Will the Force Be with Us? Our 2024 ITAM Predictions

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. I was a huge Star Wars fan.  I never really fell in love with science fiction in general, but when it comes to Star Wars, I was really into it.  So, when I was asked to write a blog about Trends In ITAM, I somehow got to thinking about my old Star Wars toys and what a big “trend” that was.

I had most of the coolest toys, and I was convinced that if I kept them in great condition that someday they would be worth millions of dollars.  I would then sell them and use the money to buy my own Millennium Falcon, travel through hyperspace, and retire on an island.  Well, I didn’t think it through that much, but I really thought I was on to something and was convinced these things had value.  I was fully prepared to capitalize on this market trend and make myself a success. It didn’t exactly turn out that way unfortunately.

I’ve thought this through a bit and the closest I can come to saying that Star Wars has been part of my success is that, when Re-Source Partners began, every computer that came in looked a bit like the Millennium Falcon.   They were greyish but kind of white, and often stained.  They were full of all kinds of wires and hanging parts.  Some were so much like the Millennium Falcon they even had capacitors that would randomly explode with no warning.

Star Wars has stayed a trend for decades, with some years even going to the top of every list when a new character, story, or movie comes out. I never thought that some 30 years later I would be buying my six-year-old son a Star Wars Lego set for Christmas, but here I am!  That is just how trends work, I guess?  You never know what they are going to be, but they are rarely super surprising either. 

 So, with all that said, here are a few trends I see coming up in IT Asset Management in 2024.

Right to Repair

At one point during my heavy Star Wars watching and playing years, my boyish curiosity got the best of me, and I made some “modifications” to a few of my toys.  As I got a little older, I realized I had screwed up by altering the toys and that if I were to execute my retirement plan, I really need to either fix my toys to bring them back to original spec…. or get new ones.   I will never forget how happy I was to learn that our neighbors whose boys were a bit older had a mint condition X-wing that they wanted to sell.  I worked and saved up the money to get the X-wing and well as you can imagine, the rest is history.  History in that even at its revived peak, the demand for Star Wars toys (even in mint condition) was not quite enough to set me up for the good life, but I was happy to have the option.

Right to Repair has been a topic of our Industry for some time.  This will be interesting to follow in 2024 since many of the assets delivered during the Covid pandemic are now coming up for retirement.  While there are no hard or fast numbers to track at this point, we’ll see next year if there is a market demand that comes from this.  In other words, as companies have gone to hybrid models, refresh has become more complicated.  I can certainly see a strong case being made by IT leaders to figure out ways to maximize their hardware usage in these more complex scenarios in which deploying to remote employees can be chaotic. 

Integration Amongst Software Platforms and Vendors

As much as I see Han Solo as my favorite character and hero, I also know the only way to properly defend the Galaxy is to have a great plan in which everyone is working together towards a common goal. Each component of that plan and the Teams they are made of must work together.  Can you imagine if Obi-Wan had not disabled the deflector shield on the Death Star?  Or if the stolen code Han Solo used to get on to Endor had been a phony?   It all must work together.

 IT Asset Management is finally getting some of the attention it deserves.  In 2024, we’ll continue to see further integration of software and hardware assets.   Enterprise companies now have the chance to link their SAM and HAM tools like never before.  Moreover, they’ll look to vendors to deepen that integration and work directly with these tools to deliver services.   This convergence of tools is very exciting and IT organizations should expect—when working with vendors—to gain value, knowledge, and insight to better manage their inventory, and they should expect these activities to become more and more seamless in the future. From an ITAM perspective, this means your SAM tools are linked to your contracts, which are in turn linked to your ITSM and ITAM tools…. which are then integrated into your vendor.   Hardware requests, Chain of Custody, asset tracking and service levels can all be improved. The technology is there to do so. 

AI and Flexibility

If only there were a robot-like thing that could simplify our lives. For example, what if it could translate speech, help fly a spaceship or send an important message via hologram. You really don’t have to know much about Star Wars to know that if NOT for R2-D2 the galaxy most likely would not exist. It’s not like he saves the day once… but rather he saves the day all the time. Sometimes people notice but mainly his heroic acts are overlooked, and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

Like the release of Star Wars Episode 1 (The Phantom Menace), it seems like you can’t turn a corner without Artificial Intelligence (AI) being mentioned and thus it is a “trend” worth watching. I don’t know the role AI will play long-term, but let’s just look at 2024. What I believe we’ll see in the coming year is AI’s impact on the business side, as companies adopt AI to stay competitive and then continue to respond as the technology quickly evolves. Asset Managers should be prepared to deliver on potential never seen before as projects, organizations, and products rapidly change in size and scope. As the business side becomes more competitive, the need to respond quickly, test, and deploy assets while maintaining accuracy should be of top concern.

So, all of this begs the question. What next? Well, if ITAM really has anything in common with Star Wars then we must ask the question: will peace ever fully be restored to the universe? Nah, those of us in ITAM know that’s not gonna happen any time soon!

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