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Software Usage Tracking and Analysis

It’s one thing to know what software is in deployment. But knowing exactly what software assets are actually being used, on which devices, how frequently and by which users takes the power of asset management to a whole new level.

With ZENworks Asset Management, you know what assets you’ve been paying for but don’t actually need. (See Figure 1) For software that’s provided under a floating license, you know exactly how many licenses you require. You have the fine-grained visibility you need to maintain license compliance without overspending on products and support. You have the information you need to enforce corporate standards against the use of nonstandard and rogue applications. And above all, you gain powerful leverage for negotiating with vendors—with detailed usage reports that document exactly what you do and don’t need from them.

Software usage tracking and analysis features in ZENworks Asset Management include:

  • Detailed usage reports for desktop, Web-based and server-side applications over selectable time periods (See Figure 2)
  • Tracking for both foreground and background application runtimes—so you can tell whether open applications are actually being put to productive use
  • Usage tracking even when devices are disconnected from the network
  • Identification of seldom-used and unused software that could be reclaimed and reallocated
  • User and device information associated with application usage—even for multiuser devices
  • Aggregate views of usage levels across departments and sites

License Management

Managing software licenses can be like trying to find your way through a jungle with no map. Your software library probably includes a baffling mix of suites, components, freeware, shareware, evaluation software, free and commercial open source software, and more.

But most asset management solutions can collect only raw data scans on executable file headers, leaving it up to you to corroborate and collate the data gathered by various methods, and then make some kind of sense of it.

To ensure a full and accurate accounting, ZENworks Asset Management uses a wide variety of methods for discovering and normalizing licensing information, and presenting it in a unified and useful way.

One technique, for example is to match metadata characteristics of installed software with the license information in the ZENworks Knowledgebase—which always has the latest information thanks to Novell technology analysts who examine hundreds of products every month for key identifiers.

Other tests to ensure an accurate view of your asset licenses include analyzing metadata for:

  • Software identification and classification, including normalized manufacturer and product names, software suites and components, distinct product editions and versions, service packs, serial numbers, virtual machine images and software installations, language editions, virus and spyware definitions, malware identification and many other software characteristics.
  • Hardware identification and classification, including normalized manufacturer names, normalized product names, serial numbers, models and memory slot details.
  • License view, including the ability to exclude applications with no licensing implications; roll up incremental releases to the next major version number; itemize suites and components; and add distribution tags, license types and current manufacturer tags to ensure current and consistent identification of licenses.

ZENworks Asset Management gives you the tools you need to manage licenses with confidence. It provides a single repository for all types of licenses on all your platforms—including the most complex licensing scenarios—and automatically reconciles licenses against the products that are discovered on your network.

Easy-to-use dashboards and real-time reports let you evaluate agreements, costs, consumption and compliance for any part of your environment at a glance. You have all the information you need to document compliance and avoid legal fees and penalties—while also avoiding overpaying for licenses and maintenance that you don’t need.

License management features of ZENworks Asset Management include:

  • True license view. In addition to lists of executables (file view) and named versions of software (application view), you can see your installed software in a one-to-one relationship with the relevant software entitlements (license view). (See Figure 3)
  • Complete view across license models. In addition to viewing per-desktop installations, you can track license models based on inventory information (per installation, OEM and machine models) as well as models based on external data sources (qualified desktops, CPU, user, named user, server, client access license (CAL), site, enterprise and user-defined models).
  • Purchase record importing. Automatically import licensing data from top resellers such as CompuCom, SHI, Software Spectrum and Softchoice, as well as from a wide array of systems such as Oracle and PeopleSoft. Then, automatically build a product catalog reconciling all your purchased and discovered products.
  • Perpetual and term license tracking. You have a complete picture of licenses and compliance, including the status of subscriptions that are subject to expiration.
  • Tracking of multiple entitlements per product. Different departments might have different licensing arrangements for the same product. For example, you might need to account for entitlements on a per-server model in one department and a per-client model in another. ZENworks Asset Management makes it easy to track all the entitlements that may apply.
  • Tracking upgrade and downgrade rights. No more need to manually factor in upgrade and downgrade rights on top of your base entitlements—ZENworks Asset Management tracks these rights for you automatically.
  • Flexible license tracking. Record individual purchases, summary purchases that represent a block of licenses purchased over time, bulk purchases and special circumstances such as pilot installations that shouldn’t consume a license.
  • Simplified audit preparation and protection. Eliminate manual inventories and reconciliations. ZENworks Asset Management does it all for you, reliably and cost-effectively. You can even upload the documents associated with each license, so there’s no need to sort through file cabinets to find the audit documentation you need.

Contract Management

Beyond license management, you also need to manage your vendor contracts to support business planning, control costs and avoid penalties. ZENworks Asset Management goes beyond license management to track the details of all your IT contracts—including maintenance agreements, leases, warranties, service-level agreements and other types of contracts. (See Figure 4)

Integration of contract management with inventory management makes it easy to plan for hardware refreshes as leases approach their expiration. The ability to associate contracts with software licenses, assets, users and organizational units makes it easy to manage contracts and assign internal costs. Early warning notifications let you know when contracts need to be renewed. You can even upload copies of your contracts directly into the ZENworks Asset Management database for easy reference—so you never have to root around in filing cabinets to find the contract details you need.

Don’t Just Manage Your Company’s Assets—Be One!

By effectively managing IT assets, you offer your company an eminently “useful or valuable quality, person or thing; an advantage or resource.” Well, maybe not a “thing,” but ZENworks Asset Management can fill that role. Working together, you and ZENworks Asset Management can be among your company’s most valued assets—providing the productivity that makes business managers smile, the performance that your company’s investors crave, and the return on investment that makes you, the IT administrator, golden.

  • 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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