|IT ASSET MANAGEMENT Top skills identified for ITAM leaders|
As the role of IT asset management (ITAM) evolves within organizations, so, too, do the skill-sets needed to its drive growth, according to Gartner, Inc.
Gartner has identified six top skills for ITAM leader recruitment. They include, in order of importance:
* Communication (verbal and written). ITAM employees must be able to communicate effectively with staff and management at all levels of the organization.
“Good communicators are often good negotiators, and effective communication skills will ensure that ITAM can build important relationships with finance, legal, procurement, and technical specialists (such as enterprise architects) required for an effective ITAM team,” says Victoria Barber, research director at Gartner.
Such communication will help raise awareness of ITAM’s importance and ensure that senior management is mindful of potential risks. It also will help ITAM provide input into decision-making processes and collaborate with teams such as human resources, information technology (IT) security, internal audit, and privacy.
Communication includes the ability to negotiate organizational politics and tailor messages to the appropriate audience and priorities. Communication with external contacts, including vendors, auditors and consultants, is also required.
* Analytical (technical). An understanding of license models, software delivery models, and metrics is necessary, as well as understanding the application of license entitlements. ITAM monitors and tracks assets over time. Tracking performance by device type and model enables improved sourcing and a better comprehension of the total cost of ownership. ITAM employees need to know whether existing tools can deliver the data they need, and to specify any new requirements. ITAM leaders must develop and maintain technical skills to match the rapidly evolving IT environment, hardware technologies, and software licensing models.
* Administrative. Administrative tasks are necessary at all levels of ITAM, and in larger teams are carried out by entry-level employees. Those recruited for their administrative and organizational abilities have the potential to learn ITAM-specific skills—such as license management—and can be developed into more specialist roles as the ITAM discipline matures. Too often considered unimportant, skilled administrative personnel can be a key enabler of effective ITAM. Leaders should ensure that attention to detail, organizational skills, and the ability to follow established processes are included in role profiles.
* Financial. As ITAM changes from an inventory-management function to a more strategic financial-management role, it must develop financial awareness. The role of ITAM is to assist in determining business value by providing the cost analysis and asset-related financial data required to support the business in its decision-making process—and ITAM staff must have the necessary skills to deliver these. They must understand the basic principles of financial management and work with finance to carry out financial analysis and develop financial models. They also will need an awareness of accounting standards where they are relevant to, and impact, ITAM.
* Negotiation. ITAM has a close relationship with procurement. Knowledge of the supplier-negotiation process, including competitive bidding and leverage points, as well as related policies and procedures all supplement communication skills. Organizations with mature procurement and vendor management will have documented standard procedures for supplier interaction. ITAM managers should request copies of procurement and vendor-management policies and processes, and ensure they are understood and followed.
* Legal. ITAM staff must understand the risks of noncompliance, and be able to quantify and effectively communicate these to executive-management teams, with the aim of preventing situations that might compromise compliance or cause contract breaches. Legal counsel should engage the ITAM team when dealing with mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures to ensure that the impact on both hardware and software assets is fully understood.
“Organizations may have conflicting views on the importance of different skills, so it is vital to clearly define near- and long-term ITAM objectives, and consider the challenges involved,” says Barber.
[This article was posted on July 23, 2012, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com.]
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