A 4-stage communication plan to ensure ITAM buy-in!

If your organisation has stated IT Asset Management should be a topic to focus on in the years to come, and several stakeholders decided that investing in IT Asset Management will realise substantial benefits for short, medium, and long-term goals.

TIP #72 - January 2021: Battle a lack of ITAM awareness, and ensure buy-in with this 4-stage communication plan!

Currently, there is a shift towards individual app sales and licensing agreements being handled by individual employees rather than by organisations. End-users are likely to circumvent ITAM processes and might introduce auditable software into your environment. If your organisation did not have an ITAM strategy before, the IT Asset Manager may end up being branded as the person complicates things unnecessarily when addressing the risks that are introduced by this behaviour!

Getting organisation-wide buy-in is a very important aspect of implementing a successful ITAM strategy. To accomplish this, you need a communication plan. Drawing from experience, consultants at Softline Solutions defined the 4 stages of the ideal ITAM communication plan. By taking these stages into account, you can create ITAM strategy awareness and achieve widespread consensus.

Stage 1: Take stock and realise what issues need to be faced

When developing and implementing an ITAM strategy you need to be aware that colleagues might be very happy with the way things are going right now and that they are content with current processes. They are not aware of the positive impact ITAM can have on their part of the business and have no idea of the role they should be playing as part of a solid ITAM strategy. And how could they, if the topic of proper use of software, hardware, and digital content has never even been raised? A stakeholder analysis can help you focus your campaign.

Stage 2: Paint a clear picture and explain your vision
Based on the fact that many employees are unaware of ITAM related topics and the effect of a lack of processes, procedures and guidelines, you will very likely face resistance. Imagine starting a project where the focus lies on the implementation of processes, policies, and new ways of working. But you do not tackle the fact that most people will not recognise the actual value of this and are unable to identify any benefits. You will very likely end up being public enemy number one if you do not take your stakeholders by the hand.

Stage 3: Tailor your message to realise involvement and collaboration
Keep in mind that you need the buy-in of an entire organisation, from entry-level employees up to C-level, to realise your strategic ITAM goals. This means a cultural change is required and the overall mentality of the organisation needs to shift towards an appreciation of the positive effect of solid ITAM processes. This requires a lot of patience and above all strong people skills to get people involved and embrace the changes! Make sure employees understand how ITAM can have a positive effect on their own area of business. Define how ITAM processes relate to the specific business goals at C-level, in business units and for individuals, and show the value of implementing an ITAM strategy related to these goals. A clear business case addressing each stakeholder in their own language will make your life much easier.

Stage 4: Be good and tell it: How communication can contribute to success
Ideally IT(AM) policies need to be implemented to help reduce the risk of audits, possible non-compliance, IT security risks and unforeseen IT costs. It is crucial that these policies are communicated clearly to all employees within the organisation, and are supported and supervised at C-level. Try to set up an ITAM communication program that ensures the necessary PR to deliver the new ITAM strategy message across the board. A clear communication plan, devised together with internal marketing, will help repeat the all-important message of the new processes within the organisation. Even more important, communication is the best way to share the successes achieved and show the added value that has been realised by implementing an ITAM strategy. Showing how ITAM processes help achieve cost-avoidance is an important part of any communication plan.

By using these four stages as a foundation, you can build buy-in, keep your organisation interested in the ITAM topic, create more awareness for ITAM and, if you are lucky, empower employees to do their bit!