IT Asset Management Key Initiative Overview

18 June 2013 ID:G00251385
Analyst(s): Alexa Bona


This overview provides a high-level description of the IT Asset Management Key Initiative. CIOs and IT leaders, including IT asset managers, can use this guide to help them to control and optimize hardware and software costs, manage software audits, and mitigate related risks.


Figure 1. IT Asset Management Key Initiative Overview
Figure 1.IT Asset Management Key Initiative Overview

Source: Gartner (June 2013)

IT asset management (ITAM) is a framework and set of processes for strategically tracking and managing the financial, physical, licensing and contractual aspects of IT assets through their life cycle.

Effective ITAM enables IT asset managers to account for IT asset management costs and associated risks in a transparent and dependable way. The flow of that information into IT financial management programs enables organizations to make sound funding and architectural decisions about IT sourcing from a business perspective. Gartner clients who successfully execute ITAM as a discipline typically achieve 30% cost savings in the first year of their initiatives, and at least 5% cost savings in each of the subsequent five years. Given that software and hardware spending often accounts for 20% of IT budgets, this is a crucial discipline to master. ITAM can also significantly reduce the compliance risks associated with recent increases in the number and intensity of software audits.

Consider These Factors to Determine Your Readiness

What IT Asset Management Means to CIOs

CIOs urged to reduce IT costs need a disciplined approach to achieve sustainable outcomes from ITAM in a dynamic IT environment. They should work with IT asset managers to understand these factors:

  • Effective management of the IT asset life cycle, from purchase to end of life, not only helps CIOs grasp the full cost of existing investments to allow for cost optimization, but provides accurate cost information to guide future investments, such as cloud sourcing decisions.
  • The number of software audits is increasing, as well as the intensity of the scrutiny of the audits. Therefore, effective software asset management is critical to managing compliance exposure.
  • To establish and mature an ITAM program that delivers on business needs, you must invest in people, processes and technology.
  • When CIOs engage ITAM staff early in IT-related decisions, they can influence cost, risk and value most, and help develop a "cost-aware architecture."

What IT Asset Management Means to IT Leaders

ITAM is becoming more critical as IT leaders struggle to optimize costs in a sustainable fashion. IT asset management leaders establishing or maturing a formal ITAM program should consider:

  • Sponsorship from the CIO and CFO, the early engagement of internal stakeholders and regular communication among these parties are critical factors to an ITAM program's success.
  • Prioritizing to determine which projects they should tackle first and executing those projects can help IT leaders demonstrate success and justify further ITAM investment.
  • Implementing processes that measure ITAM's contribution to the optimal financial management of IT can fuel further investment in ITAM and help this function mature in the organization.
  • New sourcing options, such as cloud computing; technologies, such as virtualization, mobile and the Internet of Things; financial regulations; and business trends, such as BYOD and IT consumerization, will affect IT asset costs and risks, and the ITAM program.

Conduct Your IT Asset Management Initiative Using This Structured Approach

Gartner recommends that CIOs and IT leaders, including IT asset managers and IT financial managers, follow five major organizing principles to apply a disciplined approach to ITAM. These organizing principles may vary, depending on the organization and the maturity of its ITAM program:

  • Strategize and Plan: Draft a charter to gain agreement on the vision for the initiative in alignment with business goals. Scope the initiative, establish resources and budget.
  • Develop Governance: Establish an optimal process for making decisions and assigning decision rights. Identify and engage stakeholders. Agree on authority and flow for decision-making. Implement and set up feedback mechanisms.
  • Drive Change Management: Set up a system to communicate and socialize ideas via multiple channels. Get buy-in from stakeholders at all levels. Assess progress and drive stakeholder commitment to the change.
  • Execute: Optimally operate the initiative in accordance with business goals. Update and drive new elements of the initiative in response to changing business requirements.
  • Measure and Improve: Measure how the initiative has affected business outcomes. Seek feedback from stakeholders. Drive improvements through process change and upgrades.