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How to Identify the Best Inventory Solution

If the goal is sustainable cost reduction and significantly higher IT security, the prerequisite for this is a complete, up-to-date and high-end technical inventory. Only a complete overview of all hardware and software assets of your company network will guarantee success for your optimization measures.

There are many inventory solutions in the market, all of which promise to provide a complete overview of a company’s technical inventory. To figure out which inventory solution can provide the highest quality for compiling the essential data of your IT environment, there are three quality characteristics to look for.

1. Stay Pure: Collection of Raw Data for the Inventory Database

Raw data means no previous data processing or the application of any logic has been carried out. The collected data is stored in the database as it is found in the registry and the installation files.

The raw data is needed to provide qualified and first-class identification patterns for the software identification. Every previous product identification could result in corruption of the data, which causes complications or errors in the software identification process.

To fully identify software versions and editions not only clearly related inventory items are required, but it is often necessary to define additional criteria to link single data sets to each other. This is only possible when the complete data volume of a system can be analyzed. The raw data provides exactly this volume of data.

2. All Roads Lead to Rome: Providing Different Scanning Methods

Every company has different IT infrastructures and restrictions regarding IT security. It doesn’t take rocket science to gather the technical inventory from a Windows-only network with client PC and a few physical servers. But corporate networks become more and more complex with virtual networks, network zones, virtual servers, terminal servers, cloud services and multiple platforms, such as Mac and Linux.

Many inventory tools are just not able to cope with the different requirements of a heterogeneous IT environment. In some situations, a certain inventory technology cannot be used because of corporate restrictions. For instance, when local installations on the scanned systems are not allowed, data collection with an agent technology is not possible.

To guarantee that every single system in the company network can be scanned, the inventory solution needs to provide different scanning methods for different requirements. Typically, two scanning methods can be distinguished: with Agent or Agentless, with a script technology using, for example, remote scan, logon scripts or group policies to gather the data.

3. Carry Only what You Need: Capture Software Usage Data (i.e. Metering)

The information about if and when an installed software product was used by the assigned user provides vital information when it comes to optimizing software costs. For example, if a software is not used, you can either stop renewing the license or give it to another employee and save money rather than buying a new license.

The collection of user data of individual employees is, however, not possible in some countries due to the protection of personal data. The use of the metering must then be approved by an employee representation.

Some inventory solutions allow anonymization of the data so that it only becomes visible when the software was last used but the user remains anonymous. This information is sufficient to make the appropriate decisions for this software asset and facilitate the argument against the employee representatives because the data collection is not assigned to the individual user.

Do you want to transform your inventory data into real value for your business? Click here to get started with a trial of Portfolio Management Platform. Or fill out the form below to speak with a local expert.

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