Effective Software Asset Management (SAM) begins with the collection of data – data on your IT hardware and software assets as well as specific attributes about them.
Ideally, this raw data is collected via an automated discovery tool and then fed into a normalization engine that transforms the data into software license titles. The normalization process can be done through a SAM tool or manually…regardless of how it is accomplished, the discovery data needs to be complete and accurate in order to gain the most value from your SAM program.
Many discovery tools focus on the desktop environment and can paint a fairly accurate footprint of software licenses that are deployed. However, these tools cannot perform discovery in data center environments, resulting in an incomplete view. No matter which tool you are using, there is always some manual collection of data required, such as through a physical inventory, to ensure that you have left no stone unturned.
If your SAM vendor is telling you that a discovery tool such as Microsoft’s SCCM will generate all the data that is required to feed into your software license management solution, beware. SCCM is a very good operational tool that is widely used, however the fact remains that it is important to run more than one discovery tool to ensure you are capturing all the IT hardware and software in your environment. Most industry experts recommend running 2-3 discovery tools to ensure the most complete data. If your discovery data is inaccurate or incomplete, and this data is then normalized, you will suffer from the “garbage in, garbage out” syndrome – the quality of the output will only be as good as the input.
Eracent’s IT Management Center (ITMC) Discovery™ provides a wide range of discovery, inventory and utilization functionality for all platforms – from data centers and servers to end-user PCs and mobile devices, as well as usage of cloud-based applications.
While SCCM and similar tools discover executables and report on them, ITMC Discovery acquires the data based on dozens of different file types. By using combinations of these elements to provide a distinct fingerprint, the process is very precise in its identification. By incorporating ITMC Discovery into your discovery process, you will gain a much more complete and accurate view of the IT hardware and software assets that comprise your network. You can learn more about ITMC Discovery here.
If one of your leading software suppliers knocks on your door requesting an audit, will you feel comfortable enough with the depth and quality of your data to proceed with the audit…or will you panic? Is your discovery data good enough?
– by William Choppa
William Choppa is the President of Eracent. He has almost twenty years’ experience helping clients meet their ITAM and SAM challenges with his knowledge of technical solutions and business process best practices.