In this Lightning Course, Anglepoint Manager of SAM Program Design, Chris Hayes, dives into the essential IT Asset Management Roles & Responsibilities and how each Role can work together to ensure ITAM success.
Click the links below to jump to each role:
The ITAM Program Lead
In this video, we discuss the ITAM Program Lead role. This includes understanding some basics of structuring an ITAM Program and what activities this role is expected to perform.
You’ve likely noticed we are using the term Lead and not Manager or Director. This is only to highlight that in your specific organization, the role defining and running the ITAM Program might be at a Manager grade, or at a Director grade. Regardless of the job title, the responsibilities of this role are what we want to discuss.
At the basic level, the ITAM Program Lead is responsible for ensuring that the ITAM Program delivers against its chartered mandate in the organization. When setting up an ITAM Program, as a Program Lead you will work with your Executive Sponsor and Stakeholders to define the expectations for the Program as well as the measures of success. This is a critical first step, and without this your Program will be doomed to fail. For example, if you set up a Program and deliver a new management capability that allows you to generate license balances for Oracle, what do you think would happen if your Executive Sponsor instead was expecting extensive cost control and management of M365 instances in the cloud, or management of your organization’s mobile assets? Therefore, in order to be a success as an ITAM Program Lead, you need to first define what the Program’s mission is (Charter) and what the expectations of success look like, and ensure these are aligned with your Executive Sponsor and Stakeholders. Best practice is to also understand and align the organizational strategy and goals with the ITAM Program to ensure sufficient support from all areas.
Secondly, before we get into responsibilities of a Program Lead, it is important to understand the difference between a Project and a Program. A Project is a structured set of activities with a defined start and end date that is designed to deliver a work product or deliverable that adds value to the organization. An example of a Project might be to implement an ITAM Repository such as SNOW License Manager. There would be a definite start date, and a definite end date to the Project – and by the end date, a new operational capability would exist in your organization – you would have a functional instance of SNOW License Manager. A Program, on the other hand, may have a start date but there is no end. A Program should be viewed as a continual set of activities that delivers against a chartered mandate or mission. In other words, you might have several discrete Projects running under your ITAM Program, but it is ultimately the ITAM Program that coordinates all of these Project activities to ensure that the deliverables or work product are adding value to the organization. A Program should be viewed as an Operational Service.
Aside from championing the Program charter and mandate, the ITAM Program Lead will be focused on potential problems, escalations, and removal of roadblocks. In fact – these topics should not be shied away from – the ITAM Program Lead should be running TOWARDS these tough topics to ensure that the Steering Committee of the Program is educated and involved. If the ITAM Program exists to create value for the organization, the ITAM Program Lead’s focus should be on removing any and all roadblocks that prevent this value creation – and making sure they are leveraging the Steering Committee’s executive support to make that happen.
This means that the ITAM Program Lead will be proactively and periodically communicating targeted content and messaging to the Steering Committee, on Risk Management, Optimization Realization, and overall program progress versus goals. This also involves escalating issues that require Executive support to ensure they have the necessary visibility to get resolved. The ITAM Program Lead also helps to facilitate and manage any topics where the Steering Committee would vote – for example on budget, program strategy and scope, follow up remediation or optimization actions, and managing escalations.
The ITAM Program Lead is a lynchpin that connects the Executive Strategic layer of the organization with the tactical/operational layer of the ITAM Team. The ITAM Program Lead ensures that the Program Sponsor and Stakeholders are provided with actionable business intelligence in the form of Trustworthy Data – and the ITAM Team is provided a confirmed and mandated strategic direction from the Steering Committee.
The Application Owner
This video is about the Application Owner role. This will include understanding how this role works with the ITAM team to execute recommendations and realize some of the benefits coming from Trustworthy Data.
Aside from the day-to-day operations of ITAM, the Application Owner role is one of the critical components to ensuring that value is being delivered to your organization. Without the Application Owner, recommended Risk Mitigation steps would not be taken and Optimization
Opportunities would go un-realized. You can think of this role as an ‘implementor’ of the recommendations coming from the ITAM team.
When we say ‘Application Owner’ we mean the role that is responsible for maintaining and supporting the applications and or technology stack for a specific software publisher. This may be one person (for example – an Adobe administrator), or it might be a coordinator of multiple people (for example – someone who manages all the teams responsible for Oracle in your organization).
The Application Owner is responsible for accurately understanding and representing the needs of the business to the ITAM Team as well as Procurement. If they are responsible for maintaining the Adobe estate (for example), they should be able to communicate the license requirement and associated forecast and roadmap. In other words – will there be more users of Adobe Acrobat Professional required? Is there a technology project coming up that will require more or less licensing, etc? Needless to say the stress is on ACCURATE representation of the needs of the business. A ‘thumb in the air’ approach or ‘take last years figure and add 15%’ is NOT what supports trustworthy data in the organization. In these scenarios if the Application Owner needs support it can be offered from the ITAM Team – for example a report might be run from the ITAM Repository indicating license consumption for the last 3 quarters for the Application Owner to confirm and verify. An accurate license consumption forecast is a KEY input to the strategic alignment of ITAM in your organization as this helps to influence recommendations to the Steering Committee.
The Application Owner needs to act on remediation requirements or optimization opportunities coming from the ITAM Team. As a result of analyzing your organization’s compliance position for a given software publisher there will be 2 main scenarios – first either a potential Risk exists that needs to be mitigated, or an Opportunity exists that can be realized. In either one of these cases, the Application Owner is the role who is Accountable to execute the necessary steps. This is an important distinction – the ITAM Team will make visible the situation but they will NOT act on it. For example if there is an over-consumption of Oracle licenses, the ITAM team will NOT deinstall an instance of Oracle or decommission a virtual server. Those actions are performed by the Application Owner.
If there is action to be taken by the Application Owner, this will be tracked by the ITAM Program Lead and monitored by the Steering Committee. This way, risks will be mitigated and optimization opportunities realized. Otherwise the Application Owner will have to answer to the executive sponsorship of the Program. Sometimes, there may be cost associated with implementing ITAM recommendations. For example – maybe there is an optimization opportunity where re-architecting a virtual cluster could save maintenance costs on Oracle licensing. Maybe this opportunity could save $300K over the next 3 years in maintenance costs. However, to rearchitect the virtual cluster would require a technical consultant team and would cost approximately $20,000 to implement. This is a scenario where the Steering Committee would need to approve that strategic direction. The ITAM Team would present this option to the Application Owner – and then the Steering Committee would vote to mandate the Application Owner and their department to spend the $20,000 in order to realize the cost avoidance opportunity of $300,000. In this way the visibility to the situation comes from the ITAM Team, and the strategic direction and mandate comes from the Steering Committee.
Procurement & Sourcing
This third video is about the Procurement and Sourcing role. It includes understanding how this role leverages Trustworthy Data from ITAM and what some of the key requirements from Procurement might be.
Fundamentally, the role of Procurement and Sourcing is to provision appropriate goods for the organization in a way that minimizes costs and maximizes Return on Investment. In other words – negotiate deals that deliver value for money for the organization. Paired with Trustworthy Data, the ITAM
Team helps to put the Procurement and Sourcing role in a position of knowledge and power. If there is a potential risk with a software publisher, it is known ahead of time. If there is an optimization opportunity, it is known BEFORE the Procurement and Sourcing team sit down at the negotiating table. In this way, this role is leveraging ITAM data to deliver further value and maximizing the return on any investments made by taking a data-driven approach to negotiation.
In order to be effective in positioning optimization opportunities or understanding potential risks to avoid during negotiations and contractual renewals, the Procurement and Sourcing team needs to proactively communicate these requirements to the ITAM Team. A yearly calendar of deliverables needs to be developed and timelines agreed to complete important data requests. The timing of these data requests to the ITAM Team should be driven by current state maturity and complexity and risk of the associated publisher. For example, a multi-million dollar IBM iESSO renewal should be worked on several months in advance by the ITAM Team to understand the compliance position, as opposed to a smaller renewal with a Tier 2 or Tier 3 software publisher that might only take a couple of weeks. Time should be allowed for the ITAM Team to provide complete and correct analysis as much as possible – and to work with Application Owners as needed to provide further inputs on future license requirements. The Procurement and Sourcing role is therefore responsible for having a COMPLETE view of renewal dates for key software publishers, and working with the ITAM Team to ensure they have a good understanding of risks and opportunities AHEAD of the contract renewal events.
For the ITAM team to complete their analysis on time and supply Trustworthy Data to Procurement and Sourcing, the Procurement and Sourcing role also needs to agree SLAs with the ITAM team to provide complete and correct purchasing records and proof of entitlement documentation. If detailed datapoints on ownership of licenses is NOT available from a software publisher, that is a part of the Procurement and Sourcing role to follow up and hold the software publishers to a high standard of transparency. If necessary a Vendor Management function could be leveraged for escalations if granular purchasing information is not regularly available. However, if purchasing records and proof of entitlement documentation ARE made available according to an agreed upon SLA, this will allow the ITAM Team to provide Trustworthy Data in the form of Risk and Opportunity Assessment per software publisher back to Procurement and Sourcing. So it is in everyone’s best interest that siloes are broken down and the cross-functional teams are working together.
Another key component of Procurement and Sourcing is their line of communication with key decision makers in the organization. When a risk is mitigated or when a cost avoidance opportunity is realized as a result of ITAM and Procurement working together, best practice is to recognize that none of this activity ever happens in a vacuum. If Executive Leadership mandates cost takeout targets specifically for Procurement and Sourcing, for example, if those are surpassed utilizing ITAM Trustworthy Data, it is important to publicize mutual successes. This helps the ITAM team gain increased trust and visibility, and also helps to avoid a lot of the potentially charged political discussions of what is considered ‘savings’ versus ‘cost avoidance’ – typically Procurement and Sourcing already have aligned definitions for those concepts and how they are recognized.
If the Procurement and Sourcing role is proactively working with the ITAM Team to both communicate critical renewal dates for key publishers as well as leveraging Trustworthy Data to negotiate from a position of knowledge and power, they are very well positioned to drive significant value to the organization.