Part 1 of our series, The Changing Nature of ITAM Solutions,introduced the idea that there is a new generation of ITAM tools that are coming of age. While these tools are specialized enough to be of real value in discrete use cases such as Software Asset Management, they are also broad enough to provide actionable intelligence to enable proactive control of IT expenditures.
In this installment, we want to introduce three of the “must have” elements in these new ITAM solutions which demonstrate the value today’s I & O organizations can realize from these integrated capabilities.
One must begin with Discovery, Inventory and Normalization. Regardless of the data quality you are getting from your current tools, the fundamental starting point for any ITAM or SAM program has to be a baseline. Simply said, you need to know what you own, where it is, and who is using it, to the most precise level possible.
Today’s reality, though, is that there are large gaps in many tools. Organizations spend a significant amount of time trying to verify the data, normalize it, and make sure it is all captured. Once that is done, it is defaulted to Excel, ensuring it is immediately out of date.
It is not uncommon to find that limited data accuracy is justified by expedience and being only interested in one or two publishers or hardware providers. Because of the limited scope, it is viewed as not that large of a challenge . . . in the beginning.
Others take the position they just have to prepare for this audit, not considering that 90% of organizations will be audited in the next four years and multiple times. Without a strong foundational tool they find themselves back in the evaluation stage with new vendors who say they can provide more in-depth capabilities to address new licensing models or device types within a year or so.
I would propose that even with only a couple of publishers or hardware vendors, the discovery process is complex and requires a robust capability from the onset. Just consider SQL Server licensing! Add this to the impact of virtualization and multiple licensing metrics that depend on users and devices and accurate data becomes critical.
Then, there are multiple device types such as tablets, mobile devices, thin clients, virtualized servers and SaaS to complicate the picture. And what about off-network scanning to increase data accuracy? One also needs to consider the role agentless and non-agent scanning can play in concert with the ability to pull in data from SCCM, AD, etc. Putting this all together requires a powerful inventory repository that has an open architecture to share or accept data across many functional areas, as well as an integrated, robust reporting capability.
So, the first set of processes in this new generation of unified ITAM solutions is to present Discovery, Inventory and Normalization as a single platform. This process incorporates both Agent and non-Agent technologies, captures Windows and Non-Windows platforms, deals with the nuances of Virtualization and addresses the fast growing use of SaaS applications. And of course, it incorporates Normalization of both discovered software and hardware.
Scalable Software’s SaaS-based Asset Vision® provides tools to manage the complexities of the Cloud era. From discovery, normalization and usage metering, to license management and governance, to integration with other enterprise IT and ERP systems, Scalable’s Asset Vision product suite provides a foundational ITAM solution.
Look for the final installment of The Changing Nature of ITAM Solutions in an upcoming post. In the meantime, learn more about the next generation ITAM tools in the white paper, The Top 5 Reasons Why a Unified Tool Provides the Best Hope for ITAM ROI.