ITAM Review Wisdom North America Hot Topic – What’s next re COVID-19?

During the recent ITAM Review North America Wisdom event, we hosted the Hot Topic – What’s next re COVID-19? Session. During this 30-minute interactive conversation we heard from attendees at the online conference and shared our thoughts on what we expect to happen in IT asset management following the global pandemic.

Whilst the subject for some may be getting (to coin an English saying) a little long in the tooth, the impact of the pandemic is not going away in the short term. Therefore, we took this opportunity to discuss our predictions for the near future and where ITAM will need to evolve to adapt in this very changed world we find ourselves.

Steve Waugh hosted our session and proposed a compelling question that provided the basis for our conversations:

Has the pandemic and the effect on the way we work, shifted the way ITAM should now be focused on the user, rather than in traditional terms on the asset?

Once we went into lockdown and businesses started working from home, we saw IT teams shift their focus to enabling users to work from home. This urgent priority ensured that organizations could continue business as usual and, in the UK in particular, has shown that working from home is effective.

In the US, working from home has been present for years, and that hasn’t changed during 2020. One participant let us know that they have a hybrid approach throughout their education institution; some classes are based online but there are also situations where students need to attend class – the same applies to their IT department. A mixture of their team manages hardware, and part of this role involves physically being present to ensure everything is connected and running smoothly, whereas other parts of the team focus on software and they can manage aspects of their role remotely. While the hybrid approach has raised concerns for which technologies the institution needs to utilize for both staff and students, the team is currently able to provide excellent support services to everyone.

Within License Dashboard we have seen some organizations who are currently playing catch up and struggling to understand what was installed and what is now being utilized companywide. However, adapting to the changes and managing your IT assets effectively is key to moving forward during and past this pandemic.

Vendors have still been submitting audit requests. Has anyone here been affected by this?

We have witnessed audits taking place over the last six months, and some session participants revealed that organizations have uncovered overspend in licenses due to panic buying, which, if not addressed, can become costly in the long run – this particularly applies to SaaS subscriptions. A complicated aspect of SaaS usage within America is that different states must follow different guidelines, and this can vary between vendors.

Are we seeing people heading back into the office?

As mentioned before, the US has worked remotely for years so the transition is a lot smaller than the EU, which faced a complete shift. However, depending on where you are based, our participants have seen an influx in the number of organizations deciding not to renew office leases. They understand that the organization is thriving from working from home and real estate will see a huge shift in where we work. IT specifically can be done from anywhere in the world, so does this mean global skylines will change as organizations increasingly offer more flexible working patterns?

One participant raised the concern that there could be a limitation here due to internet connection in rural places. The US has rural areas where it’s not worth providers installing high speed internet, but will this need to be addressed in the long run? Cell service is another subject – the service doesn’t reach all areas and boosters need to be utilized when you are in ‘dead’ zones.

Internet and cell service can take ten years to provide return on investment but for the foreseeable future, this needs to be addressed and all organizations will have to understand how they can enable customers in the new normal.

License Dashboard Recommendations

As the dust settles on the original lockdown, we are facing another 6 months of restrictions, but this doesn’t mean that IT gets put on hold. New projects are currently being planned or are about to take place and these are time consuming and involve different departments. Reassessing your organization’s software asset management processes and policies to ensure they are still relevant to this new way of working is essential to a software deployment that suits the need of your organization’s future – will you continue to work from home or will there be a move back to the office?

Organizations also face challenges with discovering data, employees need to access the VPN to ensure the installations are tracked and monitored. Taking an audit centric approach and going back to basics on compliance to ensure you are discovering all IT assets will help you understand exactly what needs upgrading within your environment.

Involving all departments across your organization will ensure your ITAM strategy is the backbone of IT changes and companywide deployments. Stakeholders are able to lean on ITAM teams to understand exactly what is needed and what can be retired to drive the business forward.

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Libby Bagley

Libby Bagley

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