A new concept of Best Practice in Software Asset Management with Vector Asset Manager Pro

By Colin Bartram, Director of Technology, Vector Networks (Page 6 of 7)

Analysis Phase

Grouping PCs for Analysis

To be able to manage and optimise application software assets, an organisation has to have ways of grouping PCs and users so that software requirements can be defined and deployment checked.

AM Pro provides two methods of grouping PCs – Fixed Groups which contain lists of specific PC names, and Dynamic Groups, whose members are selected from the Database by SQL SELECT statements. A SQL Wizard masks the SQL basis, and makes it easy to select PCs with powerful combinations of hardware, software and location characteristics.

AM Pro also captures the full OU path of each PC as a Property, and this may be sufficient basis for defining groups for some organisations with highly developed AD structures. For others, it may make sense to group PCs in Departments, or Cost Centres, or by Location, or by some other characteristic that is critical in your organisation.

AM Pro provides an extendable set of Organisation Properties that can be collected through User Prompting or by Console input. Take this opportunity to decide what new Properties are needed to fully support the planning and deployment of applications software in your organization. If it is feasible to collect the Property from the user community, devise the questions and sample responses, and distribute them to the users.

Analysis Objectives

The major expectations of the Software Asset Optimisation process have already been defined as –

  • Reduction of ongoing costs of ownership
  • Compliance
  • Maximum return on the investment of application ownership.

Achieving these objectives relies on being able to identify and rectify specific discrepancies between the four factors of requirement, ownership, deployment and use

The following paragraphs summarize the facilities available in Asset Manager Pro for the analysis activities in Software Asset Optimisation.

Analysis Facilities

Asset Reporting Portal

The Enterprise Portal was designed with IT management in mind. Providing browser-based access to the asset information in the AM Pro database, it is totally independent of the main technical administrator's Console.

The Portal offers families of reports, sub-divided to make it easy and intuitive to locate the report most suited to the target analysis. Many of the reports are interactive, with drill-down capability that allows you to make a Site-wide assessment, then pursue more detail at Department / Active Directory OU level, and finally identify specific PCs.

Individual reports are not listed here, as they are continuously being added to.

The Portal provides for report information to be exported in any of several popular formats, and for the exported data to be emailed as an attachment. This provides a very flexible way for discrepancy information to be highlighted and mailed to an administrator for action – such as redeployment of an application copy.

Console Static Reports

If for any reason the Portal is not available, the AM Pro Console includes Crystal-based reports that identify some of the potential discrepancies, such as –

  • Installations exceed total licenses owned.
  • Instances of applications with zero usage.

Although some of these reports allow the user to select a particular application or applications, they do not have the drill-down capability provided in the Portal.

However, the Crystal run-time supports a wide range of export formats.

Database Views

The AM Pro Database Viewer is a tool that allows customers to select fields from the AM Pro Site Database schema and combine them into a new DB View Operation. The DB Viewer uses the SQL Wizard to allow you to make the field selection in natural language.

DB View Operations can be used interactively, and can also be Scheduled. The latter mode is popular when the operation has been configured to generate HTML output, as this provides a means of refreshing static report data on your organization's intranet.

An example would be a DB View showing all software changes in the previous week or month.

Next page: Software Asset Optimization: Fast Track to Benefits »

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