HAM: The comeback king?

21 March 2024
5 minute read
Best practice

HAM: The comeback king?

21 March 2024
5 minute read

While FinOps might be getting all the attention right now, Hardware Asset Management (HAM) has remained a powerful force. And with two Greatest Hits albums under its belt already, could this Comeback King be preparing to host its revival tour?

As organisations struggled to manage their IT hardware assets all over the world, the pandemic saw a modest revival in HAM’s public image. However, the expanding scope of HAM, and the drive for the digital employee experience, are two factors driving its resurgence today.

In a recent ITAM Forum webinar hosted by AJ Witt, a panel of experts shared their tips on how to reignite hardware asset management within your organisation. During “HAM – the comeback king!” we heard from:

  • Anne Watson: ITAM Solutions Architect, SHI International Corp.
  • Clint Lange: Director of Solutions Engineering, Iron Mountain
  • Michael Smith: Principal Product Manager for Hardware Asset Management, ServiceNow

Is HAM experiencing a comeback?

According to Michael, HAM hasn’t gone anywhere, but organisations have shifted HAM down their priority lists. With hybrid and remote working now the norm, IT assets are no longer within the four walls of an office building. So, it’s vital for organisations to focus on “knowing where their assets are, who has them, and maintaining that chain of custody”. If you’re not managing HAM, how can you manage anything else in your asset portfolio?

Anne highlighted how “COVID really shined a spotlight on how ill-prepared companies were when it came to HAM”. She also stressed that HAM doesn’t stop at the physical…it also “extends to the cloud environment”. Ultimately, HAM boils down to understanding who possesses your assets, what they are, where they are, and who is using them.

Clint emphasised the  growing customer demand for better asset management practices. While the focus has traditionally been on asset “recovery,” attention must also be given to prolonging the asset lifespan by reconfiguring or repurposing assets across different business areas. Organisations need to “enable collection and the repurposing of their assets”.

Business benefits of doing HAM well

Michael stated there is a need to “look at your asset data” and to have full confidence that it’s correct. It’s paramount to “know the state and status of the assets is accurate and having the organisation believe in that data”.

He further added that this asset data can benefit the entire IT organisation from every aspect such as finance forecasting, security ops, and risk inversion. The quality of data contributes to the quality of every other IT process.

Clint also pointed out that “disposal is important” and that we need to ensure there is a “positive workflow” and “positive collection” of assets as people leave an organisation.

Key tools and processes needed to get value from HAM

Michael advises that we should “start with the procurement side of things”.

He also added that “you need to align executive support”. If your CIO isn’t on board, that’s going to hinder good procurement policies.

Advice for reigniting HAM

So, how do you reignite HAM with your organisation? Our panel suggested:

  • Take the big wins. Big wins always start in the stock room. Know what assets you have, where they are, and their status.
  • Establish governance. Find out what your policies are and establish a single source of truth. Get data from other teams and  create a centralised repository of asset data.  
  • Focus on the inbound and outbound of assets. Understand the start and end of the asset procurement and lifecycle processes, consolidate vendors, and only use trusted vendors.

In summary, HAM is essential in today’s remote work landscape, as organisations recognise the need for comprehensive asset tracking and management. HAM, older than SAM and considered the birthplace of ITAM, holds significant value in a modern, distributed world. By embracing HAM and aligning executive support, organisations can optimise resource utilisation and mitigate risks, ensuring effective management of IT assets across diverse environments.

If you’re an ITAM Forum member, you can log in to access the on-demand webinar using the link below: On-demand webinar: HAM – the comeback king!

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