Collecting Inventory for Software License Management

Discovery and collecting software inventory is the foundation for software license management. Let’s review the three steps needed to implement a reliable inventory process for sustainable license management.

Step One – Create a vision for the future

Beginning on a Software License Management (SLM) or Software Asset Management (SAM) project can feel a bit like climbing a mountain when you are not in top shape. However, you can reach the summit if you are focused, organized, have the right gear, and are well prepared. A good practice to prepare for a SLM project is to evaluate the current license processes that are in place, and see where the company fits within the Software License Optimization Maturity model. This is a very useful tool to help you evaluate your Software License Management processes, and find ways for improvements. It can also be used to help determine what is realistic to improve in short term and set the goals for the future.

Software License Optimization Maturity Model 

Step Two – Data gathering and planning

During the planning phase, you should collect as much information about your environment as possible. For example, how are users access their software, operating systems on devices in scope, Active Directory, virtualization technologies, remote applications, Oracle® Databases, configuration management databases (CMDB) the network design, and many other data points. You need to be looking at everything that can impact your license position. This can be quite challenging in some organizations where different people are administrating different IT silos. Organizing a Technical Workshop is an excellent way to get started on the inventory project. You should then invite everyone to that workshop who can contribute valuable details for the design of the inventory system. Don’t forget to involve the security team right from the beginning. Many projects come to a quick halt as security officers or other administrators were not informed about the project, and were not included in the planning phase.

At this point you should have a clear picture about your environment and design your strategy for the Inventory collection.

Step Three – Design your inventory collection with your vision in mind

The implementation design should reflect your future vision and address all solutions that were identified during the planning phase. Once important aspect of the design is the requirement to collect inventory automatically, and on a regular basis. This is needed from all desktop, mobile, and datacentre computers to keep the data up to date in your SAM tool. The design should also cover inventory collection for new computers, servers located in high security networks and in some cases, home and remote computers owned by the company. Share the completed design with your enterprise architects, system administrators, and the security team, and be sure to get their approval before you start collecting any inventory. Typically, the first phase of any new implementation is the testing phase. Allow the stakeholder’s time to review the implementation milestones and the data collected, once the testing is complete.

During the technical workshop, it is likely you identified existing inventory tools. You need to get more details about these systems before the data can be used. For example, what desktop and datacentre servers are covered by the tool? What is the frequency of inventory collection and what is the quality of the data? Be sure to request access to the system or get a sample of the data to evaluate if it contains everything required to make your license reports accurate. Sometimes it is tempting to take shortcuts and use these existing inventory systems without evaluating the quality of the data. If there are any inconsistencies, however, you will might lose faith in the reports that you get from your SAM tool.

Want to learn more about the importance of inventory and how to get data out of organizational silos and into the hands of the groups that need it? Be sure to watch our webinar “Data – Fuel for the Enterprise” Learn how accurate, immediate and actionable data aligns organizations and fuel enterprise decisions for years to come.

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