A farmer and is farm hand were fixing some damage to the barn roof when a big wind blew down their rickety wooden ladder. The farmer walked to the edge to see that their ladder was broken. He told the farm hand to check for a way down on the other side of the roof while he looked on his side.
After a thorough check of his side, the farmer walked over to the farm hand’s side and didn’t see the farm hand. When he walked over to the edge, he saw the farm hand standing on the ground next to a big mud puddle. The farmer asked how he got down and the farm hand replied that he jumped into the mud puddle. The farmer said that it looked pretty deep, but the farm hand told him that it was only ankle-deep. The farmer then jumped down and sank in up to his neck. When he looked up at the farm hand, the farm hand said it was ankle-deep because he went in head first.
I’ll admit that’s an old joke, but I think we can take a lesson from it. When starting out an ITAM program, we’re often tempted to dive in head-first. We see so many things we need to keep track of and we want to do it all yesterday. We often get an ITAM tool and pack it full of data just to get rid of the spreadsheets and individual databases.
What we often don’t realize is that all of the data we pull in needs to be maintained. If we don’t have a solid, working policy, process, and procedure structure in place along with roles and responsibilities defined, the data we put in becomes stale and inaccurate as soon as something changes in the environment.
The best thing to do is to tackle a small subset of all of our data in an initial phase. That allows us to fine-tune the ITAM program before we go “ankle-deep” in a mud puddle only to find out we’re actually in up to our necks.