Is communication a valuable tool for Asset Managers?

You know what one of the easiest things to miss is in an Asset Management program? Communication! This might seem like a shock to some of you, so let me take a moment to explain a little bit further. After all, you talk to all kinds of people in and out of the organization every week while helping to find bits of data, or working to deliver on requested items, how could you be missing out on communication?

I want to start with being clear about what I mean by Communication in this context. While we might pick the easy stuff – and tell ourselves we’ve got it all handled because we give the boss a report every week, or that we really make a great presentation on total spend for the annual budget preparation activities which helps our organization make annual plans . And while those are very important, they really aren’t what we’re looking for here in the bigger view.

IT Asset Management is a business problem branded as an IT problem. Most of you have heard that before. But if we take that lesson, and really think it through, I bet you can start to see some of the other areas we might be able to help ourselves, and the business by rethinking our communications.
Establishing standards, communicating expectations, and providing avenues for questions and helping provide regular updates can make a major difference to how our team is treated in the organization, by leaders and coworkers alike, and really help the organization meet its goals too.

Let’s pick one area to start: What’s the one of the big ongoing challenges for any asset team? “Uncontrolled” spend ring any bells? People using their department budget on software or hardware outside of official IT purchasing channels? Whether it being by folks running down to the local electronics store, or business supply store, or just doing a simple online order – all those retailers have made it their mission to reduce friction in the buying experience – which means that our organization is probably buying way more things than they want to admit to because it’s easy and they think nobody cares since it falls into an expected budget item. We all know this can lead to waste and really increase risk. So how does communication help address this? My stance is this - if we setup a routine communication plan, we can start to knock down the unexpected transactions, and funnel it into the expected channels.

It’s worth remembering that many business leaders and departments outside of IT don’t realize that every time they need some software or hardware they might be able to actually get what they need while staying within the established corporate guidelines, and there’s a good chance they don’t have to pay for it out of their own budget. Honestly, these folks probably barely realize there are corporate guidelines in place for this kind of activity. This is where our communication journey as Asset Managers starts.

How do I get started? By building out a published location that is easy to find and easy to navigate to host all the Asset Management standards is really item number #1 (ok, maybe #1b. Defining those standards should be item #1a.) Don’t overthink this – just get a page one one of the internal portals your company is already using - doesn’t have to be fancy initially, it’s more important to get them a place to go first. Once those standards are available, make some more friendly summaries and work with our other IT teams on how and when to talk to other IT folks but also the different business teams. Help them understand our role in the organization, and how our work helps the bottom line. Ask for their help. Ask for where you can help them. Many of these groups are not going to have any understanding initially of the risks they introduce accidentally by skipping out of the corporate policies & procedures. Communicating with them on a routine basis, via channels like emails, corporate newsletters, lunch & learns, and as occasional contributors to their own team meetings can have a powerful effect on increasing compliance, generating good will, and reducing both spend and risk. Building out routine high level summary reports around how asset management activities are helping the organization, and occasionally sanitized failure stories, can help others feel good about staying within the policies and goals you communicated already.

Yes, these communication techniques are an investment/use of our time – it might take a different strategy and tactics that we might have been using recently. Feel free to delegate some of that around to your teammates if they have the interest and skills. This doesn’t have to be a one person task.

If we spend time building a consistent communication strategy it can also build up our teams, build our own relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, and it can have visible, tangible success for our Asset Management programs!


You’re absolutely right about the critical role of communication in Asset Management programs. It goes beyond simply providing reports and presentations. Effective communication involves establishing standards, clarifying expectations, and fostering dialogue. By recognizing IT Asset Management as a business problem, we can identify areas where improved communication can benefit both our team and the organization as a whole.

For instance, uncontrolled spending is a common challenge faced by asset teams. When departments make purchases outside official channels, it leads to increased waste and risk. However, by implementing a routine communication plan, we can steer these transactions toward the proper channels and reduce uncontrolled spending.

Have you come across similar challenges of uncontrolled spending in your organization? Keen on hearing someone else’s perspective on how improved communication can help address this issue.

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Hi Santi,

I have seen this uncontrolled spend being helped by communication in real life, even in person. A few jobs ago, I was working to help get control of the desktop environment. The org was a relatively new company and was actually part of a multiple merger situation, so there were multiple different distinct cultures in place all trying to meld into a new one. Several of the “old” cultures had been in a place where the locations had been left to fend for themselves with sourcing hardware & software. Most of them literally would go to Office Max or Staples or such and buy whatever desktop or laptop was on the shelf and on sale when they needed it, and call the Service Desk to have them help get whatever model onto the network. Talk about a mess!
Anyways, we figured out what was happening, established a formal policy, published it in multiple ways, did some of the PR tour - communication steps I list above, and it did help, at least with some of the org. The uncontrolled spend, and diversification of models did start to shrink. That said, it was also beyond a communication issue only - we also had to solve some of the other challenges that were present as part of the M&A as well - so while the communication was valuable, we had other process and procurement gaps to fill to help others start to be able to rely on the new centralized IT functions. It also didn’t get fixed overnight - culture change isn’t simple.

I think I’m not the only one to have to deal with this sort of situation - love to hear who else has experience.