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IT asset mgmt.: Your certification could help your firm save money

Aug 23, 20044 mins
Asset Management Software

* What IT asset management certification could do for you

In a recent opinion column in Network World (see link below), I griped about the need for a technical certification for software license management since the options are getting so complicated these days.  Perpetual licensing.  Subscription licensing.  Utility “pay-as-you-go” licensing.  How is anyone supposed to know what is best for an enterprise?

It turns out there is an organization to help you deal with the challenges of asset management, and not only does the agency offer one certification – it offers four.

The International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) is the advocacy group and service organization for the IT asset management professional.  I learned from my discussion with IAITAM President Barbara Rembiesa that IT asset management is a profession, not just a side job.  Her organization exists to help educate and certify these professionals, and to promote standards and legislation regarding fair licensing and usage of IT hardware and software.

“IT assets are often a company’s second largest expense, coming behind the cost of employees,” says Rembiesa.  “It takes a knowledgeable professional to manage these assets wisely.”

IAITAM offers training and certification to help individuals and their organizations deal with everything from acquisition to disposal of hardware and software.  “With proper asset management tools and techniques, it’s possible for an enterprise to reduce its IT budget by up to 30%,” Rembiesa says.

The three individually obtained certifications offered are:

* Certified Software Asset Manager (CSAM) – focused on software license management, compliance, contract negotiations, and change management techniques.

* Certified Hardware Asset Management Professional (CHAMP) – focused on hardware licenses and agreement negotiations, maintenance contract management, lifecycle management, inventory and redeployment or disposal of assets.

* Certified IT Asset Manager (CITAM) – focused on software/hardware licensing, compliance, contract knowledge management, legislation, savings opportunities, and developing policies and procedures.

The corporate certification is:

* Compliance Audit Process Certification (CAPc) – focused on asset management best practices within the corporate structure.

IAITAM offers specific training that leads to the certifications above.  All training and the certifications are vendor-neutral, although the candidate will learn about various vendors’ tools for discovery, repository, metering and usage, and disposal. “We teach our students about the tools they can use to get the best return on their investment,” Rembiesa says.  “We help them figure out what kinds of licenses are best for their own situations.  We help them look at the usage of an asset, and to evaluate if they are spending money wisely.”

A good asset manager can save the organization significant money.  For example, many companies often over-purchase software licenses – typically by 10% to 15% – to ensure they comply with the license agreements.  Further, they may contract for maintenance and support that is underutilized.  “The key to managing your assets is in knowing what’s in your contracts,” Rembiesa says.  “You need to wade through the legalese to know how your hardware and software can be used, by whom, when, and how.  The vendor isn’t going to help you maximize your investment – it’s all up to you.”

Jack Blackburn of Northrop Grumman attended IAITAM training and used his newly-acquired asset management skills to identify contract errors and overlaps and underutilized assets that added up to nearly $500,000 in savings over five years.  Rembiesa encourages students to “look for the low hanging fruit” of cost savings in order to fund a more extensive asset management program throughout the enterprise.

While cost savings are always appreciated, many corporate executives also are concerned about laws and legislation that affect IT assets, including Sarbanes-Oxley, the National Computer Recycling Act, Title 17 of the copyright law, and others.  Even unintentional non-compliance with such laws can be costly. 

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the organization that audits companies suspected of using unlicensed software, has collected more than $15 million in settlements over the past three years.  That figure could well climb into the hundreds of millions, as Gartner predicts that 40% of all medium and large companies could be targeted for BSA audits in the next two years – four in ten companies to be audited – that’s a pretty high risk.  It’s time to get your house in order now to mitigate those risks.

IAITAM plans to launch a magazine called “IT Asset Knowledge” this fall.  If you’re interested in a free subscription, send your request to  Or, consider attending IAITAM’s annual asset management conference in Las Vegas this October.  Whether you get certified or just take the training, IT asset management is an important profession that will get you noticed by the CIO, CFO and CEO.

Linda Musthaler is vice president of Currid & Company.  You can write to her at