The Importance of Communication and Education in ITAM
I felt like I needed a bit of a break from ITSM. So I thought, why not write something on a super sexy subject? Then I decided to write about ITAM. Communication and education is often overlooked within the ITAM sector (and ITSM for that matter). There may be a number of reasons for this such as a lack of resources, lack of time, or even a lack of ITAM support within an organization. However the communication and education of ITAM is one of the key factors of a successful ITAM program.
If you think about it, everyone within the organization is a customer of ITAM. The use of a computer, laptop, server or tablet all point towards ITAM. Therefore, every employee is a customer of ITAM. For this reason, communication and education is an extremely important part of a successful ITAM program.
With all aspects of a business, communication is a critical factor towards achieving success. Firstly, communication can be limited to senior members of staff and managers with end-users never being informed of changes, which is obviously not a positive message to send out. That said end-users do not want to be bombarded with irrelevant information about a piece of software or license that they don’t even use. The level of communication should be judged on what the information is, and who would be interested or impacted by the change.
It is vitally important to communicate any changes with an ITAM program or structure to ensure that the ITAM’s program continues to be a success. Any changes to processes, policies or procedures need to be communicated fully with all members of staff to ensure that the changes are understood and followed. It is also important to communicate any changes to the software or software licenses that end-users are using. If they are not told of any changes then they may be unwittingly breaking compliance or copyright laws.
The goal is to ensure that every member of staff knows exactly what is happening within the ITAM program. It keeps end-users updated and informed, which ultimately will help the ITAM program to be successful. It also helps refresh the organizations knowledge of the ITAM program and also helps remind end-users that there is a structure in place.
It may be the case that ITAM processes have become business as usual (BAU), so it’s a good opportunity to remind users of the ITAM program and refresh their memory. Don’t be surprised if at first when you say the word “ITAM” everybody looks at you a bit funny…
Effective communication is a key asset to an ITAM program (and an ITSM one of course). It’s benefits can range from internal goals such as keeping up-to-date with the latest licensing models to ensure that licenses and budgets are being utilized, all the way up to legal factors such as license terms and conditions being adhered to and ensuring there are no copyright infringements.
Organizations should be communicating with users about the ITAM program on a regular basis to ensure that there is an awareness of the progress being made, why you have an ITAM program, and what potential changes are in the pipeline. Communication within ITAM is an exceptionally important part of the ITAM program. It can make the difference between successfully having an ITAM ethos within the organization, or a free-for-all with a distinct lack of ITAM knowledge, awareness or structure. It could also result in the difference between being compliant or under licensed.
There are a number of methods that help provide education about ITAM to end-users. Internal ITAM workshops are one of the most common forms of education that an organization participates in. These workshops are split into sessions that each has a dedicated subject matter. This can be done face-to-face or even over video. Creating documentation for the internal intranet or SharePoint site is another common form of ITAM education. As long as the documentation isn’t too long, or too complicated then users will be able to absorb information at their leisure. Organizations also use this method and form of education to educate new starters.
Having an ITAM centered intranet or SharePoint page allows an organization to put all of their ITAM documentation in one place, including education documents and ITAM processes, policies and procedures A really positive outcome from educating end users about ITAM is the fact that they have an understanding of ITAM and its concepts. End users become more aware about the internal ITAM processes and become more licensing ‘savvy’.
Instead of demanding a piece of software, you’ll find that the user will take the licensing factors and costs into consideration before following a dedicated software acquisition process. End-users will also be ‘on your side’ rather than having the feeling like ITAM is against them and just there to stop them accessing or purchasing software. During the recycling of software process users will be more approachable and honest when you enquire about their software usage.
Providing an education can also result in savings. Being aware of changes within the ITAM space, especially software licensing models or licensing changes can provide an organization with substantial savings on software. Once end-users have been given basic ITAM training, their mentality can change from ‘I want the best version of this application’ to ‘I could actually do what I need to do with a free piece of software’ (at this point you can throw a fun party in the IT department).
There is a massive argument for communicating and educating users. There are no negatives from following this practice. The importance of ITAM within an organization is evident from an IT perspective, but educating and communicating its importance with all end users will help the ITAM program no end.
Employees will understand why you have an ITAM program in place, what the benefits are to the organization (and themselves) and also they’ll be able to understand the importance of ITAM. It will help streamline processes and help the ITAM program progress quickly and efficiently. Finally, it could save a lot of money on software and hardware spending. Happy days right?
Posted by Joe the IT Guy