IT Asset Managers Need Strong Communication, Admin Skills: Gartner

Communication capabilities are the most important skill set for IT asset management teams, but administrative, legal and financial skills are also key.

Recruiters looking for qualified IT asset managers, or ITAMs, should consider six key skills required to do a job that is ever increasing in complexity, including augmented financial, commercial and legal skills, according to IT research firm Gartner. Communication skills, including the ability to negotiate organizational politics, should be the top priority when recruiting for ITAM, the report said, as the ITAM discipline is embedded across all aspects of IT and is part of everyday IT activity.

Communication with external contacts, including vendors, auditors and consultants is critical, and ITAM staff should also be required to communicate effectively with staff and management at all levels of the organization in writing and verbally, the Gartner report said. IT asset managers also must advise senior management of potential risks, provide input into decision making processes, and collaborate with other teams in the organization, such as human resources, IT security, internal audit and privacy.

"Good communicators are often good negotiators, and effective communication skills will ensure that ITAM can build the important relationships with the finance, legal, procurement and technical specialists (such as enterprise architects) required for an effective ITAM team," Victoria Barber, research director at Gartner, said in a statement regarding the report. "To meet future challenges, ITAM requires solid skills and experience in these key disciplines, and will need to strengthen its relationship with specialist teams. Critical to ITAM's ongoing success is effectively leveraging existing cross-silo expertise (for example, that of finance, legal and procurement) to ensure active engagement and collaboration with ITAM."

The other five critical skills that should be required for ITAM applicants were ranked in order of importance and include technical, administrative, financial, negotiation and legal skills. Technical skills incorporate knowledge of hardware technologies and software licensing models, as well as an understanding of software delivery models and metrics. Attention to detail, organizational skills and the ability to follow established processes were all considered key components of administrative skills important for ITAM teams. €œIndividuals recruited into these roles for their administrative and organizational ability have the potential to learn ITAM-specific skills, such as license management, and can be developed into more specialist roles as the ITAM discipline matures,€ the report stated.

Asset management teams must also understand the basic principles of financial management and work with finance to carry out financial analysis and develop financial models, as ITAM changes from an inventory management function to a more strategic financial management role. The art of negotiation also comes into play for ITAM teams, including competitive bidding and leverage points and general knowledge of the supplier negotiation process. Finally, legal skills are also important for ITAM staff, including an understanding of noncompliance risks and work with management to avoid scenarios that could compromise compliance or cause contract breaches.

"Organizations may have conflicting views on the importance of different skills, so it is vital to clearly define near- and long-term ITAM objectives, and consider the challenges involved. ITAM role profiles should take account of current and future needs for skills and experience to manage an ever-changing environment," Barber€™s statement concluded.