone in ITAM.

It’s not uncommon at all. How do we get that message across and how do we give it a voice? But indeed to tie it back to the reason for today’s webinar, International Women’s Day coming up tomorrow I do believe that this is one of the things that many women will relate to just in general in the workplace, giving ourselves a voice and insisting that it be.

How to do that, how to stay with it, and how to, keep the momentum going. Interestingly actually Flexera recently released their state of ITAM report and that states that 47% of the respondents said that there was a lack of engagement with internal business partners. And that was their biggest challenge.

And 39% said that not being seen as a strategic initiative in the organization that it’s not important enough, was also a challenge of theirs. Let’s get on to answering a few questions around exactly that. How do we give ITAM a voice? And of course, just to reiterate, if you have any input or questions, please do let them know.

Let us know in the chat and we’ll try and include you in that. But Leslie, why don’t you get us started for today, if that’s okay. When it does come to these challenges the C word that we’ve all been talking about giving item a voice, what are some of those specific challenges that you have faced in your career?

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

Yeah, sure. So working for the organizations that I have done, I think it’s apparent that there is a kind of lack of understanding of what ITAM truly is. I think people do seem to have a view that it’s just about counting things and that be it, and so actually getting people to buy in and to understand like the real, exactly what ITAM can offer.

Is an absolute challenge. I think the lack of sponsorship as well, I must say over the course of the last few years I’ve seen a change in sponsorship from exec level when it comes to ITAM. It’s not to say that happens anywhere by any stretch, but I think people ha still do and have done in the past, seen it very much as a kind of tick box exercise.

So, they make the initial investment, they say, yes, we absolutely need an ITAM function. And it only really becomes, as soon as you’re in the door and you built the team and whatever, it only really has that proper voice in the event of something when you are having to be extremely reactive, i.e. an audit, and then everybody is all over it.

The, SLT members, exec and everybody, they want regular updates from you. And then when that’s done, it falls by the wayside again. And it’s about continuing to promote item for me and continuing to have that voice. Continue speaking up, continue talking about your plan. What you want to do and how that benefits to people.

And as again, just to reiterate what we said, it does touch so many areas of the business and I think you have to get that buy-in with other people. You’ve got to get your stakeholder a map and your network there and build those relationships that people know that this isn’t just a ITAM function doing ITAM to the business.

It is for the benefit of the business and everything that they will get from it. So yeah, that’s where I’ve been with it. Many things have overcome, but there’s a, I’ve still going to be challenges along the way.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right when you say reiterating what the benefits are of itam, that can be a huge challenge because when it comes to audits, like you say, we’re absolutely of interest in ITAM, but that may die down.

So keen to hear actually from Amanda, if you wouldn’t mind. Do you have similar challenges or have you faced anything else that’s been a difficulty?

Amanda Ryan:

I completely agree with Leslie. One of the hardest things to get across to everybody is what ITAM is and what it does. And I really think utilizing organizational change management helps.

People understand what ITAM is and does and how it can help the organization. And whether that’s cost savings, risk avoidance, running more efficiently or having a better employee experience, and they think you can tailor that message to your audience. If you think about talking to HR and the importance of ITAM there, they might look at it more from the lens of the employee experience and how do you integrate ITAM in the employee experience?

Is it that we have an easier way for people to request software and hardware and, how do we make that easier and better and maybe even cheaper at the same time? And using that, that change management and communicating appropriately, I think has really helped us become a little bit more of a strategic partner in some areas.

Zarra Leonte:

That’s really good insight using change management and having it part of, a business process anyway, that I think will make a big difference. Kim, do you have anything to add on this one?

Kim Ryan:

So, I won’t repeat because I think we all probably face similar challenges, but I thought the one thing that I was reflecting back on with the pandemic that we all faced was it highlighted the value of specifically hardware asset management for us.

So, I think that it got some attention because it was like how do we know where everybody is and how do I know where devices are and how do we know if crew are leaving? So, we call our employees crew. But how do you know if we’re getting the right devices back? And I said, I got it. It’s all documented.

I know exactly who has what. So, you, you have to use those moments. I think that really can benefit this program. So, I think, funding has always been a challenge. We didn’t really talk through that. I know just resources and getting the team stood up and proving, to your point, just constantly proving the benefits of this program.

But I think it’s using those moments where you can really shine and, really show that the program is worth something. It goes a long way. I think a lot of companies did face those challenges of just, we got to, we had to get everybody to work from home pretty quickly.

And some companies, weren’t set up to do that. So I think that was, it was a big win in retrospect.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah, absolutely. I think two real points to note there that you mentioned, Kim, were, we all know it’s an event driven buy-in that we receive, right? So whether that be an audit or a pandemic, either way something bad has to happen and then everyone is, is, or is, is about ITAM, right?

And then secondly, on the funding you have to spend money to save money is essentially what we’re saying. But getting the message across about that being a good investment for your company is I think the key there. So back to what Leslie and Amanda said about, going through standard processes, approved processes for the introduction of itam and as well, reiterating your plan, shouting loud about that plan and what the benefit of that is.

So to touch on something that, that we’ve really already said is, That many people think that ITAM is just all about compliance. Leslie mentioned, we, we do way more than counting and that can make it hard to be heard for other initiatives. So in thinking about how, how do we how do we help the business, how do we help our stakeholders actually see that big picture?

I think that often the word compliance can trigger actually negative thoughts instead of positive because it’s seen as something being restrictive, right? That, that the license police or we’re taking things away from people. But I think the message is the exact opposite. That we’re all about enablement in it a m and that’s possible if you have a well-managed system.

Connect as an information service to the rest of the business. And we, we absolutely don’t just count licenses. We solve business problems and we do that with the right people, process and technology in place. Keen to hear from you actually on how your company, see the big picture and your stakeholders.

Amanda, do you want to go ahead with that one?

Amanda Jacob:

Sure. So for me, the compliance aspect is the foundation, right? That’s where we start and we need to show that we do that well as a team. And then we can start showing either cost savings or other aspects that can come into play. And then we can just keep adding that on top of the compliance, right?

To show here’s another focus where ITAM can help. And sometimes they’re intertwined. And so that’s okay, right? Maybe we’re saving money while we’re having a better employee experience at the same time. But I think having those small wins can bring a following and great and gain that critical mass that you need to move forward and show.

This is how ITAM can help the business. It can help IT, it can help us move forward in our strategic goals. And so my philosophy is once you get the basics, then you can move on to the bigger picture. And you can do that incrementally.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah. Fully agree on being strategic. We’re not here just to react to events like we’ve already said.

Actually we should be part of the business strategy. So yes, fully agree with that Leslie, do you have anything to add?

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

Yeah, sure. No, I completely agree and I think one of the things for me is around, education is just promotion of yourself and your team and getting more involved maybe as exactly to the point as you mature as a function.

Getting more involved with the likes of procurement and finance strategy and transformation is absolutely key. As we’ve all mentioned, but I think with the educational piece from ITAM and us saying, compliance absolutely is key to it, but I think it’s also about streamlining companies assets where possible.

And it’s the educational piece being about how to work with technical teams to scale back on, say the amount of assets that they do have out there. So different assets, which ultimately, excuse me, ultimately will bring benefit to support teams. Not having to support multiple different, hardware assets that we’ve got out there.

Also reducing the amount of software and having that proper technology roadmap of technology that we want to use, which ultimately goes well for the application support teams because there’s no need for them to continue supporting multiple applications that all do one of the same thing. So that’s how, that’s my view.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah, streamlining, I think is a really clever word to use, that it’s not restrictive, it’s streamlined, but it’s enablement through technology. So that’s where the difference is in terms of being seen negatively or actually positively that we are there to help the business. Thank you. Kim, any experiences from your side on helping painting that, that bigger picture there?

Kim Ryan:

Yeah. I think one thing that I’ve tried to do since taking over both hardware and software asset management, is really looking at the groups as an operations function as well as a governance function. And I think you have two different key audiences when you think about it in those different aspects.

So from an operations standpoint, where we have, I have a team that’s in a warehouse, right? Receiving devices, they’re tagging ’em, they’re shipping ’em, and there’s a process behind that and there’s an operations and you’re running a business and there’s key stakeholders in that process that you have to help identify the, that big picture because it’s got to work end to end.

And then I think you have a different group of folks that you’re working with in, whether it’s your supplier management organization, it’s your legal, where the governance aspect of how can you really make a difference for the organization comes into play. And you, we can stop the, I think if you. , if you have the right audiences for those right messages, that idea of it being a negative message goes away because you’re talking to the right people when you’re saying, Hey, like it’s our fiscal plan, and we’re going into budgeting process.

The software asset management team is a key input into our renewal strategy, into, what we’re putting into the budget for next year. And those are the right people, right? And they love to hear that kind of topics. And they wanna know how we can streamline assets and we can reduce cost and all of those things.

But if you’re talking to the operations folks about some of what you’re finding in the governance area, that’s where you’re, you’ll start to get mixed message. So I, my, I think just from what I’ve seen over the last couple years, really splitting the groups into two is very beneficial.

We’ve created more of a centralized governance on mos processes beyond the hardware and software asset management world where the governance and the policy and that stands alone and it’s separate from the operations teams. And it really gives you that voice that you need to have in the governance space while still being able to run the business in, in the operations side.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah. So really it’s about, from your perspective, adapting the message to the audience, right? Yeah, yeah. And agree a harmony between process technology and people, right? And having that harmony over the governance and the technology side is key because with, the, without it, it’s off balance.

And the, the message won’t be heard. So thank you for your inputs there. I want to just for a minute, remove us from ITAM specifically and talk a little bit. More about women specifically in the tech world. Do you feel that women might have those same challenges when it comes to being heard?

Not just about ITAM, but in general in the workplace and getting their agenda on the table? Leslie, how do you feel about that? Have you got had any experiences in that?

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

Yeah, absolutely. I have and I think. You face into things, especially being in IT where people, hone in on a technology that they are working with, and then they think that they know everything about it.

And so then trying to bring in just a view separately, probably, shouldn’t said that, but bring in a view separately as to this is itam, this is what we’re trying to do here. And it’s whole I, not me personally, the person that you can be engaging with sometimes is I know better because I’m actual technical.

And it’s no, so are we. And it’s overcoming that. And I think the only way to really overcome that is to be assertive, be very factual in what you are saying. Try and opinions and everything out of it and say, use the facts that you have to support your case. And I also think, building relationships and finding that like common ground with someone is absolutely.

Fundamental, but I think as a woman in, in the workplace, in technology, you do have to be assertive. You have to, stand your ground. You need to have your voice, and you need to be, confident in your approach and what you are trying to achieve. We are SMEs in this field and we know what we’re talking about, and it’s ensuring that people do understand that people can have an opinion.

It’s not to say that they’re right and us being confident enough to stand up and say no, where we’re going with this is correct. I think that’s, exactly where we need to be.

Zarra Leonte:

I agree with you. I think being a woman does not make a difference when you’re making data driven decisions to go back to, to, to you using facts, right?

And how you’re perceived as a woman might change with within your company, who, depending on who your audience is and who you’re trying to get the message across to. But at the end of the day, As you say, be confident be assertive, and know that your facts are right. That, that is, is a really good tip.

Thank you. Amanda, do you have any other perspectives on this?

Amanda Jacob:

Yep. So being in it for over 20 years, we, I, I’m sure we all have our stories, right? Yeah. About challenges that we’ve faced or interesting things that have happened to us being women in IT.

But I’ve been lucky enough in my career to work in places that have really supported women in leadership positions.

And so that’s one of the best things that I think we can do is support each other. Being in business, being in IT and helping each other elevate ourselves up and using that to help get us where we need to be in front of the right people. And, being able to have those conversations that we need to have to be at the table.

And I think that as it relates to ITAM everybody goes to ITAM when we’re in an audit, right? And we’re the ones who are going to confidently take that on and make sure that we do the right thing for our business. And ITAM needs to have that confidence at all time, and be able to say, this is what we do.

And I really like what Leslie said about using data to do that. I think that helps take the emotion out of it, which then takes some of that stigma of being a woman in it out of it as well.

Zarra Leonte:

Absolutely. Yeah. I fully agree with that. Kim, do you have anything to add?

Kim Ryan:

So I, I mentioned during my introduction, so I spent the first nine years at Vanguard outside of it.

So I worked in finance and other business units. And I vividly remember sitting in one of my first IT meetings looking around and realizing that there was 25 men in the room. And I was like the only female in this meeting. And it was the first time in my career that I’ve ever seen anything like that.

And I was like, I was not an IT person coming to it. Like it was, all right, I’m gonna do this little business process project for, 18 months and leave. And I was like, oh my gosh. I just I was totally caught off guard by it. Had never experienced anything like it, and it definitely woke me up a little bit that said, okay this is gonna be a little bit different.

And not that I wasn’t ready for it, but it was just, it was a very shocking revelation, I guess is the way to describe it. So I think there is a difference, and I think, everybody’s story is different. I totally agree with Amanda. Vanguard does a ton to support women in leadership. But the realities are, is that women are underrepresented in it.

And we do have to support each other. And I think we, we work a little bit harder. I describe a lot of us in operations, especially, with the 24 by hour type environment there’s a, it takes a special person to be in IT, and I think it takes a special, even more special person to wanna work in ITAM.

And because not only is it about, you, the process and the, and it’s the IT side of it. You have to have the relationships and you have to have relationships with your supplier organizations, with your finance. And it’s hard for, I think a lot of us to have our arms in all of those different worlds and pull ’em all together in a way that’s really gonna move it forward.

And that’s what success is. It’s not, it’s not, Your supplier organization’s problem on, the renewals. It’s not just, it’s issue on over consuming that product. It’s all of us together in a lot of ways. The companies are built, there’s so many silos that you’re breaking down in order to make that successful.

So from a, from being a woman and trying to do that, I think, you just it’s a lot of what, Leslie and Amanda said, you’re confident you use data. I think the one word I always describe is you have grit. And that’s what it really takes to survive in this type of world. And I don’t think that, my personal pan grit is who you are, right?

And it’s something inside of you. It’s, you were the scrappy kid on, on the sports team when you were younger because that’s what you were made of. And I feel like that’s a lot of us in this industry right now to make sure that the voice is heard. So, That’s my perspective, just as a non IT person joining it.

I say I can’t say that much longer since I’ve been in it for 10 years. I think I’m officially an IT woman.

Zarra Leonte:

Thank you. Welcome. It’s good to have another woman with us.

Thank you for your perspective. That was really interesting from someone that, that hasn’t been in it their whole career.

And I fully agree with what all of you have said with regards to supporting one another. That’s why we’re all here today, aren’t we? And we’ve come so far. So I’m very happy that you’ve been able to come and share your thoughts with everyone. I promise you that it’s very valuable for everyone that does watch the webinar and for everyone joining us today live.

I think that in terms of you are all very experienced in this field. I have been lucky enough to work within. Sam teams and throughout my whole career actually, to have a lot of women on my team and around me. And I think that’s what’s made the difference. It’s made me want to go on right and want to stay in this industry longer.

And I do think that diversity just plays a massive role. It can’t, you we can’t be successful without it. So have you actually seen a change within the last decade decade or so that you have been in the industry? Kim?

Kim Ryan:

Yeah, I would, it’s night and day, right? I think I even just within our own IT organization and then when you start to reach out to some of our partners there’s more and more women at the table. And I think, the idea that you need so many different skill sets to make this successful is exactly what you talked about.

You need that diversity of thought at the table. You need different perspectives to make all of the pieces come together. Our CM team here within Vanguard Plus, we obviously have an extended team at Anglepoint. It’s, we’re well represented and we all bring the right strengths to the table and it’s just, it’s phenomenal to see take place.

I agree. I think, and then it’ll be interesting to see where we are 10 years from today and it’ll be, we’ll be even better off. And it’s, I think it’s because of events like this hopefully people reach out and, we can support and help the, help others get involved and move their career along as they wanna see fit.

Zarra Leonte:

Exactly. I think to sum up. Just sum of the tips here. Relationship building having support and be factual, right? The facts don’t lie. So therefore relying on those to give you that confidence to really speak up, make sure that you’re being heard, is really the message from everyone today.

Thank you. I have seen that we’ve had some questions come through from the Q&A, so I’ll switch to those and hopefully we can get some people that are online live with us today. We can have your perspective on their specific questions. So what do we have here?

This is actually a really good one. Sometimes ITAM encounters resistance due to valid constraints, but other times it’s just because people are unwilling to cooperate. How can I handle that specific instance? Amanda, would you want to give your insights on that? Someone that simply doesn’t wanna listen?

What can we do?

Amanda Jacob:

So this is, this kind goes back to what I said before about building on our successes and showing that we are a partner in the business of IT, right? So IT is its own business and ITAM is one of those functions that really helps IT to move forward. So it’s building on those successes that we’ve had in the past and using baby steps, unfortunately with some of these folks to help show them our value and what we bring to the table and how we can maybe move their business forward.

And I think I mentioned earlier, you can tailor your communications to those folks depending on the department, what’s important to them. So knowing your audience is also very important here to say, this is the message that I need to bring to you because this is what you find important.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah, that’s a fantastic tip. I think that’s, that, that will really help. We’ve had another one here similar to what we have discussed, but just to touch on it specifically for the person that’s asked this, any tips on we spoke about education. Leslie you put a focus on that.

There’s a question around education and educating the organization on why ITAM is important. How can we help them get that message?

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

Sure. Yeah, so I think using real life examples, whether that be from what we know within the market and we know just from our kind of, our network that we have formed real life examples that we can play back to them.

Or actually examples that have happened that, back to the original point where I made, where it’s very reactive sometimes where you get that kind of sponsorship from people because you are in the midst of an order and they are worried about, the outcome of it. It’s re reiterating what happened, when, however long back again, to bring it back to the forefront.

I also think doing, finding gaps in what you do today and highlighting them and presenting the benefits and how you’re going to go about addressing it to support the more broader objectives across the business. We’ve touched on it so many times now and it’s clearly, absolutely evident of how many, how.

Many areas ITAM like touches across an organization. However, if you play it back to the broader objective of the organization, because you’ll always find a way to do that, it is fundamental asset management, I think you can then highlight people exactly on why ITAM is so important. It’s going to contribute to the wider business strategy.

Zarra Leonte:

Exactly. And I think Kim, actually on this one specifically, you yourself have been educated on ITAM, right? When you joined, when you came into to this part of IT 10 years ago now, what would your tips be? You’ve been through this learning curve. You’ve been convinced that it’s important because you stuck around for that long.

So what would your tips be on educating the organization?

Kim Ryan:

I think you, you have to make it part of the every day. It can’t just be this standalone thing off to the side where, once a month we’re talking ITAM, it needs to be built into the every day. And, one of my big roles when I first came was all around, supporting the IT finance team.

And can’t get a good sense of what your users are consuming from you if you don’t know what they’re using. So it, it becomes this foundational. Process and this foundational function that you need to enable so many processes that you wanna get to. And it’s taken, I’ll be quite honest, it’s taken probably a good 10 years for us to get there.

But now we’re in this position even with things like show backs and chargebacks, we’re so much more defendable because we have all of that data and we have all that process built in. So the education to me is make it part of everything you do, right? We talk about security vulnerabilities, we talk about audit items, we’re talking about software compliance.

We’re talking about, assets that don’t have an owner. You just, you make it part of the everyday and you teach them as you go. And you see those values. And I think when there’s things you can’t accomplish, like a showback or something along those lines, because you don’t have this data, you say if we invest in ITAM, we can get there.

And that’s what a lot of your executives are after is, right. Giving money back is always a good thing. So how are we gonna give money back? And you can make those cases. So I’ve seen it just from a, I think from a pure finance perspective that there was things I wanted to do that I couldn’t do because we didn’t have these processes in place.

But it’s investment. It takes time. There’s, it’s, it is a long journey. But just make it part of your every day. That’s what I would, that would be my advice.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah. Yeah. Awesome advice there. I think the best investments take time to, to return. We’ve had some questions through that relate to your careers more broadly.

Not specifically to, to ITAM. I’m giving ITAM a voice, but indeed to, to your individual careers. I’d like to spend some time going through those, so we’d love to hear from you. We’ve had a question come through here. With where you are at today in your ITAM career, what is the best move that you have made to get there?

Amanda, would you mind going first talk, talk us through any significant moves that you’ve made that were really worth it for you in your career.

Amanda Jacob:

So for me, it’s always been the lateral move. And so being open and willing to go lateral and try something different that maybe is a little bit outside of your comfort zone or your current skills.

And so being able to, get into IT, finance, if that’s not your background. And so I’ve always found, doing the lateral. Not always the most exciting things to do and it, you sometimes people think that doesn’t help your career, but I’ve found that moving around laterally quite a bit has helped build up my skillset a lot.

And I’ve gotten that IT finance experience, I’ve gotten that IT procurement experience vendor management, it a m project management developer. And to me, moving around and trying those different areas and getting a good grasp and understanding of them has helped me move up in my career.

Zarra Leonte:

That’s a fantastic piece of advice. Thank you. Moving laterally can actually help you move up in your career, so that’s definitely a takeaway for today. Leslie how about you? What’s the significant moves.

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

It’s funny because Amanda and I seem to have a very similar career background, and I would say exactly that.

My role before now being head of Asset Management at Capital was head of partner management, where I had all of those things, procurement, finance, and one of the things that I really like. One of the challenges that I really faced is when I first took over that team, there was no resource within that area.

So it was building that entire function and obviously things go on even though resource isn’t there. So I had to learn, I had to learn about finance, I had to learn about, managing suppliers and all of those things whilst looking after like procurement and asset management, still doing all those things.

I think one of the things be, at the time, I must admit, I was like, oh my goodness, what have I done? This is a huge piece of work here that I need to overcome, but it has made me so resilient. So resilient. The amount of things that I’ve learnt, and I’ll be really honest, at some points I thought, I can’t do this.

It’s too much. But I persevered. I believed in myself. I kept pushing and I succeeded. And then I left when I felt like I’ve done enough. It’s time to move on now and go and accept a new challenge somewhere else. So I think, yeah, for me, I just find it funny that me and Amanda.

Pretty similar backgrounds. But yeah, that’s what I would say.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah. Thank you so much. I agree. The advice is still remains, but with you, I think the key takeaway there was knowing when you’ve done enough and actually a move is a move will do you good at this point, right?

That will benefit you. Knowing when to do that. I think we’ll probably make a difference in, in a career spanning decades. You don’t wanna be in a rut, right? So moving to the next challenge, knowing when it’s time to do that, I think will be key. Kim keen to hear from you on your perspective.

You’ve obviously gone through a significant move in coming into IT. So what would your what would your tips be for what was your experience rather on on your moves there and how has it benefited you?

Kim Ryan:

Yeah I think it’s, don’t be afraid to say no. People, there’s people around you and if your support structure and your network is telling you to take the jump and they see some, a lot of times, your support team is, they see something that you don’t see.

So yeah, taking the leap of faith and coming in, it was huge. But I think even within the last 10 years, I think the one thing else I’ve learned is it’s okay that you don’t know everything. You’re gonna be thrown in these new positions and these new functions, and that’s when you really do your research.

Get to know who the experts are and lean on them. And don’t be afraid to don’t, don’t think that you have to know it all because you’re not going to. And whether it’s building up your team like Leslie talks about, or, getting some help from external partners or whoever it may be, that well-rounded kind of perspective is what’s gonna help you get successful.

Similar to what Amanda’s saying, right? You bring in, like I had the experience with our finance team. So when you come into IT, you know who to call. You have the relationships with those in procurement. So if you do those rotations across the different areas you have a, you have a leg up because you know who you’re calling and they’re gonna return your call because they have a good relationship with you.

So I think it’s a little bit of it all, but don’t be afraid to take that chance, even when you know, you may be a little scared or you think it’s not the right move for you. It always turns out, in my opinion to be something you’ve either learned from or you’ve succeeded and grown in.

Zarra Leonte:

Fully agree with you on that one.

I had my own experience very similar when I switched from working with Leslie at lv, we were in-house doing SAM, and I was very comfortable with that. I was familiar with, the sort of challenges that we faced at the time. And then I made the move into consulting, into professional services.

And honestly I felt like a fish out of water. I thought I knew, I thought I knew ITAM. I thought I was very familiar with many of the different challenges that my now clients may face. But indeed, I think that the the most scary experiences that the biggest learning curves have provided me, the most benefit in my career.

So that was a move. That seemed very daunting at the time, but I grew and learned so much from it which has got me to where I am today. So I feel so much more comfortable in many different scenarios and situations where by before making that move, I perhaps would’ve been too scared to do so to your point, don’t be afraid to say yes to a challenge.

I think that’s really key. Thank you very much for your inputs. I think maybe we have time for one more question. I’m gonna check the Q&A and that is what advice do you have for women who are working to get into management roles? Leslie, do you have anything on that one for us?

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

Absolutely. I think my one piece of advice, and I will elaborate, but be true to yourself, be an advocate of who you are and believe in yourself. You have come this far, you want to progress. That in itself is huge. You are determined. I think, sorry, dunno why my voice decides to go now.

But I would say you need to develop strong leadership skills. But I think by doing that’s also, you can do that day to day. Just because you are not necessarily doing people management directly, it doesn’t mean that you are not having leadership style skills with working with your stakeholders and bringing them on a journey.

You are basically bringing them on a journey, getting them to believe in what you’re doing. That in itself is a huge achievement. I’d say see the bigger picture of the organization so that you understand and don’t ever stop learning about it. The world moves very quickly. So keep yourself current in your knowledge and then, be resilient.

But my one piece of advice more so than anything else is get yourself a mentor. If you really want to take that next step into being, a leader and you are not really quite sure you are there yet, or you don’t really know, you just want a soundboard, get yourself a mentor. Somebody who you look up to, who you’ve seen, you know how they work and they aspire you.

You know that they are like confident that you can just go and speak to them about things and just run things past them and say, do you think I’m going mad or am I absolutely fine? And I think that’s what you need. I am a huge advocate of having a mentor and I actually have too. I do definitely think it’s worthwhile.

Yeah, definitely myself,

Zarra Leonte:

Amanda, I see you agreeing there with Leslie. Do you have anything to add?

Amanda Jacob:

I agree, get a mentor, but I also think you need to talk to your leaders honestly, about what you wanna do. If we don’t know what you want to truly do, we can’t help you, right? And so take opportunities on projects to grow or try something different in areas that you need in order to get to the next level.

And like I said, don’t be afraid to take lateral moves to try something different. And if you change your mind, let your leader know. We’re] not mind readers and we are here to help you. Just be transparent. With them. And also, I think, Leslie said this, be transparent with yourself on your motivations.

You know what you wanna do. And if you don’t speak up, because as leaders we have opportunities to help you figure that out. We have tools, we have a toolbox to do that. We can put you on different projects. We can get you in touch with different functional areas. We can help you figure out what it is you really want to do.

And then also be persistent.

I think all of us here have been very persistent in our careers. I can just of hear it from the stories, and that’s something that you, you need to take ownership of that and be persistent yourself.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah. Thank you so much. I think that perspective from you yourself a leader in this industry is really valuable to those listening.

Thanks for answering that. And Kim, do you have anything else to add on women getting into management roles?

Kim Ryan:

Yeah, I think one thing I would offer is I always, I usually ask what are you most passionate about when you come into work? What is that thing that gets you up every day and you really love to do?

And is it people, right? Do you like people? Because sometimes we think management is this, Hey, I’m just gonna continue to do my job and I’m gonna raise through the ranks. And it’s really about helping others achieve their goals. And are you passionate about helping others? So if you know you’re the person, and this was me, right?

20 years ago, I loved my spreadsheet and I loved driving outcomes, and I wanted to be the one to check off that thing for my list and that I met the deadline. I, if that’s what you’re most passionate about, you have to be real with yourself. Because that’s not gonna make a great leader. So I think understanding what makes a great leader is really gonna help you get there.

And your leader will see that in you, right? You wanna help others, you’re coaching others, you’re trying to develop, you’re trying to see the bigger picture and get more strategic. And it’s not just about your job. You can connect the dots across the organization. So I think one is make sure you like people because you become a little bit of a psychologist I think when you become a boss.

You hear stories that you never thought people tell their boss. And you have to be empathetic and caring and sit there and listen and help them through their day. So it’s a big part of what becoming a manager is, and I think. Use your relationships in your organization because the more people you know, and the more people you have behind you, the more and more they’re gonna help you get there.

I couldn’t agree with Amanda more. Let us know, right? We’re sitting in so many meetings where this opportunity’s presented and we’re going to put so a name forward, and if we don’t have your name in the back of our head, we’re never gonna be able to put you forward for that role. I think it’s a great transition in someone’s career to try to move from that individual contributor to our manager.

It’s exciting. And there’s a lot of people who would be willing to help. So use your networks, whether it’s a mentor or just building peer relationships. And just make sure it’s something that you’re really passionate about, because if you’re passionate about it, people will see that in you.

Zarra Leonte:

Yeah, I agree. I think really important is campaigning for yourself. Who’s gonna do it if you don’t, if you don’t do it for yourself? And in terms of being in a position of leadership, there’s this, I was told this years and years ago now, but it always stayed with me, which was to recognize when other members of your team do things better than you do and allowing them to shine.

Being in leadership is about enabling, right? And enabling individuals, people who you care about professionally to show, showcase their strengths and to really flourish in their roles. I think that’s key for management and having that in mind. Just to touch on what Kim said, it’s not about getting on with your nine to five and having, have, having people who you might talk to every now and then.

It’s really about championing their careers. That’s what will make you a good leadership and a good manager. We don’t have much time left at all. There was one more question on networking. I think we’ve all answered that fairly well. I think we’ve all emphasized how important that is especially as a woman in our industry.

I would like to encourage you all actually, if you’re joining us today, to go and add us on LinkedIn, widen your network make those connections and, lean on that support as in when you need it. Any other final comments? We we’re almost done for today. Any other comments from yourselves?

Amanda, Kim or Leslie?

Leslie Spencer-Ford:

I’d just like to I know we’ve covered over it, but just what Kimberly said, I think one of the things that I’ve done as a leader is very much when I’ve had, my team has said, I am accountable. That’s it. I’m accountable for how this function runs, but we do this together. It’s not about dictatorship, it’s not about, micromanagement.

It’s not about any of that. It is about building up your team, developing them, as we’ve all alluded to, but very much take the stance of, I’m accountable for this function. I am not here to dictate, as such, as to what you do in your day-to-day. And I think that’s when you empower people. And if you can empower people to, think more broadly outside the box, you’ll, they’ll automatically progress into roles as well.

That’s right. Yeah.

Amanda Jacob:

So I, one thing that Kim mentioned is using your network and I think you can also use your network and build relationships in a way where you can find an advocate for yourself at work as well. So that’s not, that’s something separate from a mentor.

To me that’s somebody that will be willing to go, into meetings and say, Hey, I know somebody who might have these skills or might not have these skills, but they’re interested in this area.

Can we maybe, pull them for this project or utilize them in some way to help them get some of this experience that they’re looking for.

And so I think, building the relationships so that you have a bunch of those advocates around your company also can help you move forward in your career.

Kim Ryan:

Was just gonna chime in and just make sure you love what you do and I think whether it’s ITAM or you wanna be a leader or whoever, wherever your journey is, love what you do and you’re gonna be the only one who controls that. And I think, if I look back, there was many times where,] I just thought if I put my head down and work really hard, someone would notice.

And that’s not necessarily the case, especially a woman in it. So you have to be your own your own voice and make sure that you really, put that forward. But again, just, use your strengths. If, If the job that you’re in you don’t love and you’re not using your strengths and you’re not gonna have a voice.

Right? And, this was all about having a, making sure that it t m had a voice. And I think as you can see the three of us love what we do. And, you bring process and finance and it, and risk all together in one place. And you really, truly can make a difference for your organization every day.

And hopefully you guys have the opportunity to do that for yours as well.

Zarra Leonte:

Some really well, really valuable final thoughts there. I can’t thank you all enough for joining us, for taking the time today. This will be extremely useful to all of our listeners and I’m sure will help other women in the industry progress in their careers.

All, come into ITAM at all. So thank you so much to our panelists. It’s been a pleasure to have you and thank you everyone that managed to join us. I can see from all over the world from the chat. So thank you. It was great to have you. This session was recorded and we’ll be released tomorrow, I think Braden said.

So we’ll be able go back and listen again. And yeah, thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.

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Watch last year’s webinar.

Last year, our panel of experts as share their extensive industry knowledge and experiences. They also shared some of the challenges and opportunities faced specifically by women in the ITAM industry and their visions for the future of women in ITAM. 

Last year’s panelists: Selina Baranowski (VP, Anglepoint); Gemma Binnie (SAM Analyst, abrdn); Linda Harrod (Global Head of Software License Governance, Walmart); and Kylie Fowler (Principal Consultant, ITAM Intelligence).

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