The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

Quick guide to building a three-year roadmap

This quick guide is to accompany module 4 of The ITAM Review 12 Box Training program “How to build a three year ITAM roadmap”. Further details regarding the module can be found here:

Where are you heading?

One of the most common questions we get asked at The ITAM Review is ‘what metrics should I be measuring?’ I think a more appropriate question to ask is ‘Where are we heading?’ or ‘What goals should I have for our ITAM practice?’

  • With goals come priorities
  • With priorities comes a plan
  • With a plan come metrics and milestones

In other words, once you know where you are heading and what you are looking to achieve it should be much easier to assess what metrics you need. The ideal metrics will show your direction of travel towards (or away from) your goal.

ITAM Project Phases

When considering your three-year ITAM roadmap it is worth considering the different phases to an ITAM implementation. This is especially true for a company starting from scratch. The three phases are preparation, project and business as usual.

Take Off

As seen from the diagram above, this is similar to a plane taking off:

  • TAXI – Preparing and gathering support
  • TAKE-OFF – A project to stand up the ITAM department
  • CRUISING ALTITUDE – The ITAM department can be handed to business as usual

An issue we see in the market is planes being prepared and taken airborne only to descend gently to earth when they run out of momentum or interest is lost. A key part of your three-year plan should incorporate communications and reporting to ensure momentum is maintained and your ITAM practice remains airborne and successful.

What should you aim for?

On a recent webinar I asked ‘What is the primary driver for ITAM in your organization?’ As you can see from the results below the majority of our readers are focused on addressing software compliance.

What is the primary driver for ITAM in your organization?

What is the primary driver for ITAM in your organization?

When considering a three-year roadmap it is worth looking beyond current drivers and considering broader, more aspirational ITAM goals. It is worth considering the real meaning of ITAM, which goes far beyond compliance. Check out this article on ITAM first principles: 

Major Milestones

As suggested in the poll above, there are five major areas to consider when building a three-year ITAM roadmap:

  • Gaining visibility – to address, as Rumsfeld might say, unknown unknowns in your environment
  • Compliance – to maintain audit ready status for your most strategic publishers
  • Efficiency – to drive optimal value and lowest cost from all IT spend
  • Agility – to provide the IT department with trustworthy asset data to enable faster decision-making and project support
  • Profit Centre – finally, for ITAM to pay for itself, be self sustaining and creating its own budget

Major-MilestonesConvincing the CIO

When building your three-year roadmap the milestones above are just ideas, ultimately your roadmap should support whatever direction the business is taking and support that it needs. What major changes is the business going through? What is the main topic of conversation? Where is the IT department heading? Your roadmap should support that.

Also consider:

  • Your CIO has lots of other things vying for their time
  • Keep it compelling yet realistic
  • Money talks, only talk in commercial terms (Curb your ITAM enthusiasm!)
  • Make the plan iterative / agile

For more on communicating with senior management check out module 1 (AUTHORITY)

For those of you addressing compliance or visibility then ITAM as a profit centre might seem like a pipe dream. For an organization delivering a zero cost impact department see our podcast case study with The Hershey Company from 2015:

Who to Track?

In module 3, INVENTORY, we covered the concept of the Pareto principle and focusing our efforts on a select few publishers in order to maximize use of our resources.

How do you go about selecting the software publishers to be in your top 10 or 20 vendors for your roadmap?

To select strategic software publishers for the ITAM department to manage ask yourself the following six questions:

  1. RISK – Which vendors represent the highest risk? Who have audited us most frequently, who are likely to audit us based on market activity?
  2. SPEND – Who are our highest spend publishers per annum?
  3. VOLUME – What vendor has the highest proliferation of their software in our environment?
  4. STRATEGIC – Which suppliers are strategic to our business in the longer term?
  5. TRANSITION – Are we moving towards or away from certain suppliers in the next few years, would it be prudent to get our house in order for those suppliers as part of our plan?
  6. GUT FEEL – Finally, what is your personal opinion and that of your IT department colleagues as to who should be your key supplier to track?

By the time you’ve thought about those questions you should have a good idea of your top 10/20. Part of your three year plan can include expanding the top 10/20 based on your progress and success, and if necessary recruiting more resources to expand your team.


Finally, as part of your three-year roadmap, how will you maintain the momentum and communicate your progress?

Think about your main audiences, which are typically end user customers, internal IT teams / stakeholders and your senior management team. How will you communicate your activity?

Communications channels to consider

  • Lunches / informal training
  • Internal email
  • Newsletters
  • Posters
  • Forums, social media, noticeboards
  • App Store / Online portals
  • Lifecycle opportunities

These are just some of the examples we’ve seen ITAM Review readers use. You are only limited by your imagination. Go and speak to your internal communications team and see what works for them.

With continual updates and communications you can keep the plane in the air and deliver against your plan.

This has been a quick guide of things to think about for your three-year roadmap, if you have any questions or further ideas please let us know via our forum.

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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