I was visiting an organization to speak to them about their planned ITAM implementation. The organization is rather well known and viewed externally as well-managed (at least to me). What happened in the early minutes of the meeting caused me to squirm in my chair.
During the meeting, I asked some baseline questions, including one that I thought was a sure-fire baseline; “what are you looking to achieve from this ITAM implementation?” The organization looked at me and responded, “To implement ITAM”. When I said that is a good start, I wanted to delve into something more specific, so I asked, “What problem are you trying to answer by carrying out this ITAM implementation?” My question received the same response – to implement ITAM.
Recovering from my squirm, I knew that I could help guide the organization in a measurable, standardized and certifiable way. I turned the discussion to what brought them to the table – why this – why now? It was the next few questions that helped them, and me, understand why goal setting during an ITAM implementation is so crucial.
Instead of guiding the discussion on their ITAM implementation, I asked them what they believed was wrong with their existing ITAM efforts. I asked questions about their processes on the software lifecycle including tools used (many); vendor spend (and vendor audits), what ITAM processes they had (and whether they thought they worked). I also explored the level of executive management support for this effort (and what the goals of the executive sponsor are)? Based on the answers given, it was clear that they had not considered what problem they wanted to resolve. So, what was driving them to ITAM?
We ended the meeting a bit early that day and resumed in the morning. When I arrived the next morning, it was like a light-bulb went on. The organization started the discussion saying yes, they wanted to implement ITAM, but do so in a way that complimented and matched the CFO’s own goals which was to reduce spend for their top three software vendors by 25% in 18 months’ time. I later learned that was also the time that one of those vendors was expected to initiate a license review. We finally had a goal I could work with, support, measure, and track.
What is the moral here?
Many organizations who start to implement ITAM do so without thinking through the specific goals they want to achieve – and why. As we know, ITAM implementations are difficult (as are all IT projects), but having an achievable, concrete goal to work towards, with significant executive level support, is one sure way to improve the success of an ITAM program. As demonstrated here, implementing ITAM can be a goal, but how is the outcome measured? Having something specific, in this case seeking a 25% reduction in spend for the top three vendors, in 18 months, is an explicit goal. Once you achieve that win, you can then expand the scope ensuring ongoing gains becoming the champion for your organization. Going into a review saying you saved the organization X dollars or decreased risk, is one sure fire way to get the recognition you deserve.