A while back, a new topic began in a group on LinkedIn specific to the development of an IT Asset Management Maturity model. There was quite a bit of discussion around members that wanted to participate, but an IT Asset Management (ITAM) Maturity model was, to the best of my knowledge, never established.
In Search of a Universal ITAM Maturity model
When I first saw this topic, my initial reaction could be summed up with one noise – “Hmm.” The task of developing a universal maturity model for IT Asset Management that could be applied to all organizations, across all industries is exceptionally ambitious, as I do not believe it is attainable. While ITAM does have some common foundations, I personally do not believe that a universal model could be, or even should be developed, for one main reason – ITAM is not a cookie-cutter.
There’s a standard cliché in ITAM: 80% process, 20% technology. Part of the difficulty with the 20% of technology portion is that in order for it to be universal, it has to also maintain a certain amount of ambiguity to accommodate existing or re-engineered processes that work for a particular organization. Lest a tool dictate the established or logically re-engineered/redesigned processes.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have been engaged on ITAM implementations and have been asked the same question: “Well, what do other organizations do?.” While I could go down the list of “What everyone else does”, the disappointing reality is that everyone else does what makes sense for their environment; therefore, there really isn’t an easy way to get around difficult decisions that need to be made. At the expense of sounding redundant – the “cookie-cutter” does not exist.
So how can a Universal ITAM Maturity Model be developed?
It’s not that hard: The Quickbooks POS Model
Let’s back out of ITAM for a moment and examine Asset Management as a whole. Asset Management is NOT simply tracking assets. AM is one of the most complex, proactive disciplines that any organization or government agency can undertake.
Locations, Employees and Departments, Vendors, Contracts, Vendor Catalogs, Vendor Management, Customer Management, Purchase Requests and Orders, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Asset Tracking, Inventory Management, Incident Management, Configuration Management and Request Management are only few of the many touchpoints that make up AM.
Can we find simplicity in the complexity of Asset Management? Yes! Is there a model we should be looking at?
So far, the best model for AM that I have seen falls outside of the corporate world and is affordably offered by a well-known company called Intuit. Their product, QuickBooks Point of Sale, is essentially developed for small businesses; however, it is ingenious from the perspective that it provides:
- Step-by-step guidance to essentially every basic business function
- Helpful guidelines and strategic tips when setting everything up
- Purchase Requests and Approvals
- Three-way matching between items received vs. PO’s and Invoices
- Inventory levels and Automatic re-order points
- Role-based security establishing segregation of duties
- Vendor and Contract / Warranty Management
- Immediate integration with Accounting software
- Built-in Reports and Ad-hoc Reporting Capability
Using due diligence and following the advice within the software, a small business owner can establish a solid Asset Management foundation from which their business can grow. After stripping off the branding, and taking the entire product down to its core fundamentals, it contains the foundations of Asset Management. After all, IT within an organization has been transformed and positioned as a “Business within a Business” – offering products and services to the organization; however, what many, if not most organizations struggle with is, What, exactly, are the costs associated to the Business of IT?
So, if QuickBooks POS is so “Intuit”-ive, why can’t everyone simply use this? Is there potential to implement this model/solution within much larger organizations? That’s the discussion for my next blog post…