What is software normalization? What makes normalized software important?
In all likelihood you will have many hundreds (if not thousands) of installed software titles across your organization. Each of these could have different versions installed as well as possibly being part of a suite (as opposed to stand-alone) or even named differently. Consequently, identifying and correctly inventorying all this software can be logistical nightmare, taking up considerable time and effort. But, ensuring you have a normalized software inventory is a vital step in understanding your software estate and allowing you to optimize your licenses.
Some organizations will attempt to do this manually. Not only will this take a very long time, the results will be immediately out-of-date due to the dynamic nature of your IT estate. This led to many ITSM tools providing discovery and inventory services. Whilst the information these provide is useful for service management purposes, for software license optimization purposes, it is not nearly enough.
What are the Issues with Older ITAM Tools?
Similar to ITSM tools, the same can be said for older ITAM tools and other products like Microsoft SCCM. The fact is that the initial discovery of what you have installed will pull up a long list of software names, editions and publishers. Although this might appear helpful, these will not present their output in a consistent way, providing a lack of any intelligence preventing you from using this raw information to make meaningful management decisions.
For example, your discovery tool may report that you have SQL server installed on a machine, but not be able to identify which version. This is important as SQL Server Express is free whilst other versions are not. So, a mistake here could prove costly.
Another area of concern is the existence of multiple inventories. For example, you may have a tool for inventorying your Windows desktop software, another for your Oracle database software and a third for your Linux datacentre software. These will all produce their own inventory in their own format.
Rather than struggle to manually consolidate and cross-reference these multiple reports from different inventory solutions, providing information which quickly becomes out of date, it would be better if these could be automatically consolidated into a single and combined view.
Benefits of a Normalized Software Inventory
To learn from the information across your IT estate, you need to filter out the noise and turn data into information.
The benefits of having such an automatic, real-time, consolidated and normalized software inventory deliver a very compelling ROI. These benefits include:
- Additional Time: The time it will free up from having to create this manually will enable your IT staff to focus on higher value tasks.
- Enhanced Visibility: Improved visibility of both software and hardware will enable you to reduce potential non-compliance risks at the time of a software vendor audit.
- Improved Data: The improved data will allow you to populate your CMDB and so improve service processes
- Enable Re-harvesting: It will enable you to identify if people are not using installed software, allowing you to re-harvest the license for use elsewhere, by using policy-based SAM.
- Prevent Shadow IT: Unauthorized software can be identified and removed, preventing potential security threats.
The Road to Software License Optimization (SLO)
From reducing the amount of manual intervention to supporting license re-harvesting, software normalization enables organizations to seize optimization opportunities. So, what tools or services are available to support your software normalization needs?
The AssetStudio SAM suite products can deliver the benefits discussed. Designed to work standalone or seamlessly integrate, they enable you to quickly and easily obtain a single, consolidated and normalized software inventory across your entire IT estate. They offer:
- Connectors to all the main inventory solutions
- Automatic software analysis and identification using SKUs
- Detailed software usage monitoring
- Easy-to-use GUI with powerful interactive and customizable reporting
All of which will provide you with a real-time software inventory that delivers the insight you need to optimize your software and deliver the 30% year 1 cost savings that Gartner forecasts.
To find out more about how the AssetStudio SAM suite products can help your organization obtain an automated, real-time, consolidated and normalized software inventory, please get in touch.