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The importance of choosing the right ITAM partner


The need for software and cloud management has never been greater – spending on software and cloud solutions continues to rise in the changing world of work. With more people being empowered to make purchasing decisions, the ways in which we consume and deploy applications is continually evolving. This can make IT Asset Management (ITAM) an overwhelming task. Not only has the workload increased for the ITAM team but they play a more vital and strategic role, with more responsibilities than ever before.

A shortage of ITAM knowledge and skills available in the market – from best practices, program management and tools administration, to licensing expertise and data processing know-how – means that organizations aren’t always as well prepared as they could be. Many organizations are now augmenting in-house teams, with external resources to scale operations and deal with peaks and valleys in demand. Whether the need is for expertise in vendor renewals and realizing software cost reduction goals, advice on how to mitigate audit compliance risk and overconsumption of cloud, help in preparing for strategic high-value projects, or guidance on contract optimizations, there are many third-party organizations that offer technologies or services designed to help Procurement and IT teams take control of their software and/or cloud consumption, costs and risks.

But choosing the right partner for your organization’s ITAM needs can be a complex process. Below, we’ve mapped out an overview of important considerations to keep in mind when it comes to partnering for ITAM success.


Choosing the right ITAM partner

When choosing a partner, it is important that your requirements match the capabilities and focus of your chosen partner. Are you looking to engage their expertise for a one-off project such as an imminent audit for a specific vendor, or are you after ongoing advice on how to optimize your estate in the long-run? Whatever your requirements, make sure that your partner fits the bill and has the expertise and services to deliver.

There are many more factors to consider when choosing an ITAM partner, such as:

Partner agenda – It is important to be aware that some partners, like resellers, will have an agenda that may not be in YOUR best interest. They may have revenue targets with vendors and are being incentivised to upsell or cross-sell certain products or services – solutions and capabilities you may not need or be able to accommodate financially or practically. It is vital that you understand your partner’s internal aims, especially to gain leverage during contract renewal negotiations and walk away with an optimized deal.

Organizational goals – These include compliance, contract optimization, consumption management, and control of your software and cloud assets. Be clear on the objectives of your ITAM needs, as this will help determine the type of partner you require.

Capability – Take care to ensure you are clear about what you need in order to deliver on your objectives – does your partner provide the resources and expertise you need to realize your goals? Partner with someone who has your best interests at heart and can deliver on their promises.

Maturity & skills – ITAM is a combination of many different skills and knowledge, from consumption best practices to an in-depth understanding of software and cloud vendors. Organizations may have much of this in-house, but successful ITAM is a team game that requires input from a variety of different experts, especially those that have deep expertise on specific vendors that can be invaluable when defending an audit or supporting a renewal. So, consider what skills your team already possess and where their knowledge can be supplemented.

Incumbent technologies – Capturing and processing inventory data, calculating entitlements and being able to present these results to key stakeholders can play an essential part in effective ITAM. While many organizations may already have an inventory tool in place, they may not have the time nor skills to use them effectively – this is where a service provider can step in to take on some of the workload. What’s more, these external experts can help make the most of the intelligence that inventory tools produce, and provide decision makers with Trustworthy Data to inform their business decisions.

Vendor & platform focus – Most organizations will be using a variety of applications and software from a whole host of different vendors, from Microsoft to Microfocus. But it is important to keep your focus tight and prioritize which platforms (desktop, datacenter, cloud) and vendors will be in-scope – only then can you pick a partner that fits your specific needs.

Industry knowledge & benchmarking – It can also be helpful to consider how similar organizations to your own are going about ITAM – who are their partners and why? What are their best practices and how do they help the organization? Learning from others can often provide useful insights.

It also pays to keep non-instance data, entitlement management, software and cloud inventory normalization, and optimization advice & contract support in mind when choosing a partner.


Partnering for ITAM success

While there is no right or wrong answer for picking your type of partner, at Livingstone, we are a strong advocate of implementing a formal program to optimize and manage multiyear contracts for effective control of consumption, cost, risk and value. This is the most effective way for organizations – especially large ones with complex requirements – to get the most from outside ITAM guidance. With an in-depth understanding of software publishers and cloud service providers, a rigorous approach to data cleansing and normalization, and a thorough knowledge of licensing schemes and subscription models, having ITAM experts on board in a more permanent capacity will see long-lasting results.

At the end of the day, it is best to select a partner that reflects your goals, complements your existing skills and maturity levels, and ensures that you can prove their business value time and again.


For more information on how to choose the right ITAM partner for your organization, see our eBook guides, Partnering For Software Asset Management Success, Best Practice IT Procurement, and How to strike the optimal deal for your organization or please get in touch.



Author: David Gemuenden, VP Of North American Operations, Livingstone Group

David is a senior technology executive with over 20 years hands-on experience in developing strategy and vision for organizations that align IT solutions with business needs. He is well versed in setting clear goals and building team-based cultures of participation and accountability resulting in increased employee efficiency and loyalty.  David's technical and leadership foundations formed by years of experience in full lifecycle solutions architecture, marketing, delivery and support give him the breadth of experience combined with a track record of success.  He brings a unique perspective and has the ability to bridge customer requirements with business realities, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective organization.

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