An important factor in software asset management is developing an understanding for what is being used and by whom. With the IT Asset Management Pack you can track licensed, allocated, assigned and installed software. But just because the software is installed, does not guarantee that it is being used. How should you handle the licensing of installed but unused software?
First you need to track software usage to ensure that software is required by individuals. Knowing what is required and what is not required, because it is not being used, provides you with the opportunity to save licenses and therefore money. Putting that knowledge into practice you would determine those individuals or servers where software is actively being used and uninstall software from those who are not using it.
Usage tracking can also be considered a planning tool that helps you balance capacity with demand, and then identifying opportunities where different licensing configurations could save money or facilitate sharing.
Another opportunity to save money is related to usage and version upgrades. In most cases upgrades cost money. But even if a company is over licensed on base licenses, there is an opportunity to save money by upgrading only the required number based upon usage.
This type of management requires more automation and attention and so it does not make sense for all software products. However, as a general principle and a pre-audit activity, adding usage allows companies to verify that every installation is needed.
How to set up software usage
Collecting software usage data
Consider Microsoft's Visio application as an example. Visio is not included in the Microsoft Office Standard Edition and can be licensed either separately, or as part of other Microsoft Office packages. If only a segment of the users need Visio, a business decision is made to purchase individual licenses. Tracking the usage of Visio means you can manage the licenses more effectively and potentially save money. Individuals who have the software installed, but never use it, may be asked to uninstall it so that licenses are freed up for others to use. Tracking usage prevents you from purchasing more licenses than are actually required.
Ensure that you have installed the Software Usage feature of the IT Asset Management Pack. This can be done through the Setup.exe file used to install the management pack. Refer to the Deployment Guide for more details about installing features.
Once Software Usage is installed, configure it as follows:
Create a connector to collect the software usage data. See Collecting software usage data.
Map the software usage data (in the form of software metering rules) to software versions. See Mapping usage data to software versions.
A connector to Configuration Manager needs to be created so that software usage data can be imported into the IT Asset Management Pack. The data that the management pack stores in the data warehouse is a summary only and does not include raw data.
Once the connector is created and configured, software usage is available as a Version with a Last Used Date on the following: a hardware asset form’s Software tab and on the results from the View Related Hardware Assets task. A workflow ensures that the Last Used Date is updated monthly. The Last Used Date is the only data presently surfaced for software usage.
Allow the connector to run on its own.
Try not to synchronize the connector until it has started running.
Configure the connector to IT Asset Management Pack exactly the same as you would configure the System Center Configuration Manager connector. The only difference between the two connectors is that the IT Asset Management Pack will be collecting different information.
To create a connector for collecting software usage data:
Go to the Administration workspace and click the Connectors view.
In the Tasks area, click Create Connector and select Configuration Manager Connector from the menu. The System Center Configuration Manager Connector Wizard opens.
Click Next and enter a Name and Description for the connector. The Select Management Pack page opens.
Select the Provance ITAM Software Usage Connector and click Next. In actuality you are not storing the connector in the management pack, but instead you are selecting a type of connector. The Connect to System Center Configuration Manager Database page opens.
Enter your Database server name.
Enter your Database name.
Select Run As account and click Test Connection to ensure the database information and credentials are correct.
Click Next. The Collections page opens.
In the Configuration Manager Collection box, select all collections and click Next. The Schedule page opens.
Select a frequency for synchronization and click Next. The Summary page opens.
Confirm that the information entered is correct, then click Create. After the connector has been created, close the wizard.
Allow the connector to perform its own synchronization for the first time. After the synchronization is complete, you can manually Synchronize it whenever necessary (if you want it to synchronize outside of the scheduled time frame).
Once synchronization is complete, the software metering rules should appear in the Software Catalog > Software Catalog Maintenance > Software Metering Rules - Unmapped view.
Next you need to map the software usage data to software versions, see Mapping usage data to software versions.
There are several links, some manual and some automatic, that must be in place before usage data is visible in the IT Asset Management Pack. If any of these links are absent, usage data in the form of metering rules will not be visible under the Software Catalog Maintenance view. The links, shown on the following figure, are as follows:
Each software metering rule (imported from System Center 2012 Configuration Manager) should be linked to a version (manual).
That same version should be linked to a software item (manual) that is installed on the windows computer discovered by System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (automatic).
Usage data must have been collected for the rule on the same windows computer (automatic).