Connect 4: Bringing Together the Right Departments for ITAM Success

Connecting the Dots

This past Christmas, my six-year-old son got a few “old fashioned” board games from his grandparents. Soon, the one getting most wear and tear was that classic favorite, Connect 4, the game where you have to align four checkers in a row in any direction, on a vertical board. When we first started playing the game, I thought I would be a good Dad and let him win a few rounds, but, I soon realized winning was not as easy as I thought.

The best way to win the game is to be on the offensive.  One bad move can put you into defense mode and suddenly you’re scrambling to block your opponent’s next move instead of building your four connects. On one particular night, I thought I could multitask and organize my email while playing, and, you guessed it, I ended up on the defensive. I put the laptop away and focused on what was important: beating a little kid at a board game!  And, well, being present with my son was a nice bonus.

The “Connect Four” of Hardware Asset Management

That experience got me thinking about the few times over the decades when our business has played defense. I can recall how much harder it was to get “caught up” or “back on track.” When things are going well, we associate success with clear goals, good planning, and proper execution. But having those three “pillars” become tricky as organizations get larger and different areas become siloed. Communication and coordination become key to a good offense. If different areas of the business don’t connect, they’ll often spend all their time playing “defense” against each other.

In our 22 years of servicing every aspect of the hardware asset lifecycle, we’ve learned that, ironically, four business functions must be aligned to develop a thorough yet flexible strategy to manage IT hardware assets. The following is what I call the “Connect 4” of IT hardware asset management:


It all starts here. The IT Department must be able to present clear goals, along with the strategy and the blueprint for how they intend to execute. Certainly, this creates value within the IT organization, but it’s also the basis for creating solid communication with other areas of the business, particularly those that they rely on the most.


IT needs to present their intentions to Procurement in a way that communicates their needs, but more importantly, expresses the VALUE they are looking to achieve.  IT will struggle to achieve their goals if procurement is tasked with simply controlling or reducing costs.  This means IT needs to have the right conversations prior to selecting new vendors or when the contracts of existing vendors are being renewed. If there’s no clarity around IT’s goals, what could be considered a “win” by Procurement may end up becoming a loss to IT. For example, we’ve been a part of negotiations in which Procurement sought a lower price on services that would result in significant savings and allowing maximum re-use of the customer’s hardware.  Procurement struggled to understand the value and drove down service levels during negotiations.  Needless to say, their IT department couldn’t believe what had happened. They were about to save millions, but Procurement had sacrificed that potential so they could save only thousands.


If you follow any ITAM news, you will likely have heard about ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and other sustainability initiatives currently making headlines. In our business, doing what you say you do is paramount when it comes to ESG. It keeps things from getting lost and it provides a process around the need to properly track, retire and dispose assets. That said, it is highly important that IT understands their company’s overall ESG initiatives and that those in managing governance at a corporate level understand what IT needs to accomplish to support sustainability. A governance initiative should never lead to underutilization of assets or monies without purpose. For example, we have seen companies make poor choices in the management of their hardware assets to achieve other sustainability initiatives. Soliciting feedback from IT and involving them in planning and executing corporate ESG goals, budgets, and operations will only make the business stronger.

Human Resources

This is a tough one. Hardware Asset Management is dependent on Human Resources. IT and Human Resources must work together to understand service levels and expectations for each other. Most importantly, technology is key to the success of all employees, and so both departments need to develop a unified, comprehensive asset management program that continually improves employee satisfaction and productivity.

This merely scratches the surface, but I hope it provides some guidance and gives you some ideas to think about. Because after all…it’s so easy a 6-year-old can do it. If he stays on the offensive. Trust me. I know.

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