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What is an asset? It depends on who you’re asking. The dictionary defines an asset as “a useful or valuable quality, person or thing; an advantage or resource.” If you ask a business manager, an asset could be the employees who do the work—especially the most productive ones.

If you’re asking an investor, it could mean the stocks and bonds in a portfolio—especially the best performing ones. If you’re asking an IT administrator, the answer is likely to be the hardware and software that is owned, licensed or leased by the enterprise—especially those products that provide the best return on investment.

What is asset management? Basically, it’s ensuring that you’re getting full value from your assets. That can mean finding ways to help employees work more productively, or fine-tuning your investment portfolio to minimize risk while maximizing return

But in the IT world, asset management too often means just making a list of what you have and e-mailing it to the person asking for it—whether it’s the purchasing department, a software auditor or the poor soul who has to reconcile licenses against actual installations.

Making lists, however necessary it may be, doesn’t help you get more value or usefulness from your IT assets. Even if you have an automated inventory system, the resulting lists don’t necessarily give you the information you need to make smarter purchasing decisions, streamline lifecycle transitions, satisfy auditors and so on.

To add value, you need to add intelligence. And in most companies, that also means adding a lot of manual labor to extract meaningful information from the raw data.

Sure, not getting busted by the software cops could be considered a value, but shouldn’t asset management be easier—and more rewarding—than making and comparing lists?

Next-Generation Inventory: Novell ZENworks Configuration Management

With Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, and the fully integrated ZENworks Asset Management, you get a lot more value for your management efforts. For starters, you get next-generation discovery and inventory capabilities as a standard feature of ZENworks Configuration Management.

What that means is you have a single, fully automated system for identifying and categorizing all the IP devices on your network, distributing the ZENworks Adaptive Agent to all managed devices, and collecting details of all the hardware and software installed on managed devices.

That’s a big change from the way you’re probably used to doing asset inventory—collecting raw and incomplete data using a disjointed combination of tools, technologies and manual processes, and trying to “triangulate” to the truth of what you actually have in your environment.

For most IT departments, collecting the raw data, corroborating the results, reconciling discrepancies, discarding duplications and getting to the point where you have a reasonable approximation of the truth is a productivity-sapping burden.

ZENworks Configuration Management automates these processes, with dozens of integrated methods for discovering, normalizing, assimilating and presenting inventory information effectively. And instead of exhaustive lists of inventory data that few people can understand or use, it provides standard and custom reporting capabilities that let you give your internal customers exactly the information they need—whether its help desk support, compliance reporting, vendor negotiations or any other activity that requires accurate, detailed insight into your IT environment.

Next-generation inventory capabilities in ZENworks Configuration Management include:

  • Network discovery. Poll network segments for IP devices, categorize them according to type (e.g., router), and identify potentially managed devices for deployment of the ZENworks Adaptive Agent.
  • Hardware and software inventory. Scan managed devices to retrieve hardware and software details.
  • Scheduling. Schedule inventory scans to meet your management needs and preserve bandwidth.
  • History. Dynamically track inventory changes over time, rather than taking individual “snapshots.”
  • Demographics. Include site, user and other demographic data in your inventory, either by entering the information in ZENworks Control Center or on a data-entry form you can display directly on managed devices.
  • Extensible attributes. Define your own fields to extend and customize the inventory data you collect.
  • Extensible Knowledgebase. Extend the ZENworks Knowledgebase of IT products to include in-house or specialty applications.
  • Reporting. Extensive standard and custom reporting capabilities include drill-down, tabular and graphical display, multiple output options, scheduling and alerting, and much more.
  • Beyond the Next-Generation: ZENworks Asset Management

    When you add ZENworks Asset Management Services you’re adding deep intelligence to the data collected by ZENworks Configuration Management. You’re able to give every stakeholder exactly the information they need to do their jobs, while ensuring accuracy and consistency across the enterprise. And most important, you’re better able to manage devices throughout their lifecycle to control costs, track accountability, ensure compliance and derive full value from your IT investments.

    ZENworks Asset Management offers unprecedented control and automation for:

    • Tracking software usage
    • Managing licenses
    • Managing vendor contracts

    Let’s take a closer look at each of these capabilities and how ZENworks Asset Management can improve the way you do IT—and the way your company does business.

    Next

    • Figure 1

      Understand not just what licenses you have, but also how many you need, how many are going unused and how much you're overpaying.

    • Figure 2

      Usage reports provide detailed information about how your assets are actually being used, so you can make better decisions.

    • Figure 3

      True license view automates the process of correlating individual executables, named software packages and license entitlements.

    • Figure 4

      Licenses represent just one type of contract you have to manage. With ZENworks Asset Management, you can also manage leasing, maintenance, SLA and other types of contracts.



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