The ITAM Review

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

Reader Survey Results – Hot topics, trends and priorities for 2020


The 2020s – When company performance is inextricably linked to IT performance, when IT agility equates to competitive advantage.

In this article I will share the results of our most recent reader survey, a round-up of the most popular content on the ITAM Review in 2019 and some predictions for hot topics and trends for the new decade.

Thanks to everyone that took the time to complete our reader survey.

We asked the question “What topics will be most important to you in 2020?” – No surprise to see cloud management at the top of the list. As we demonstrated in our salary survey in 2019, average salaries are up 15% over two years and cloud skills lead to higher earning power. Whilst money isn’t everything, it’s spotlights the demand and direction of the industry.

What topics will be important to you in 2020?

  1. Cloud Management Best Practice
  2. Software Licensing Changes
  3. ITAM Strategy
  4. Cloud Management Tools
  5. ITAM Tooling
  6. Oracle Licensing
  7. Microsoft Licensing
  8. Other Licensing (Notably SAP, Salesforce, Quest)
  9. Tool Implementation
  10. Managing Containers
  11. Hardware Lifecycle, ITAD

In addition to your hot topics identified above, we also intend to cover open source, legal, contracts management, FinOps and Cloud Economics, Telecoms Expense Management as well as converting our content to other languages (We’ve begun with French here, if you can help with other languages please contact us).

If you would like to share your expertise on any of these topics please contact us.

Long term trends

Last year we highlighted three major trends impacting the ITAM industry in the longer term;

  1. Business (Non-IT) buyers of IT assets
  2. Continued Technology Sprawl
  3. Cloud

It’s interesting to see how these long term trends have evolved in just twelve short months:

SaaS complexity on the horizon

I predict that turn key SaaS solutions deployed without the involvement of IT, combined with increasingly IT savvy consumers of IT services, with lowcode drag and drop systems, will add increasingly complexity to managing cloud spend and risk. IT Asset Managers will need to identify not only the existence of SaaS consumption, but perhaps also how it is sewn together. I predict that complex IT architecture will no longer just be the domain of IT.

5G asset type bow wave

4G hit mainstream adoption along with the iPad launch in 2010. These two technologies combined soon found myriad uses cases in IT departments. I predict a similar bow wave of use cases, asset types, IoT use and applications as 5G hits adoption in the 2020s.


ITAM teams will automate their processes for efficiency gains and to streamline operations, but they will also automate out of necessity. They’ll need to automate simply to keep up, to address the fact that there is a skills shortage of IT expertise, and that IT complexity is increasing exponentially, they’ll automate not to progress, but to tread water.

AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain

You might argue that software recognition and asset look up tables, used since the 1990’s, are a form of machine learning. But I predict there will be further use cases for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to identify risks, trends or cost savings within large ITAM data sets.

I predict early exploratory use cases for blockchain in the ITAM industry will pick up momentum as a trustworthy mechanism to support record keeping. Blockchain as a concept is commonly mangled with bitcoin, a crypto-currency – but currency is just one use case of many different uses for distributed secure ledgers of ownership or transactions. See Blockchain for Software License Management.

Security and ITAM – a blossoming partnership

Whilst there are many reasons that an organisation might decide to stand up an ITAM practice, historically you could have generally grouped them into three categories:

  1. Compliance – Notably software compliance or threat of audit
  2. Efficiency – wanting to save or optimise spend
  3. Agility – The strategic competitive advantage of moving faster because you know what you have, where it is, how it is configured and how it is being used.

For the new decade, I predict Security to be a fourth and significant reason for organisations exploring IT Asset Management. Security has always been a partner and downstream beneficiary of good ITAM information, but I think the partnership is even more significant in the 2020’s as businesses become ever more digitised and share price, performance and profitability become inextricably linked with IT agility.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, IT is no longer just the guys and gals in the basement that fix your laptop, but is a critical thread that weaves its way through an entire fabric of a business.

As I write this, the Travelex brand is on its knees with the website offline for two weeks due to a cyber attack. Is it a coincidence that the parent company’s stock price is tanking past a 5-year low? With a business model delivered by IT, managing the assets that underpin it should be an absolute priority.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Guide for ITAM, suggests that those organisations addressing cybersecurity should consider ITAM, and in particular knowing what you have, where it is, and how it is configured – as foundational to CyberSecurity. Learn more here: 


I predict growth in the use of standards in our industry for ITAM departments who wish to demonstrate the quality of their services in the face of increased board level scrutiny and importance of IT infrastructure. I look forward to helping ITAM teams from across the globe come together to implement 19770 standards to drive our industry forward. See

Audit threat landscape changing

My final prediction for the 2020’s is the changing audit threat landscape. It’s dawning on the big four software companies that you can’t continue to pummel customers with audits and expect them to be a strategic cloud partner. We’ve seen publishers either back off from audits or rethink their approach. We’ve seen new vendors appearing as audit threats, and cloud audits are on the horizon.

I think we’ll see several companies either fold-in their cloud offerings or go niche under the pressure of the runaway economies of scale of Azure and AWS. Buckle in, it’s going to be quite a ride!

What do we do?

We published 140 articles in 2019.

However, we also –

If you want to get involved, share a topic that we’ve missed above or otherwise share feedback – please shout!

Retrospective – Last 12 months

Top 15 articles published in the last twelve months

  1. Oracle Java new licensing model
  2. Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop – Easy to deploy, difficult to price
  3. Snow’s Gartner halo slips, Flexera & ServiceNow ascendant in SAM Tools Magic Quadrant 2019
  4. Gartner create Cloud Management Platforms Magic Quadrant
  5. Microsoft take Azure sales direct from March 2019
  6. NIST Cyber Security Guide for ITAM
  7. IBM offload BigFix
  8. 2019 ITAM Salary and Skills Survey – The Results
  9. The ITAM Review Excellence Awards 2018 – Winners
  10. Oracle Cloud class action lawsuit – a deep dive
  11. IBM IASP – a new dawn for IBM licensing compliance?
  12. How Netflix over-deployed 10,000 instances in Amazon AWS
  13. This year’s biggest Microsoft licensing change (so far) – what you need to know.
  14. ITAM Process Automation Tools – Market Guide
  15. Dear Microsoft, please stop abusing the word “SAM”

Long term favourites – Top 10 most read in the last year published in the last 10 years

  1. Oracle to charge for Java from Jan 2019
  2. Oracle Java new licensing model
  3. Oracle Licensing quick guide
  4. IT Asset Naming Conventions
  5. Top ten licensing types
  6. Process of the Month – Joiners, Movers and Leavers Process
  7. Can you resell software licenses? The latest legal position in 2016
  8. Oracle on VMware – adding non-standard terms to your Oracle agreement
  9. Windows 10 Licenses: What You Need to Know
  10. Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Subscription Guide

Top 10 Countries by number of visitors

  1. United States (37.48%)
  2. United Kingdom (10.52%)
  3. India (9.57%)
  4. Australia (3.79%)
  5. Canada (3.17%)
  6. Germany (3.02%)
  7. Netherlands (1.77%)
  8. France (1.60%)
  9. Singapore (1.29%)
  10. Sweden (1.10%)

Top 20 Cities by number of visitors

  1. Chicago
  2. London
  3. Bengaluru
  4. Ashburn
  5. Sydney
  6. New York
  7. Melbourne
  8. Mumbai
  9. Chennai
  10. Hyderabad
  11. Pune
  12. Toronto
  13. Atlanta
  14. Los Angeles
  15. Dublin
  16. Paris
  17. Austin
  18. Kuala Lumpur
  19. Washington
  20. Warsaw

Top 5 Most Popular Podcasts

  1. Podcast Episode 63: “Classic ITAM won’t exist in five years time”, Deskcenter CEO Christoph Harvey
  2. Podcast Episode 59: The ITAM Review Radio Show, December 2018
  3. Podcast Episode 60: ITAM Radio Show January 2019
  4. Podcast 64: The ITAM Review April 2019 Radio Show – What percentage of the FTSE 100 is doing SAM?
  5. Podcast Episode 61: ITAM Review Radio Show February 2019

Market Place – Most Popular Market Guides

  1. Free inventory tools
  2. SAP License Management
  3. ITAM Automation Tools
  4. Salesforce Subscription Optimisation
  5. Secondary Software
  6. SaaS Optimisation
  7. Oracle verified Inventory tools
  8. IaaS Optimisation

Market Place – Most Popular Listings

  1. Nexthink
  2. Flexera
  3. Snow
  4. Matrix42
  5. License Dashboard 
  6. Ivanti 
  7. Eracent 
  8. Aspera 

Market Place – Most Popular Categories

  1. SAM Tools
  2. Asset Register

If you have expertise to share with our community – please give me a shout.

Thanks, Martin

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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