SAM Insight: ISO 19770-1: 2017 – where are we, and where do we need to go?


iso 19770

What has been the impact of ISO 19770-1: 2017 and could the changing nature of IT expenditure alert organizations to the value of best-practice ITAM?

By Rory Canavan, SAM specialist at ITAA

In 2017, the much-awaited revision to the ISO 19770 family of Standards was re-launched, specifically ISO 19770-1 – the Standard concerning itself with processes. For those with a keen eye it was almost as if the Standard itself had been to a boot camp! The number of pages had shrunk from 90 pages to 46.

Had Software Asset Management in 2017 become less significant? Had it become easier?

No, and no again!

What the authors (Dave Bicket, Jintaro Shinoda and Yoshinori Takahashi) of the revision sought to achieve was to provide a Management Systems Standard Framework which could be applied to IT Asset Management.  Notably there are two key differences from its 2012 predecessor:

  • The first distinction is that we are now acknowledging that hardware (and components thereof) plays an active role in determining license consumption. So ISO 19770-1 is now focused on IT assets, not just software assets.
  • Secondly, Management System Standards also call for a Statement of Applicability to be created in support of their implementation, and this means we have to qualify the scope to which we are applying our ITAM efforts. This offers quite a departure from the 2012 version, as it was much more descriptive of what IT practitioners should be doing to achieve good SAM.

How is the 2017 version of ITAM doing?

  • ISO 19770-1 suffers when compared with its other Management System cousins, insofar as it is unadopted. This means that no one organization has approached the ISO and asked to govern the assessment, training or certification programs required to make this discipline worthy of an ISO branded certificate. At this time, it is industry-based pressures that are driving ITAM, not so much the ambition of achieving a certificate on a wall.
  • The new standard is quite a culture shock for those devotees of the 2012 standard. The new standard requires organizations to determine their own business and IT goals, and then get their SAM processes to answer those IT and business goals – the brain ache is real!
  • ITAM is still being driven by the need to reach license compliance, but a change on the horizon is rapidly approaching. The uptake of as-a-service software is forcing IT expenditure from CAPEX to OPEX, which in turn, is placing IT expenditure on the Profit & Loss sheet of companies: IT expenditure is hitting the bottom line. Consequently, the requirement to demonstrate value for money is climbing up the corporate ladder.

How could ISO 19770-1: 2017 help?

  • Set one of your business goals to be “competitive advantage” or “value for money” and all of a sudden making the most of what you have from an IT point of view means that rubber stamping purchase requests becomes unacceptable behavior. Asking “why” you have software installed rather than asking “what” software is installed becomes the new normal.

In my opinion, I don’t think enough has been made of the potential value the new ISO 19770-1 Standard can deliver to organizations, but the tide is beginning to turn. As greater cloud adoption forces organizations to be mindful of their monthly and quarterly software spend, the idea of lean IT will act as a benchmark for those organizations that are run well, versus those that think producing ELPs is a job well done.

If you want to refine your organization’s ITAM processes in alignment with your IT and business strategies our SAM specialists have the knowledge and expertise to support you. Please feel free to contact us for an initial discussion.

More information on the ISO 19770-1: 2017 Standard can be found on the ISO website.

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