4.5 min to readAsset Management

What is ITAM and why does it matter?

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team
A woman using a tablet in a server room.

Why ITAM is mission-critical to reducing costs, mitigating cybersecurity risks and ensuring compliance

IT Asset Management – ITAM – has never been so important. At its heart is a set of guiding principles that enable businesses to gain 360-degree visibility of their IT estates. This helps IT departments understand what technologies are in place – on-premise and in the cloud – which need replacing, or upgrading and those which have become obsolete and can be retired. ITAM can also help IT departments track which software and systems have been implemented without their knowledge by other departments – a worrying and increasingly common occurrence.

In this new series of three articles, we explain what ITAM is and why it matters, how and why businesses should measure their ITAM security and lastly, practical steps for creating an effective roadmap that can optimise efficiency, reduce costs and mitigate compliance and cybersecurity issues.

  1. What is ITAM and why does it matter?
  2. The importance of measuring your ITAM maturity
  3. The importance of having an action plan

What is ITAM and why does it matter?

In the first of three articles about IT Asset Management – ITAM – we explain how this practice enables CIOs and other senior business leaders to gain an accurate picture of a company’s IT estate, whether on-premise or in the cloud. ITAM helps businesses centralise asset management and take a dynamic, rationalised disciplined approach that can reduce costs, mitigate risks and improve contractual and sourcing decisions. At a time when cross-departmental use of IT systems without the approval or knowledge of CIOs and their teams is becoming commonplace, this has never been so important.

Why your organisation should prioritise ITAM

Bob is a junior designer in the marketing department who’s facing a tight deadline to create a new video. The problem? He doesn’t have the video editing software he needs. His manager has a solution: “Use my company credit card and buy the software subscription. We need that video now!” So Bob buys the software and makes the video. But his company’s IT team has no clue about Bob’s purchase – much less whether the software he’s bought will be used within the licensing terms, or even if it’s safe to use.

Now imagine an entire organisation full of Bobs, where anyone with a credit card can buy cloud applications or software as a service (SaaS). It’s an increasingly common reality today, that individuals and different departments can make cloud purchases with little or no input from IT. And it’s especially common for Tier 2 and 3 software services – smaller, niche applications that might be used for only a short time. But they’re not the only reason for cloud waste and ‘zombie IT’ – applications that are underused or not used at all.

One-third (33%) of all SaaS spending is for underused or wasted software, according to the Flexera State of ITAM Report 2022. With large companies today using an average of 211 cloud-based applications, the scale of IT’s challenge in managing software licences is clear. It means keeping track of all of the software purchased centrally through the CapEx budget – while also trying to manage all of the SaaS subscriptions paid for by different users across the organisation using OpEx funds. That’s a recipe for complexity and uncontrolled costs.

This is where IT asset management (ITAM) comes in.

Why is ITAM important?

ITAM is a journey to gain an accurate picture of your entire IT estate, whether on-premises or in the cloud. The goal is to take your organisation’s practices from an ad hoc approach to rationalised, dynamic asset management that creates value for your business. This will help you to better manage asset lifecycles, costs, and risks, while also improving your contractual and sourcing decisions.

The ITAM journey starts by gaining visibility into your IT environment. This helps you to identify gaps, weaknesses and opportunities for optimisation. With the right insights, you can also measure how your business performs against industry benchmarks and best practices. Automation can help. But to achieve ITAM maturity, you’ll also need collaboration and knowledge-building across your organisation.

Such a transformation requires a robust ITAM framework. You’ll need a well-thought-out roadmap to optimise your IT estate and costs, reduce risks and avoid financial penalties. You’ll also need ITAM tools that provide access to the right data at the right time. And you’ll need to guide your people with clear policies and processes, while also providing them with the right resources, knowledge, and expertise.

What benefits can ITAM deliver?

With better visibility into your IT assets and how they’re used, you gain immediate benefits in efficiency, control and predictability. This helps to improve your planning and budgeting, as well as your ability to identify cost-reduction opportunities. Well-implemented ITAM policies, processes and technology can help your organisation save money in several ways.

First, you can reduce software licence costs by identifying – and getting rid of – unused ‘zombie’ software, and duplicate and underused licences.

Second, ITAM can make software procurement faster and easier. Whenever someone needs to make a purchase, you’ll have all the information you need about asset and licencing data, entitlements and what can be allocated. ITAM is especially valuable when major renewals are due, helping you to achieve more commercially and technically favourable outcomes during negotiations.

Robust IT asset management can also mitigate the risk of non-compliance issues identified during vendor audits. This helps you avoid fines, reputational damage, and the time costs of tying up staff to deal with audits.

Finally, gaining control of your software estate should also improve your security posture. For example, the Log4j vulnerability impacted many organisations longer than necessary simply because they were unaware it was part of their software estate – so, therefore, took no action to secure it.

When your business achieves ITAM maturity, you can use industry-agreed benchmarking standards to see how you perform against others in your sector and to understand how well-aligned your people, processes, and technology are. Those same benchmarks also allow you to measure progress over time. And using international standards like ISO/IEC 19770-1, you can formulate an effective ITAM strategy that provides the right data to power the right strategy, policies, and processes.

What’s your ITAM maturity?

Effective IT asset management can help your organisation work more efficiently, reduce software costs and waste and avoid expenses such as vendor non-compliance fines. Ready to start building your ITAM practice? Begin by taking our self-paced and completely free ITAM assessment. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll receive a high-level view of your ITAM maturity and recommendations for the next steps to take to fill the most critical gaps and improve your ITAM position.

A close up of a white concrete wall.

Take our ITAM assessment now or get in touch

Learn more about how SoftwareOne can help you on your ITAM maturity journey.

Take our ITAM assessment now or get in touch

Learn more about how SoftwareOne can help you on your ITAM maturity journey.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.