Getting the Best Out of Microsoft SCCM

Home / Expert Advice / Getting the Best Out of Microsoft SCCM

David Graham, Principal Consultant, Certero

Originally posted in February 2016, revised in November 2019.


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

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), formerly Systems Management Server (SMS), is widely used for configuration management namely, hardware and software inventory and software distribution.

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

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. With Software Metering in SCCM you need to define which executables are going to be measured via rule. Rules must be setup for each set of applications. This presents an issue when you want to report on usage of a particular application and the application is not defined in a rule. Where there is no rule there will be no data to report on. A rule then must be configured which will then take several months before meaningful business decisions can be taken.

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 or expensive consultants who have the skills to understand this data to properly analyze and interpret it.

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

  • Details of components of suites – SCCM data makes it difficult to tell whether applications were installed as a suite or as a standalone application. This will be picked up during a vendor audit and could cause compliance problems. How would you know these complex relationships?
  • 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) as SCCM information is not complete. This could leave you open to noncompliance or mean that you pay for licenses that you do not need.
  • Processor information can also be incorrect – SMS uses WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) to gather the processor information. So, an older OS e.g. Windows Server 2003, running on newer hardware may lead to the processor and core information being 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. Leaving a large gap in the view of your IT estate.
    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.
  • Limited information on IBM products – and PVU values need to be calculated manually.


Integrating Microsoft SCCM with Certero for Enterprise SAM for Enhanced Software Asset Management

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

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 Certero for Enterprise SAM with its SCCM integration capabilities can help by providing ‘must-have’ SAM capabilities and SLO functionality for SCCM.

These capabilities include:

  • Seamless Integration Between SCCM and Certero for Enterprise SAM
  • Automated inventory feeds – through SCCM integration giving you a full inventory of hardware and software assets
  • Ability to deploy and remove software using Certero for Enterprise SAM (integrates with SCCM software distribution)
  • Easy-to-use, yet powerful the Certero Management Platform user interface makes SCCM inventory data user-friendly and easy to manage
  • Latest Software Asset Management Solution
  • Real-time Effective License Position (ELP)
  • Intelligent licensing solution to automate Microsoft, Adobe and others
  • Complement SCCM inventory with Certero inventory to provide data relevant to Data Center applications (e.g. accurate MS SQL Server inventory, physical and virtual machine clustering etc.)

To find out how Certero for Enterprise SAM can help enhance your SCCM implementation, get in touch with our team.

Follow us on Linkedin for more SAM


Read more like this from

Ready to Speak to the Team that Makes Our Customers So Happy?

Certero's [software-as-a-service] Solution

Certero help organizations transform their outdated operations and technologies in days and weeks not years. All of Certero’s solutions can be delivered as SaaS with no loss of functionality. 

Certero Unified Platform
Learn more about Certero’s truly unique ‘unified’ platform.

Digital Transformation Edition
Transform in days and weeks, not months and years, start your journey now.

Verified Oracle LMS/GLAS Solution
Verified LMS (License Management Services), now GLAS (Global Licensing & Advisory Services) solution.

Cloud Management
Manage Visibility, Cost and Governance of your Cloud Resources 

Enterprise Standard Edition - ITAM / SAM for Wintel
Default solution to manage ITAM/SAM for a Wintel environment. 

Enterprise Premium Edition - ITAM / SAM for Wintel
All you need in one place to manage your ITAM/SAM for a Wintel & Citrix environment. 

Stand-a-lone or holistic solutions for IBM, SAP and Oracle.

Software License Compliance
One Stop Shop, products and services for any solution – all in one

Business Intelligence Solution
See how to turn DATA into INFORMATION then transform into KNOWLEDGE, all in a few clicks. 

IT Asset Visibility
Find out: What do I own? Where is it located? Who is using it?

ITSM & CMDB Integration 
Populating the CMDB with ‘Quality’ asset information is more critical than ever

SaaS Subscription Management
Discover, manage and optimize your SaaS investments.

Everything in One place, True Unification

IT Hardware, Software, SaaS and Cloud Asset Management products that can run ‘stand-a-lone’ or ‘holistically’ and optimally together as a single solution, no dependencies. True unification across all asset and platforms and all delivered as SaaS. All of Certero’s products have the best TTV (Time to Value) by some distance.

Certero for Enterprise ITAM
Networks, printers, routers, Wintel, Mac, Linux, zLinux, Unix, all virtualizations and much more....

Certero for Enterprise SAM
Focused on Wintel software vendors, including automated solutions for Microsoft, Adobe and much more...

Certero App Centre 
Enterprise ‘Application Portal’ for Self-Service application provisioning.

Certero for Mobile
Go beyond standard MDM and deliver full management and security for your mobile workforce.

Certero SRDB (Software Recognition)
Transform raw software inventory data into actionable intelligence about application usage and licensing.

Certero for Oracle 
Optimize your Oracle Database, Middleware and E-Business Suite applications.

Certero for IBM
Discover and manage all IBM software & entitlements across the network. Dual Inventory, ILMT and Certero.

Certero for SAP Applications
Managing and automating the analysis of complex SAP named user and engine licenses across your estate. 

An intuitive self-service password reset solution that can reduce service desk calls by 30%. 

PC Power Management solution. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice

Rated #1 for SAM Customer Satisfaction year after year, after year

For the latest in ITAM, SAM, Cloud and SaaS Asset Management

White Papers and eBooks 
Download the latest white papers and eBooks for key insights and guides.

Read the latest news from Certero and the industry.

Events and Webinars
Keep up to date with Certero's latest webinars and events.


View our range of product videos, webinars and customer case studies. 

Data Sheets
Download our datasheets which highlight the key benefits and features of our world class products and services. 

Case Studies 
See how organization around the globe change they way they [Do IT].

We think [and do] IT Differently

We don’t believe in claiming to be something we’re not. We will not do mediocre, average, indifferent, or outdated. We are different and will do it differently.

About Us
Get to know us more

Our Story
See how our approach is different

Our Journey
A timeline of events

Our Vision, Mission and Purpose
Mission, Purpose and Values

Browse our current roles

Find our nearest location