The skills you need to maximise earnings in ITAM
Further to the publication of the 2022 edition of the ITAM Salary Survey, we sat down with Henry Lee, the MD of LISA, the provider of on-demand and live licensing and ITAM training (and part of the ITAM Review family) to get his views on which skills he recommended to maximise earnings in ITAM.
The 2022 edition of the ITAM Salary Survey was the 4th iteration of the survey. With a new survey undertaken every 3 years or so, we now have nearly a decade of change to look back upon and draw some conclusions/trends. With global inflation currently reaching levels not seen since the 1980s, I wanted to focus this article on the link between ITAM manager skills and the salaries they are able to command, in order to determine which skills ITAM managers should be nurturing to maximise their career and earnings potential.
Salaries are up. Is yours?
As a quick recap, salaries have continued to climb in ITAM, even despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the latest Salary Survey, average ITAM salaries increased 13-15% since 2019.
As Martin pointed out, “The overall rise in salaries is further indication of an ITAM skills shortage. People are staying in their roles for longer, salaries are increasing, it is harder to find people. There is also a clear loyalty to the profession. All of these factors highlight big risks for companies, since your star Oracle analyst for example could walk out the door at any moment.”
As a backdrop to all of this, ITAM’s status within organisations continues to improve. As a growing proportion of ITAM professionals report directly, or just one level below, the C-suite, this is another factor driving salaries upwards.
Which skills are needed to succeed in ITAM and maximise earnings?
The survey asked respondents which areas of expertise they wished to add to their skillset in the next 12 months. The following image reflects the distribution of the answers, with the larger sections representing those which came up the most.
I asked Henry to react to these findings, and to share his recommendations based on the courses which are proving the most popular among LISA users right now.
1. Cloud / SaaS:
As the largest section reported in the Salary Survey, this is clearly the biggest growth area for ITAM and an area where every ITAM professional should focus at least some of their education. The survey showed that those with datacentre and cloud skills tend to command higher salaries than those still primarily focused on ITAM’s traditional stomping ground of on-premises software. This change is to be expected as the IT landscape has changed. If you’re not upping your skills in this area, now is the time to ensure you don’t get left behind.
2. General License management:
License management remains the bread and butter of ITAM. When you get license management right it provides two benefits to the business:
- Direct cost savings in terms of reduced license spend
- Indirect savings by avoiding fines/audits in the future
By achieving these benefits – and demonstrating them clearly to your employer – strong license management skills will always be the foundation on which to build a long and fruitful ITAM career.
ITAM is increasingly gaining a role in an organisation’s cybersecurity posture. So much so that if ITAM is not involved, you are almost guaranteed to have gaps in your defence.
4. Best practices / ITAM principles:
Core ITAM principles will never go out of fashion. At the same time, as ITAM grows in strategic value and becomes more critical to the business, it must continue to adopt the latest techniques and strategies (see our recent FinOps Guide for ITAM Managers). Principles don’t change, but practical skills do. You cannot risk your knowledge becoming out-of-date, so it’s important to continually refresh your skills in this area.
5. Hardware lifecycle management (from HAM to ITAD):
While cloud may have reduced the number of servers in the datacentre, there will always be plenty of hardware for ITAM to manage. Traditional Hardware Asset Management isn’t going anywhere. As companies look for ways to become more sustainable, ITAD is also growing in importance as a core ITAM discipline.
6. Contract negotiation:
Vendor and legal management is a critical and unavoidable part of ITAM. LISA recently introduced a new contract management course specifically to address this need.
7. Leadership skills:
As numerous ITAM leaders will testify (many of whom will be speaking at Wisdom EMEA next week), some of the core technical skills of ITAM become less critical day-to-day as you move up the corporate ladder and become an ITAM leader. You don’t necessarily have to be technical to succeed in ITAM. The skills required at the higher levels tend to be more about stakeholder management, team building, governance etc.
Maximise earnings by going with the flow
As demonstrated by the Salary Survey and the demand shown for particular courses, those who continually train themselves in the latest technology trends are best positioned to command higher salaries in ITAM. As datacentres and the cloud take up an increasing proportion of the IT estate, those with skills in these areas are naturally commanding higher salaries. Looking to the trends of the future, areas like FinOps, ITAD and sustainability should be on your radar.
Core ITAM topics such as license management, contract negotiation, HAM, stakeholder management etc. will always be important in ITAM, but they are continually evolving so you cannot always rely on old principles. At the same time, executive-focused skills such as team building, talent spotting, exec reporting become more important as you climb the corporate ladder.
Ultimately, salary success is achieved by being as cognizant as possible of the skills you need at any given time in your career. You need to keep up with both the changes in the IT landscape as well as the specific skills required of your role at the time.
A career in ITAM can be fun, challenging and very fulfilling…and with the right training at the right time, it can also be a financially rewarding career too.