Do I need an ITAM program if I have SCCM?

Confused-by-OPL

A BetterITAM reader had a question as a result of a previous article, “Why setting the goal of your ITAM implementation is so crucial”. The reader asked if an organization has SCCM in place, do they also need an ITAM program.

First, let’s make sure we understand the meaning of both acronyms. ITAM is an abbreviation for Information Technology Asset Management. ITAM is the set of business practices that join financial, contractual and inventory functions to support life cycle management and strategic decision making for the IT environment. SCCM stands for System Center Configuration Manager, which some people call CM, SC or Config Manager. For this article, I’ll use SCCM – the acronym used by the reader.

SCCM is a systems-management software product developed by Microsoft for managing large groups of computers running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux or UNIX. It also manages various mobile operating systems such as Windows Phone, Symbian, iOS, and Android. Configuration Manager provides remote control, patch management, software distribution, operating system deployment, network access protection and hardware and software inventory.

Getting back to the question, the short answer is yes – both are needed. SCCM provides inventory and usage data but does not manage licenses, or provide automated methods to optimize an organization’s software portfolio. AppClarity, on the other hand, uses inventory and usage information from SCCM to manage software compliance, reclaim and license demand reports that create more value for your organization. For example, AppClarity will automate the removal of unused software lowering the risks and costs of your organization’s software portfolio. Further, having ISO aligned processes and policies on how to react to that information, interpret it, and action it appropriately for the organization are necessary parts of an ITAM program that a tool cannot offer.

You may have heard that an effective ITAM program consists of three core components – people, process, and technology. Let’s look at the three individually.

People

Without qualified, ITAM focused people, there will be no one to manage the ITAM program to ensure it is delivering goals defined by the executive sponsor. While the goals generally come down to lowering the overall cost of IT, or reduce risk (from unused or unlicensed software), it is people who manage the day-to-day ITAM needs – and deliver on those goals. A tool can’t interpret data like people can.

Process

Every organization has processes – from the hiring of new employees to how benefits are distributed and people are managed. Mature organizations have ITAM processes that spell out how IT assets will be managed from acquisition to retirement. This is commonly referred to as the software lifecycle. It is process that makes ITAM repeatable – and when issues arise, allow the organization to learn what went wrong.

Technology

ITAM tools are an enabler, but only when the tool is providing actionable intelligence for the information you deem necessary for your organizations ITAM program. If the tool is not providing the intelligence you need to secure your goals, it is of no value. Alternatively, if the tool is providing the intelligence you need, it assists with stated goals and will positively impact process where additional automation may be implemented – further reducing cost and improving IT responsiveness to the organization.

SCCM is not an ITAM tool, it simply provides data that an ITAM tool can use. ITAM as a discipline demands robust processes, with focused tools such as AppClarity and the right people to generate the goals desired.

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