Getting the Best Out of Microsoft SCCM

9 Feb 2016 | SAM/SLO

What is Microsoft SCCM? How can you get the most out of it?

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) formally Systems Management Server (SMS) is widely used for discovery and inventory, of hardware and software, in the Windows environment. It can also be used for software deployment and removal, again only on the Windows platform.

These capabilities are traditionally what has been expected from ITAM (IT Asset Management) tools, but are not designed or capable of critical Software Asset Management (SAM) capabilities, which is a problem when trying to adopt a SAM strategy.

If you are looking at using Microsoft SCCM for software asset management to enable compliance or to optimize your license position to reduce costs, then you will encounter quite a few difficulties.

Microsoft SCCM Software Metering – Vital for Optimization

One of the critical shortfalls of Microsoft SCCM concerns software metering or application monitoring. Whilst it will carry out this important task, it does not work out of the box. It is complex and requires an SCCM trained expert to set it up. Once setup, you need to wait many days before you can begin to analyse the information it produces.

Then, you hit another snag. SCCM produces a mass of complex data that has had no intelligence applied to it. This leads to problems with analysis and effectively means you need to purchase a 3rd party tool to properly analyse and interpret it.

As well as the quantity, there are shortfalls with the quality of the data produced as well:

  • Details of components of suites – makes it difficult to tell whether these applications were installed as a suite or as standalone applications. This will be picked up during a vendor audit and could cause compliance problems.
  • Missing edition information on key expensive Microsoft Server products – e.g. SQL Server, Exchange Server etc.  You cannot tell whether you have the free edition of SQL (Express) or the paid for editions (Enterprise and Standard).
  • Processor information can also be incorrect – SMS uses WMI to gather the processor information. So, an older OS e.g. Windows Server 2003, running on newer hardware the processor and core information may be incorrect.  This could be picked up in a vendor audit e.g. by Oracle or IBM and cause compliance problems.
  • Almost no information on Oracle products at all – e.g. Database, Middleware etc.
  • Limited information on IBM products – and PVU values need to be calculated manually.
  • Autodesk serial numbers and license types are not returned – so you cannot tell if the install is a standalone license or a network license.
  • Clusters, Virtual Machines and physical hosts in virtualized environments – there is a lack of information, which is very important for server-based products.

SCCM Discovery

SCCM Discovery is functionality within Microsoft SCCM which identifies computer and user resources that can be managed by using Configuration Manager. The functionality of SCCM Discovery also discovers network infrastructure in the environment.

However, as addressed, SCCM while accessing a large quantity of data is currently unable to apply intelligence to it. For organizations, this means that they can often struggle to utilize this information and use it to make critical IT and business decisions.

Enhancing the Capabilities of SCCM for Software Asset Management

The fact is that SCCM was designed as an ITAM tool, not for Software Asset Management (SAM). So, while the information it produces is great for ITAM purposes (discovery, inventory and distribution), it was never intended to be used for SAM and Software License Optimization (SLO) requirements.

SCCM really needs a specific SAM/SLO product working in conjunction with it. This will enhance its capabilities and enable you to leverage the investment you have made to reduce costs. This is where AssetStudio for Enterprise SAM can help by providing ‘must-have’ SAM capabilities and SLO functionality for SCCM.

These capabilities include:

Seamless Integration Between SCCM and AssetStudio Enterprise SAM 

  • Automated inventory feeds
  • Ability to deploy and remove software using AssetStudio for Enterprise SAM (integrates with SCCM software distribution)
  • Simple-to-use, yet powerful AssetStudio UI on SCCM inventory data

Latest Software Asset Management Solution

  • Real-time Effective License Position (ELP)
  • Intelligent licensing solution to automate Microsoft, Adobe and others
  • Covers macOS – only need one product/solution

Get in touch with Certero to find out how AssetStudio for Enterprise SAM can help enhance your SCCM implementation,