Cloud Asset Manager – A New role for ITAM?

I recently published a blog on LinkedIn (which you can find here) where I spoke about the IT Asset Management Skills shortage and whether it’s a bigger problem than we think. I had some positive feedback and messages, but one stood out.

“Do you think that the skills shortage within our industry will be further magnetised once we start to see the emergence and demand of Cloud specific ITAM professionals?” Interesting point – could we see a new wave of ITAM professional primarily focused at Cloud Asset Management?

We’re looking for…

“…an IT Asset Manager with expert knowledge of software asset management and lifecycle management, hardware asset management, procurement of IT assets, licensing knowledge to expert levels for Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Oracle and also experience and expertise in Cloud Infrastructure.”

The person above is a huge rarity and will command an awful lot of money. That’s taken from an actual job role I found online whilst researching for this blog. It’s interesting that the Cloud element is creeping into job descriptions for ITAM/SAM professionals.

It’s completely right – Cloud spend and licensing (to BYOL or not to BYOL? That is the question?) should fall under ITAM and an IT Asset Manager. But are some companies expecting too much from a single person?

Arguably, management of Cloud spend and general governance from an ITAM point of few could be a full-time job for large organisations with a heavy investment in Cloud and a lack of process to govern spend and licensing. It can also be a complex environment and one that takes time to understand (not only for ITAM but the Dev/Architecture team who use it!) fully so that you can tailor your Cloud based ITAM processes accordingly.

Behold! The Cloud Asset Manager (CAM)

Firstly, the Cloud Asset Manager will obviously be abbreviated to CAM because we all love an acronym. Secondly, I envisage the Cloud Asset Manager solely focusing on Cloud compliance, optimisation, governance and risk.

It’ll be a really interesting and ‘cool’ job and a far cry from what some people say as ‘backwards thinking SAM fuddy-duddies’ who focus on desktop and server based SAM and use traditional methods to do so (not the case in my eyes – whatever works for you & your organisation works, regardless of how ‘ground breaking’ and forward thinking the approach is).

I can see the job role being a gate keeper for Cloud services, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for migration projects and how it’ll impact licensing and spend and someone who can optimise and control existing expenditure on Cloud services.

They can provide guidance on whether BYOL is the best option, or if you should just buy a license with a Cloud instance. They can look at strategy – what’s the organisations Cloud plans for the next year, three years, five years? How will that impact their existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, for example?

The role will work closely with your Architecture and DevOps teams, and will have links in to IT Security, Procurement and HR – much like existing ITAM professionals. It will also be a ‘feeder’ of information to the CIO and Leadership teams with regards to data, costs and forecasts (again, like existing ITAM professionals).

Is this role really required?

Are we too soon saying we need a dedicated Cloud Asset Manager? Absolutely for organisations who haven’t got a great deal invested in Cloud technologies or who haven’t even got their ITAM function in place.

But for more mature organisations with a ‘Cloud First’ approach and significant investment, a Cloud Asset Manager makes sense. Even now, one of the first questions a good ITAM Consultant should ask is “can I see your Cloud billing and who’s in-charge of governing our Cloud infrastructure?”

A dedicated resource can control and optimise your Cloud instances resulting in no nasty licensing or billing surprises. Lastly, but by no means least, they can also ensure the processes are in place to ensure that Cloud governance and optimisation practices are followed, and the right approvals gained.

 

So ITAM folks, get learning about the likes of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud because there might be a slight twist in your career path in the near future!

 

As ever, a cogent piece from the mind of David Foxen – if part of your cloud solution is a component of structured IT services, then you can read from our whitepapers page how to track deployments and costs with a paper entitled “Using SAM to Create and Maintain your CMDB”.

56 Ormkirk Street, St Helens
Merseyside
WA10 2TF