Many large organisations struggle to maintain licence management accuracy within their SAM processes. ITAMS recommends that clients use a catalogue-centric licence management tool which helps to marry installed software with SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and to procurement contracts.
The key benefits gained from using software catalogues are great. Less dependency on discovery tools means that data from other inventory tools can be used to perform software recognition, time and money on manual resources saved and a higher percentage of data accuracy ensured.
Software Catalogue Use Proof of Concept (POC)
By Paul Sheehan, Managing Consultant
“About a year ago we ran a 3 day desktop focused POC in an 80,000 user multinational organisation, including the evaluation of two of the very few catalogue centric Licence Management tools in the market. Overall, we evaluated 5 licence management tools in the POC. For those without a catalogue, the work to reconcile discovery, entitlement and contracts in the POC were prohibitive and we could not fully test them in the 3 day window.
The more mature catalogue centric tool had 150 vendor SKUs and tens of thousands of products at its heart. This is constantly updated and links: a) discovery profiles to normalised product names; b) these product names to SKUs (where each SKU can be thought of as a specific and unique set of rights to use the software) and c) these SKUs to the contracts under which they may be purchased (Microsoft EA vs. Select vs. Retail for example).
Note that this isn’t just software recognition… it’s a pre-built cross reference between the software installation and usage evidence from the network and the ways a firm may (or may not!) have purchased licences to use it.
The incoming discovery data from the customer only contained ARP (Add/Remove Programs) data, but this dataset had in excess of 2 million software instances. Over 91% of the non-customer specific software instances were auto matched to the catalogue in this POC, more than double its nearest rival.
This not only meant we very quickly knew what each product was, and had common naming conventions for it and its publisher, but also that we understood the various ways it could be purchased and licenced. In production, that means invoices with SKUs could be auto-matched, permitting very fast reconciliation. Neither we nor the client needed to build this intelligence ourselves, nor did they have to maintain this specialised knowledge in their BAU operations team.
Very quickly it became clear that this element of the tools functionality was the single most important deciding factor – it directly influenced time to value and the volume of operational staff required to properly run and administer the system.”