Your IT Asset Management (ITAM) practice is not immune from the current corporate focus on IT optimization, that includes both asset utilization and ITAM operations. This, along with increasing technology complexities on the radar, are influencing many of the ITAM trends for 2024.
So, where is everything heading towards? To help you navigate this landscape and stay on top of your game, this blog shares insights into nine of the key ITAM trends IT professionals need to be aware of and potentially focus on in 2024.
- Getting the ITAM “basics” right
- Understanding how IT complexity impacts ITAM complexity
- An emphasis on Cloud Asset Management
- An increase in software vendor audits
- A laser focus on asset optimization
- Increased use of AI-enabled ITAM capabilities
- Employee experience can’t be ignored
- Meeting Enterprise Service Management needs
- Make sure ITAM plays its part in corporate sustainability initiatives
Hold on tight as we delve in!
9 IT Asset Management trends to look out for in 2024
The demands on corporate ITAM capabilities seem to increase every year, partly due to the growing corporate reliance on technology and partly due to what it costs – and the continued corporate need for cost optimization, that includes enhance the IT budget.
The following nine ITAM trends will help your ITAM practice remain focused on and aligned with these ever-evolving corporate ITAM demands.
ITAM Trend #1 – Getting the ITAM “basics” right
For 2023, the focus was on formalizing ITAM practices. In 2024, there’s a need for organizations to ensure that, on the back of the formalization, they are also getting the ITAM “basics” right. But what do we mean by “basics”?
There are multiple dimensions to this point, including people, processes, and technology. It starts with having the right people to undertake ITAM tasks. This isn’t simply having the right skills and training; it’s also having the availability to give ITAM the attention it needs (and deserves).
From a process and technology perspective, there are general and specific “must-haves” that can’t be overlooked.
The general “must-haves” include having formalized and documented processes that are enabled by technology, perhaps even artificial intelligence (AI)-based capabilities.
In terms of the specifics, there are the core capabilities that every ITAM practice needs to execute against its responsibilities. These capabilities include:
- Asset Discovery capabilities across different environments, including cloud infrastructure.
- Inventory Management.
- Asset Lifecycle Management - from procurement to disposal
- Software License Management, including software optimization capabilities
- Service Asset Management, for the management of non-tangible assets such as subscriptions.
- Reporting and analytics.
- Vendor Management.
It’s important to note that being great in just one or two of these areas is not “getting the basics right.” Your organization needs to focus on strengthening its baseline across all of them.
ITAM Trend #2 – Understanding how IT complexity impacts ITAM complexity
For many organizations, ITAM has always been a complex IT Management discipline, especially without access to fit-for-purpose ITAM tools. Increased business and technology complexity and changes across the workplace scenario also add to this equation.
For example, business policies related to third-party services and employee personal device use (BYOD), especially when coupled with remote working, make both Hardware and Software Asset Management harder. Or the use of cloud environments and cloud-delivered IT services make for a more complicated canvas.
This added complexity not only needs to be considered and incorporated to the ITAM strategy, but it also makes the use of fit-for-purpose ITAM tools even more vital, including the ability to see a consolidated view of assets and the corporate position in a single view.
ITAM Trend #3 – An emphasis on Cloud Asset Management
While this ITAM trend is part of ITAM trend #3, it’s worth considering the impact of Cloud Management as a separate area to focus on. For example, there might be an ITAM need related to discovering, cataloging, and classifying cloud assets. There will likely be the need for specific Financial Management and optimization related to cloud, with auto-scaling not the only way to optimize cloud spend.
This includes Cloud Financial Operations or FinOps – a cultural practice and operating model that brings financial accountability and Cost Management to the variable spending model of cloud computing. It helps organizations align and synchronize their IT, Finance, and Business teams to enable better control and optimization of cloud costs.
ITAM Trend #4 – An increase in software vendor audits
The added complexity of ITAM and the continued post-pandemic financial uncertainty being felt by many organizations, including the software vendors themselves, will continue to increase the volume of software vendor audits.
Your organization can best protect itself from any adverse consequences of software vendor audits by:
- Getting the Software Asset Management “basics” right – from discovery through to Compliance Management.
- Running and documenting regular internal audits.
- Maintaining open communications with key software vendors.
- Understanding audit clauses in vendor agreements.
- Adequately preparing for software vendor audits, including audit response plans-
- Educating staff on the need for software compliance.
ITAM Trend #5 – A laser focus on asset optimization
Compliance is only part of the Software Asset Management need and opportunity. The other is asset optimization, with this also relevant to different asset types. This is the strategic management and planning of physical or digital assets to improve their efficiency, reduce costs, enhance performance, and extend their useful life.
The need for asset optimization was the number one driver for ITAM in the Deloitte 2022-23 ITAM Survey, where the top three drivers were:
- Cost optimization (cost reduction and avoidance) – 83%
- Reducing financial exposure from vendor audits – 60%
- Enabling greater visibility to ensure cost-effective and efficient management of IT assets – 54%.
While asset optimization might primarily focus on costs, it involves a systematic approach to evaluating, monitoring, and maintaining assets to ensure that they’re utilized effectively and deliver maximum value to your organization.
ITAM Trend #6 – Increased use of AI-enabled ITAM capabilities
ITAM, like other IT Management capabilities, can benefit from the use of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP)-based capabilities.
Specific example use cases of AI in ITAM include:
- Automating the updating of IT asset inventories.
- Identifying discrepancies or anomalies in IT asset data.
- Analyzing historical data to forecast future IT asset needs and trends.
- Predicting when assets may require maintenance or replacement to foster a proactive ITAM approach.
- Analyzing usage patterns to ensure that IT resources are utilized optimally.
- Identifying potential security threats to IT assets, including vulnerability assessments.
- Analyze large volumes of asset data to improve strategic ITAM decisions.
- Modeling different scenarios to assess the impact of various ITAM strategies.
- Automating the monitoring of software licenses to ensure compliance.
- Automating ITAM workflow processes.
ITAM Trend #7 – Employee experience can’t be ignored
Corporate IT organizations are increasingly being asked to improve employee experiences and productivity. Your ITAM practice has a role to play in this, too. By helping to ensure that employees have the resources and technologies they need to do their work, with these optimized for performance and availability (without compromising corporate IT security needs).
This can relate to hardware, software, and services. It also needs to reflect the needs of remote workers – for example, ensuring that procured laptops are portable and easy to use and have sufficient battery life.
The impact of ITAM capabilities can also be felt at different points of the employee lifecycle, with it vital that they streamline employee onboarding and offboarding. Or quickly respond to role changes through the appropriate delivery of the required hardware, software, and services in conjunction with IT Service Management (ITSM) personnel.
The cadence of technology refreshes also plays its part. It might be a balancing act where the ITAM practice wants to prolong the life of personal hardware assets to save money, but the adverse impact on employee productivity might prevent this.
ITAM Trend #8 – Meeting Enterprise Service Management needs
A good way to increase the value of your corporate ITAM capabilities is by extending their use to other business functions. In fact, ITAM capabilities are one of the most shared ITSM capabilities when an Enterprise Service Management (ESM) approach is adopted.
This was highlighted in the Axelos Enterprise Service Management Industry Report 2021, which found that ITAM was the third most shared ITSM capability after Incident Management and Service Request Management.
While Enterprise Service Management and the sharing of ITSM capabilities is often seen as an IT-push-based strategy, there will be instances such as ITAM where other business functions, such as Human Resources (HR) and Facilities, require assistance with Asset Management and optimization. Or corporate Internet of Things (IoT) devices might belong to different business functions rather than IT due to their funding. In both cases, ITAM practices and technology can be used to better manage these assets.
ITAM Trend #9 – Making sure ITAM plays its part in corporate sustainability initiatives
Corporate sustainability initiatives require IT organizations and their ITAM practices to play their part. While the link between ITAM and sustainability initiatives might not be immediately apparent, there are various ways in which Asset Management strategies and practices can help to improve your organization’s sustainability position. These include:
- Improving energy efficiency through asset purchases that reduce energy usage in data centers and office environments.
- Proving asset information that helps the organization migrate to cloud-based services designed with sustainability in mind.
- Prioritizing suppliers with sustainable practices.
- Supporting remote working needs.
- Reducing technology waste through responsible disposal, recycling programs, and increasing hardware longevity.
Hopefully, the above ITAM trends have you thinking about how your existing capabilities can mature or be improved to better meet business needs. Many of them will work better in unison, at least in part, rather than in a parallel fashion. For example, the ESM extension of ITAM capabilities will deliver more value if these capabilities have been optimized, perhaps using AI-enabled capabilities.
However, not every trend mentioned will necessarily be relevant or a priority for your organization at this moment, and it wouldn’t be advisable to try and work on everything at once. So, when entering this new year and planning your next steps, keep in mind both the state of your current ITAM strategy and your upcoming business goals.