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Three Tips for Maintaining the Momentum of your SAM Programme

This article has been contributed by Kylie Fowler. Regular columnist and Analyst at The ITAM Review.

You’ve written your business case, you’ve got executive sponsorship, defined your policies and implemented new processes… but now everyone has forgotten how stressful the last audit was and people are telling you they’ve got higher priorities.

SAM can be a bit like a game of snakes and ladders. As SAM manager, you know that SAM is not something you can do in fits and starts because if the team stop following the processes, or slip on the administration, everything will fall apart and you’ll be back at square one again.

Here are three tips for keeping everyone climbing the ladders while avoiding a quick slide back down those slippery snakes.

1. Shout about your Successes

Implement a regular reporting timetable which clearly shows the benefits and improvements of the SAM programme. Measure the benefits of your cost avoidance activities, for instance the value of applications harvested and re-used, and publish regular reports and graphs showing the cost reductions you have achieved as a result of your negotiations with suppliers, co-termination of support and maintenance and any other activities you’ve undertaken.

Don’t just advertise these successes to senior management, but make sure that the IT Teams directly involved in SAM are also aware of the benefits– that is the desktop and infrastructure personnel, without whom SAM just doesn’t happen.

2. Keep SAM on the Management Agenda

Most organisations these days have at least an annual process of conducting reviews for employees and setting goals for the coming year. Work with management to ensure that everyone, from senior managers down, have a SAM related goal as one of their objectives. To be effective, objectives need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Constrained. They also don’t always need to be obviously SAM related. For instance, a call-logger on a helpdesk may have an objective for designing a form to be used for reporting lost / stolen equipment, while an Information Security Analyst may have an objective to analyse and process 90% of the lost / stolen equipment forms within 2 weeks of the loss. The combination of these objectives means you can remove lost /stolen equipment from your SAM tool within a matter of weeks, keeping it accurate and freeing up licenses for reuse.

Once all the objectives are documented for the year, it is your responsibility to ensure that feedback is provided on the objectives for all the end of year appraisals. To do this, you will need to keep notes of performance of individuals through the year, run activity reports, and, most importantly, actually send the feedback to managers to let them know whether or not their staff have met the objectives, and if not, where improvements can be made.

And of course, you need to have input into the identification of SAM-related objectives for the next year.

3. Build the links between SAM and IT Service Management

A common reason that IT Personnel start letting SAM slip is because they have ‘higher priorities’. These higher priorities are, in fact, usually pretty important things, like making sure computers are functioning and people can work, rebuilding servers so the email system doesn’t crash, and deploying new firewalls so that viruses can’t get onto the network. It can be very hard to argue that SAM is a priority when the CEO’s computer has just crashed.

But SAM related activities actually often support other IT Service Management functions. To do good SAM you need to understand your hardware and understand what software is installed where. These are also the basic pre-requisites for Configuration Management, which is in turn a foundation of all sorts of service management functions, including information security (which machines have out-of-date patches?), change management (if we put an extra processor in that server, will it double our licensing costs?), the Service Desk (I need to rebuild the marketing manager’s computer… what applications do I need to reinstall?) and even demand and capacity management (If we build a data warehouse, what legacy applications do we operate that can’t run in a virtual machine?).

As SAM manager, you should aim to build links with all these other IT Service Management functions and go out of your way to demonstrate the benefits of the data you hold. If people see the benefits of accurate data, they will work harder to get the data accurate in the first place and keep it that way in the long term. These are the foundations for the establishment of a virtuous circle of continuous improvement in your SAM programme.

Maintaining the momentum of your SAM programme can be achieved, but it does require a major effort to ensure that people see the benefits and relevance of SAM in their day to day work. Shouting about your successes and ensuring other IT Service Management functions see the benefits of SAM makes a big difference, while including SAM-related activities in the formal annual appraisal and objective setting process of your organisation helps ensure that SAM remains a focus for everyone through-out the year.

This article has been contributed by Kylie Fowler. Regular columnist and Analyst at The ITAM Review.

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

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