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ITAM in the virtualization era


Part 2: The past, present and future of ITAM

Livingstone Group recently joined The ITAM Review for an episode of its podcast to discuss ITAM, the cloud, and creating business value from ITAM. We covered everything from the origins of SAM, to the evolution of ITAM in the cloud era, to the (healthy) future of ITAM.

In Part 2 of this follow up blog series, I’ll take a look at the ever-changing nature of ITAM, especially in today’s virtual cloud era, and how this affects the likes of tools, governance, and licensing.  

And don’t forget to take a look at Part 1 to read about SAM’s origins and the evolution of SAM and ITAM tools and managed services.

ITAM is always evolving

As I mentioned in Part 1, there are still a significant number of companies who haven’t yet managed to crack the SAM/ITAM nut, with large enterprise organizations in particular still getting it wrong.

But it isn’t entirely their fault. After all, ITAM never stays the same as it continuously plays cat and mouse with a software and cloud industry that is more changeable than ever. With new complexities and problems arriving more often than not with the introduction of more innovative technology and cloud-based applications, it can be difficult to keep pace. As when things moved from hardware to software, now with cloud, we are experiencing another cycle of change.

Indeed, with the new processes, SaaS tools, governance models and subscription-based licensing that has come with disruptive cloud and virtualization tech, there has been a real change in dynamic within the ITAM industry. For many organizations, even those who had previously perfected their software estates with the help of ITAM, the rise of virtualization and the cloud has meant it’s back to square one when it comes to optimization and risk reduction. In addition, the same tools you used before for on-premise deployment inventory or licensing optimization, won’t work anymore – primarily because data now lives everywhere.

Indeed, it can be a difficult undertaking to keep track of all these new comings and goings, and for many, the impacts of this change, such a migration to cloud-based applications, are an afterthought. With the excitement of moving to the cloud, with all its capabilities and innovations, as well as potential cost savings, assessing the risks of such a move can often get lost in the melee.

In addition, the impact on other software investments you’ve made can also get put aside – but it shouldn’t be. Those investments aren’t going away just because you’re moving to the cloud, and for large organizations in particular who may still have a dependency on on-premise tech or data centers, then it’s an even bigger challenge to modernize without any hiccoughs.

It’s another learning curve – and we’re all in the classroom. And – as with software – making the wrong move when it comes to licensing or subscription-based agreements can lead to costly risks and mistakes.


Cloud has changed the game – but approach with caution

Crises, such as the pandemic, make organizations look for ways to tighten their belts and see where they can reduce costs. This is great news for ITAM, as organizations are investing more time and effort into making informed decisions that are best for their business. In this light, SaaS and cloud applications couldn’t have come at a better time, as it’s easier than ever to see an immediate impact on cost savings.

But organizations should be wary about the dangers that come with jumping with both feet into the cloud pool.

For example, from the publishers’ perspectives, they are more than aware that cloud applications are skyrocketing in popularity and, as such, are using this to drive revenues. This could come in the form of audits for on-premise estates that have been neglected in the rush to cloud, or in getting customers to sign a new on-prem agreement only to tell them they need to move to cloud ASAP.

In addition, whilst cloud-based technology can be fundamental to modernizing and transforming your business for the better with its cost savings, flexibility, easy-to-use applications, and reduced compliance risk, it’s vital that you don’t make a snap decision to make short-term gains with a long-term commitment. Indeed, it’s very difficult to extricate your business from an agreement once you’re signed up, and risks still abound and come in the shape of dramatic overspend and cloud sprawl. For instance, an organization might secure a significant discount for a three- to five-year contract, but it has far too much product that it neither requires nor has the resources to maintain.

At Livingstone, we’ve seen organizations make major multi-million-dollar investments without the resources, visibility and governance to measure usage, and no way to get out of a contract that doesn’t have flexibility in the proposition. While a dynamic billing model is beneficial here, for large enterprises with massive SaaS requirements, it isn’t as simple as switching off that subscription button. So, it’s key to think about the long-term implications of a move to cloud, especially since this migration is inevitable.

Indeed, we know that cloud technology has tremendous potential to transform how organizations operate and how they drive value – we’ve seen the benefits first hand, but we also see cloud agreements and estates go south all the time. Whether due to lack of resources, understanding or information, cloud doesn’t simplify things but instead makes things more complicated. With SAM, one tool would fit all problems, but now, with data living in thousands of different places, organizations might not even know what services they’re using and where they’re located.

So, be warned – there can be some nasty shocks in store for those that don’t approach the cloud with caution. But this is where ITAM can provide protection to make sure organizations get the most out of their investments and ensure they aren’t penalized for mistakes they often don’t know they’re making. ITAM more than ever is becoming a compelling part of any business using cloud technology, helping them to mitigate risks, optimize deployments and make significant cost savings.

However, there is more to ITAM than cleaning up messes after the fact. The perception of the industry is changing, as ITAM becomes an integral part of helping businesses to make the best decisions the first time around.

You can tune in to the full episode here, and keep an eye out for Part 3 of the blog series where we’ll take a look at why it’s important now more than ever that ITAM becomes and integral business asset.

To find out about how Livingstone can help your ITAM needs, please get in touch.



Simon Leuty, Head of Pre-Sales and Co-Founder

Simon sits on the Executive Leadership Team as Head of Pre-Sales and is responsible for the development roadmap of our client portal Livingstone Hub.

He has over 15 years’ experience of the Software Asset Management and Cloud markets, working closely with our growing customer base to help them take control of their software and cloud cost. Simon helps to eliminate unacceptable spend and enforce tight governance standards that keep them compliant, agile and secure.

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