We recently spoke with Justine McSweeney who is the IT Asset Manager at Volkswagen Financial Services (UK). She is also the 2020 ITAM Excellence Awards ‘Rising Star’ winner. Justine kindly participated in the Change Makers podcast series. She shares her experiences in the world of ITAM and provides advice and inspiration to others in the early stages of their ITAM careers.
Justine started her career a long way away from ITAM – filing paper, financial contracts, for new Volkswagen car purchases. After 31 years with the organisation and various role, an open and honest conversation with her manager about what was next opened the door to ITAM. She wanted a new and challenging role she could own that would enable her to contribute and deliver business value.
Says Justine, “It’s been a huge learning curve and still is. I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it, and I love the ITAM journey I’m on.”
Here are a few things we spoke with Justine about.
You started working in ITAM two-to-three years ago. Where did you start? How did you know what you needed to do and go about doing it?
For the first six weeks, I focused on understanding the ITAM language and what it’s all about. I’m not technical, and I don’t have a technical background. I spent quite a bit of time using Google – we were best friends for six weeks.
What was one of the first things you did?
License re-harvesting. I found that some of our colleagues had software licenses for years but never used the product. I explained the situation to my management team…what a particular allocation was, how many people were using it, how many people weren’t. We agreed that we would remove licenses and the criteria for doing so. I then worked with our SAM team at our HQ and agreed guidelines and a process to put this into place.
This is an exercise I continue to do on a monthly basis. I track the number of re-harvested licenses per product and how much potential new license spend is avoided, and I report this to the C-suite.
How have you built such strong relationships with stakeholders across your organisation?
I did some stakeholder mapping training, and I’ve spent time identifying my stakeholders and how to best engage with them. I’ve actually gone out to each and said, “You’re on my stakeholder map. I need you because of X, Y and Z, and you need to please tell me how you want us to interact.”
I refer to this map every time I type an email or set up a meeting and work out where this stakeholder ‘sits’ on my map, how they want to interact with me, etc. This has really helped me to engage in the right way with the right people at the right time.
I would encourage everyone to create a stakeholder map and to understand what it is that you really want from each of your stakeholders and vice versa. Don’t just look at it one way…look at it from both ways. Agree with each stakeholder what you’re going to give them, when and how.
We cannot do what we need to do at the level we need to do it if we’re not engaged with our stakeholders.
What keeps you motivated and excited about ITAM?
I’m having conversations with people I never had conversations with before. I’m speaking with them about, and understanding, why they need a license for a particular tool and what they are aiming to achieve by using this tool.
That’s where my motivation comes from. Building relationships and helping others.
What would you tell people about ITAM to encourage them to pursue an ITAM career?
If you have an analytics background or interest, ITAM is for you. We find and review data and use it to make things better. That could be from a cost, security, risk or environment perspective. Until we have that level of data, from digging into the information, we’re not going to be able to make a difference.
I would encourage everyone who is even just a little interested in ITAM to have a conversation with the ITAM Manager in their organisation. See what it’s all about. It’s a great journey to be on.
Lance Giles, who leads the team that won the ‘Implementation, Team, or Project of the Year’ award at the 2020 ITAM Excellence Awards, is also featured in a Change Makers podcast. Read his blog, and listen to his 14-minute podcast.