In my last posting HERE I brought up the fact that even with investments in tools, training and processes, some organizations still fail to maximize their potential – but what can often make a difference between an adequate ITAM Program and an effective one is the use of best  practices.

Previously I described how managing the timing of events (#1) and leveraging internal experts (#2) can have a bearing on the success of your ITAM Program – now we’ll look at a few more examples of best practices.

1.Know your internal strengths and weaknesses

Supporting an ITAM Program is a challenge for most organizations – few have the resources or investment they really need at the best of times and must constantly strive to optimize what they have to even maintain the status quo. We often find that companies are unaware of their own strengths and weaknesses and so do not know how to allocate their efforts effectively.

What do I mean by strengths and weaknesses? Well perhaps you are trained in Microsoft licensing, but no one on the team really has experience with Oracle or IBM products and metrics? Or perhaps there has been a restructuring in Procurement and the person who knew your major contracts the best is no longer with the company? Or perhaps there is no-one who understands the needs of your mainframe systems, except from a basic operations level? How can you be effective if you do not understand where your risks are and take the appropriate action to mitigate them?

Our “best practice” recommendation is to review your internal capabilities and to identify a plan to compensate for them – this may include training for internal resources, or to use outside services to help with specific gaps such as contracts or an IBM Software License Position etc. By doing this you know how and when to focus your efforts on your gaps and weaknesses when the need arises.

2. Communicate as much as possible

Our next “best practice” tip is communication – you cannot have too much of it! It sounds like basic common sense so why do we have it as a recommendation – because so few people do it well!

I’ve worked with many clients who have had documented processes covering their entire ITAM Program and yet they still struggle with rogue installations and long support cycles. Why - because no-one in the organization knows what is in place outside of the core team. End users are oblivious to what the real process is and so unnecessary mistakes are made or delays are encountered – so you can have the best processes etc. in the industry, but if no one else knows about it, then it can still fail. This obviously has an impact on efficiency and wastes resources, time and budget.

In addition, IT Asset Management is an uphill battle for many and it is not helped by the fact that many within the organization, including within IT, do not understand what IT Asset Management is, what it does, and what potential it has for cost savings and avoidance for the organization.

So communicate frequently, and widely – make sure your organization knows what you stand for and what you do for them!

3. Educate the masses

This overlaps with and goes hand-in-hand with the previous item on communication, but on top of letting your organization know what you do, our next “best practice” tip is to ensure your colleagues are educated in the basics of ITAM.

Of the many clients I have worked with, all have acknowledged the challenge of managing and validating software deployment and usage in their environment – and of enforcing the alignment against corporate policies and processes. And yet not one of them had a new employee onboarding program that references ITAM?

There are policies and best-practices identified during a typical onboarding program about IT Security and the impact it can have on the organization – so no-one expects a new employee to walk in the door and understand what is expected of them from a security perspective and its importance to the company.

So why is it different for ITAM – is it also not a significant corporate investment? Does it not have an impact on the financial health and reputation of the organization if implemented poorly? Can there be any doubt that IT Security has a primary focus around the IT assets of the organization, so if nothing else the two disciplines are interrelated?

So take a tip from your colleagues in IT Security – ensure IT Asset Management is part of your corporate on-boarding process and that there are regular updates and bulletins to ensure that this awareness and knowledge continues to grow over time.

So those are my 5 “best practices” tips for you - how many does your organization actually have implemented and follow? Have you had problems establishing them within your organization – did you need help from a company like Siwel to put them in place? Are there other best practices that you would recommend to your peers?