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We were thrilled to speak with Sherry Irwin for the latest episode of the Change Makers podcast. Sherry’s often described as a trailblazer, but AJ Witt rightfully (we think) suggests, she’s an ITAM ‘category definer’. 

Sherry is the well-deserved recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the ITAM Excellence Awards. After more than three decades working in the IT asset management profession and 11 years volunteering with the ISO ITAM Standards Committee, she remains incredibly passionate about this business practice and profession and the business value it delivers. 

What keeps her fire for ITAM burning?

“I’m in my third decade doing ITAM. Many people would get bored doing the same thing for that amount of time. But for me, and for others, things change so it stays interesting. But also, I know, for me personally, ITAM is one of the few things, in my experience, where you can deliver tangible value in a reasonable short period of time.” 

Sherry also enjoys the exposure to – and interaction with – different business areas inside and outside of IT and the benefits this brings on a professional level. 

“This provides not only great exposure to many disciplines but great exposure to the business overall. That is invaluable. There aren’t too many positions, in my experience, that give you that level of exposure in a business context.”

ITAM didn’t have a name in the 1980s

When Sherry started in ITAM, it didn’t really have a name. This was the mid 1980s. Sherry said most of her colleagues at the time could talk about the technical aspects of software but had little interest in the business side of software (contracts, terms and conditions, costs, etc.) And, because it was relatively new, Sherry gained knowledge through self learning and self teaching. “I was thrown into it.

Sherry reached out to Gartner with questions about managing software as an asset (“I’m not sure we used that vernacular then.”) and started to contribute articles to what became Gartner’s SAM research service. From there, she decided to focus on software asset management.

Moving to the future…

We asked Sherry, what are the biggest opportunities for ITAM professionals within the next three-to-five years?

“As there are new platforms, new technologies, to bring them into ITAM to have ITAM take responsibility for those, including cloud as a good example. Some of this is happening. The parallel in terms of the issues, practices, challenges are very similar. It’s a natural fit. As these newer technologies continue to evolve, to bring these in, and that will expand ITAM’s knowledge and expertise and that ties into career development, education, etc.”

Listen now to the full 18-minute podcast.

Hosts: AJ Witt and Jennifer Carr

 

Other episodes in the Change Makers podcast series: