An Absolute Minute with Keith Rupnik of IAITAM

By: Absolute Team | 11/22/2010

We had the privilege to interview Keith Rupnik from the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), where he's responsible for the development of new content and training. We talked about where he thinks IT asset management is going, about the management of Apple products, and about what the challenges are with allowing employees to use their own data devices.

What do you see as the biggest challenges IT asset managers will have in the next 1-5 years?

Challenges will come from multiple fronts. Asset managers will continue to be challenged at getting their Program adopted within their own organizations .

Consumer driven technology choices are influencing an organization’s adoption of IT and will continue to assert even more pressure on IT departments. This will challenge an asset manager’s IT standards which will put more emphasis on exceptions within the acquisition process.

Cloud services will be another pain point. Asset managers will be presented the challenge of compliance and financial spend for services where the only footprint on a client computer is the web browser.

What kind of growth have you seen in the adoption of using Macs in enterprises?

Industry reports claim adoption rates of Mac are increasing both personally and in businesses. With that said, Microsoft still remains by far the most prevalent desktop / laptop deployment. But, adoption is higher in some industries such as education and life sciences. I believe the challenges for asset managers will not be the adoption of Mac desktops and laptops, but mobile devices and cloud services. The iPhone has caused quite a commotion in IT departments worldwide.

As an IT administrator, why is it important to manage Apple devices as well as the PCs in your organization?

For the same reason it’s important to manage any asset – financial and risk. The IT Asset Management (ITAM) Program must establish criteria for determining if an asset should be managed. This criterion takes into consideration the total cost of ownership and the data on the asset. Certainly in many if not all cases, Apple devices will meet this criterion. Also, there is the impact on the organization’s infrastructure such help desk, network administration and security. So the asset manager must be ahead of adoption in order to understand the impact the device will have on  infrastructure.

In regards to ITAM, what are the top 5 things IT should consider when including Macs into their environment?

  1. What value does the device bring to the organization? Be prepared to discuss this in terms of both hard and soft dollars.
  2. How is the device supported, if at all? Some organizations have allowed individuals to use Macs but support is limited or does not exist. If limited support or no support is given, what is the impact of the productivity of that individual?
  3. What are the security risks?
  4. How is total cost of ownership calculated?
  5. What’s different about software licensing, maintenance contracts and warranty for Macs?

How do you see the consumerization of IT, allowing employees to use their own computers and mobile devices for work, changing the role of the IT asset manager and how they do their jobs?

This is both good and bad. The bad news it can tax IT standards within the organization. A homogenous environment is much easier to manage than a heterogeneous environment. But, ITAM is not about making life easier for the asset manager or IT. It’s about ensuring IT is working for the organization.

The good news is as work life and personal life morph into one, so does the individual’s IT devices. This means one smart phone instead of two, one laptop instead of two, one tablet instead of two. Also it is believed that allowing end users to choose the platform they’re more comfortable with increases that individual’s productivity.

I strongly believe the asset manager, IT or the organization, cannot control the adoption of technology. However, the asset manager must have the processes and policies in place that enable the adoption of these consumer products in an efficient manner with no surprises. So for example, what is the asset management group in your organization doing now in preparation for the adoption of Apple’s iPad?

This implies a strong acquisition process and the ability to track these assets in a way to allow for meeting compliance requirements and understanding the costs of the asset.

Is consumerization a good idea in your opinion?

In my opinion, yes! I’m thankful for not having to carry two phone and two laptops. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job. I’m mixing my personal life with my work life seven days a week.

If you could have one ITAM super power, what would it be?

My super power would be the ability to change people’s minds.

Us too, Keith! Thanks for the interview! Stay tuned for more Absolute Minute interviews coming up!

Financial Services