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ITAM Forum opens: 'People just want to talk to other managers about how to defend against software audits'

IT asset management group aims to help users negotiate service deals, navigate software licensing

Representatives from Toyota, Danske Bank and Procter & Gamble are among members of a new professional body that aims to help IT user groups negotiate cloud service deals and software licensing with vendors.

The ITAM Forum aims to encourage more companies to practise effective IT asset management (ITAM) and to bring new people into the industry. It also has a mission to provide a global forum for those managing the assets to share ideas, horror stories experience with vendors and best practice.

Martin Thompson, founder and chairman of the ITAM Forum, told The Register the group was born out of efforts to create the ISO19770 standard for IT asset management.

“One of the reasons people have been interested in ITAM in the past is because they are sick of software audits and want to learn to defend themselves against audits, but there are lots of other reasons to get involved,” Thompson said.

The forum has said its two primary objectives are:

1. To educate and evangelise – to encourage more companies to do ITAM and to attract new professionals into the industry

2. To be a caretaker of the new organisational certification program to allow organisations to demonstrate the quality of their ITAM practices.

More general organisations can save money by having a stronger grip on IT assets, which can help them reduce costs and avoid job losses during the economic difficulty following the COVID-19 outbreak, said Thompson, who also led the Campaign for Clear Licensing.

Security and operational agility were improved with better asset management as it gives organisation accurate information about what they have to secure or re-platform to the cloud, for example.

“Ten years ago, people thought everything would be compliant in the cloud. Although software compliance is less of an issue, costs certainly aren’t planned. It is as complex as ever. Whether it's on the desktop, in the data centre or in the cloud, you’re looking at roughly 35 per cent waste across all of those platforms,” he said.

Another goal of the forum is to give user organisations a stronger voice in public debate over the IT industry by giving the media and researchers access to people who work in business and have direct experience of dealing with software vendors, for example.

It will also help them share experiences with each other. “People just want to talk to other managers about how to defend against software audits, sharing war stories or techniques of certain software publishers. Although there are obviously the constraints of NDAs there are certainly techniques, tips and tricks that people can share,” Thompson said.

Almost as long as there has been software, the industry has been plagued by what some see as sharp practice from vendors. Although its resources are limited, the ITAM Forum could help keep software publishers in check. ®

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