Selecting the Right ITAM Tool and Service Provider

08 August 2023
6 minute read

Selecting the Right ITAM Tool and Service Provider

08 August 2023
6 minute read

The following article by James Bell, senior ITAM consultant at License Dashboard, explores the merits of taking a hybrid approach to your SAM programme by combining an ITAM tool/SAM tool with third-party support.


As businesses continue to rely heavily on technology, the importance of effective IT Asset Management (ITAM) practices has never been greater. ITAM enables organizations to efficiently track, manage, and optimize their IT assets, leading to cost savings, improved security, and enhanced productivity. However, one of the significant challenges faced by IT leaders when setting up a new ITAM practice, or expanding one that already exists, is deciding whether to utilize a 3rd party provider, invest in Software Asset Management (SAM) tools, or adopt a hybrid approach that combines both solutions. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of each option to make the right choice for your organization.

But first, let’s establish the average amount of time an individual or organization may spend on key ITAM activities, ignoring tool establishment and process creation.

Requirements…Times needed per year…Days per review
Microsoft License Positions45
Oracle Reviews55
Rationalization opportunity Reports15
Microsoft True Up/Renewals15
Infrastructure Deep Dives15
Hardware Asset Management Reviews15

… That is already 13 working weeks across 1 year, without audits.

Third-party providers

Outsourcing ITAM to a third-party provider can be an appealing option for organizations seeking specialized expertise and dedicated resources. These providers have in-depth knowledge of ITAM best practices, compliance requirements, and the latest technologies. By entrusting this critical function to an external partner, internal IT teams can focus on strategic initiatives, core competencies, and other mission-critical tasks.


  • Expertise: third-party providers are seasoned professionals in ITAM, bringing valuable insights and experience to the table
  • Scalability: providers can scale their services based on an organization’s needs, accommodating both small and large enterprises
  • Reduced burden: handing off ITAM responsibilities frees up internal resources, potentially lowering costs


  • Loss of control: outsourcing might result in reduced control over ITAM processes, leading to potential communication and integration challenges
  • Data security concerns: sharing sensitive asset-related data with a third party raises security concerns, necessitating thorough vetting of potential providers
  • Cost considerations: the expenses associated with outsourcing may not always align with the organization’s budget

Software Asset Management (SAM) tools

SAM tools are software solutions designed to streamline the management of software licenses, compliance, and usage. Implementing a SAM tool can provide IT departments with better visibility into their software assets and help them optimize licensing, reducing costs and ensuring compliance.


  • Greater control: implementing a SAM tool puts IT departments in the driver’s seat, allowing them to manage assets according to their specific needs and objectives
  • Real-time insights: SAM tools offer real-time data on license usage, compliance status, and software performance, facilitating proactive decision-making
  • Cost savings: improved software asset optimization through SAM tools leads to significant cost savings in the long run


  • Initial investment: acquiring and implementing SAM tools can require a considerable upfront investment, especially for enterprise-level solutions
  • Learning curve: integrating SAM tools into existing workflows may take time, and staff may require training to maximize their usage effectively
  • Limited scope: while SAM tools excel at managing software assets, they may lack features to address other aspects of ITAM, such as hardware assets or cloud resources

Hybrid approach: combining third-party providers and SAM tools

The hybrid approach aims to leverage the strengths of both third-party providers and SAM tools while mitigating their respective weaknesses. This approach allows organizations to customize their ITAM strategy by choosing specific elements from each solution.


  • Customization: organizations tailor their ITAM practices to meet their unique requirements by selecting the most suitable services from providers and tools
  • Comprehensive solution: integrating third-party expertise with robust SAM tools offers a holistic approach to ITAM, covering various asset types and management aspects
  • Risk mitigation: relying on both options creates redundancy and reduces the risk of complete dependence on a single solution


  • Complexity: managing a hybrid ITAM approach may be more complex than opting for a singular solution, requiring careful coordination and integration
  • Higher costs: combining third-party services with SAM tools might lead to increased expenses, depending on the extent of services utilized
  • Potential overkill: smaller organizations with limited asset portfolios may find a hybrid approach unnecessarily elaborate

Deciding on the optimal approach for setting up a new ITAM practice is a critical challenge for organizations, with each option presenting unique benefits and challenges. The decision ultimately depends on factors such as the organization’s size, budget, existing expertise, and specific ITAM needs. Regardless of the chosen route, the fundamental goal remains the same: ensuring efficient management of IT assets to maximize their value, mitigate risks, and achieve long-term success. Engaging with an organization who has 20 years’ of experience in the ITAM industry, working across different industries and time zones, is your best place to start. Discover License Dashboard SAM Essentials and how it can help you with these challenges in three simple steps.

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