The essence of TAM (Technology Asset Management) - a series on asset management solutions

January 31, 2019 Ben McCullom

#1 in the TAM basics series

What is TAM? TAM was formerly known as ITAM or Information Technology Asset Management.  Technology is no longer just IT assets as more and more we see other technology assets coming online in every organization. Traditionally ITAM assets included devices such as servers, workstations, laptops, mainframes, all configuration items including software - things managed by IT. With IoT (Internet of Things) technology is pervasive in many things outside of traditional IT. We see it in HVAC, Sensors, Web Cams, medical devices, etc., which different areas of the business can own, all now connected to the internet and these devices. Nlyte has expanded this term to TAM or Technology Asset Management based on the capability of our solution - capabilities that allow us to be agnostic to the type of technology device or operating system that an organization may own.

Such groups as The Gartner Group believe that you need to draw ALL the information on all your organization’s technology assets and their current configuration items from a single, trusted unified and normalized source. We do as well.

TAM for technology is much like MRP (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_requirements_planning ) is to manufacturing. Imagine a company that builds and sells products and in the course of doing so has no control over the parts, sourcing or inventory of the components of those products. What assembly line could continue to operate if even a minor component is not available, or the inventory cannot be found during the build process? The assembly line would shut down until the part is supplied and what if the same part had not been through QC as a result of the emergency and was defective. A good MRP system ensures good effective production results. In the use of all our technology we face a parallel problem - if we do not understand what we own, how it is working, what it contains, lifecycle, who is using it and all the associated costs of technology, the organization runs a significant risk of the system becoming unstable. TAM is the cornerstone to the success of technology in any operation.

The only right way to build your house, or a skyscraper for that matter, is to have a solid, single, trusted foundation capable of withstanding all of nature’s power. It’s the same for TAM – if built on 2 or 3 or 4 different independent data sources, it will surely get out of sync very quickly – and will soon cause the type of inaccuracy or lag that will resonate throughout the infrastructure or the projects relying on the data to form accurate information.

The Technology Asset Baseline is the principal repository, first and most critical component to any asset management endeavor and must be cost-effective to implement and maintain. While there are thousands of identified use cases for this data in the infrastructure (we will cover this in a separate conversation) we at Nlyte are in complete concert with The Gartner Group. The primary design goal of our solution is to collect, memorialize, normalize and present the essence, in part or whole, of your technology in a single trusted and up-to-date source – The Technology Asset Baseline.  The Baseline supplies specific information to all use cases and the infrastructure at large, i.e. ERP, HR, Cyber Security, CMDB, etc. along with the projects that are ongoing at any given time. In our next segment, we will define The TAM Baseline in detail.

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