Asset Intelligence has long been the bane of ConfigMgr’s existence – the chink in the armor. In April of 2006, Microsoft acquired AssetMetrix to try and help fix the Asset Intelligence issue. Configuration Manager 2012 brings some much requested changes and additions to the product, however, based on early reports a 3rd party tool might still be needed. As with all components of ConfigMgr (SMS) over the years, the features and functions it offers may be completely adequate for a lot of organizations. Where an organization needs more from the feature, a 3rd party tool is required.
For example, based on inventory processes ConfigMgr can retrieve rows and rows of data just for Adobe products. Why? Because ConfigMgr is not intelligent enough to break down and organize Adobe records into good known products – that, and Adobe is also not intelligent enough to version their products and miscellaneous files correctly. ConfigMgr is a powerful inventory tool in that it captures everything and is also completely customizable in what it retrieves. Some products, like Adobe, install files with multiple versions, and when upgrades take place a lot of the old files remain (and so do the old file versions), and of course, as you’re aware sometimes an uninstall routine will NOT remove everything. So, you end up with a list of Adobe products and product versions that may or may not even exist in your organization. But, those that do exist can be listed in different records simply because ConfigMgr doesn’t realize that specific file versions are attributed to a specific Adobe product version.
So, what has changed in ConfigMgr 2012? A few things.
ConfigMgr 2012 now allows you to enable the Asset Intelligence hardware inventory classes without touching the SMS_DEF.MOF file. In the past, as a ConfigMgr admin, you simply couldn’t get all the information you wanted to capture without modifying the SMS_DEF.MOF file (before ConfigMgr, in SMS it was MIF files). This sometimes resulted in issues all it’s own, with the MOF file being formatted incorrectly, not distributed correctly across the organization, and having to “learn” the proper methods for editing and deploying the updated inventory file. A whole grass-roots movement even cropped up to better understand editing the file, and miscellaneous MOF file code snippets were posted all over myITforum. Sherry Kissinger became the MOF Master because she has the keys to the kingdom when it comes to MOF and inventory. There’s even a download section on myITforum with MOF file additions. Really, you should never have had to touch this file. In reality, you have to.
A new feature in ConfigMgr 2012 console allows you to download and import the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service (MVLS) license statement directly from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. This allows you to compare your licensed Microsoft products with the products inventoried through ConfigMgr that exist in your organization. This allows for direct true-ups using the collected inventory data.
Two new maintenance tasks have been added to ConfigMgr 2012: “Check Application Title with Inventory Information” and “Summarize Installed Software Data”. What they do:
- Check Application Title with Inventory Information – checks that the software title reported in software inventory is reconciled with the software title in the Asset Intelligence catalog
- Summarize Installed Software Data – provides the information displayed in the Inventoried Software node under the Asset Intelligence node in the Assets and Compliance workspace.
As to the full range of features, check out the Asset Intelligence information in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.
Also, if you still believe that a 3rd party add-on is required in your organization, check out the following.
1E’s AppClarity: AppClarity immediately identifies and accurately quantifies your software waste. This software asset management solution presents a rationalized inventory of installed applications, license costs and where installations are unused. By analyzing all your applications AppClarity provides you with actionable results to intelligently help you to automatically reclaim and recycle your software assets. Link: http://www.1e.com/it-efficiency/software/appclarity-software-asset-management/
BDNA’s Normalize CM: BDNA Normalize for ConfigMgr (Normalize CM) boosts your productivity saving you hundreds of hours of research, scripting and query development time. It does this through the delivery of detailed, actionable information about your hardware and software environment directly into your ConfigMgr database and console. You can begin using this information immediately within your ConfigMgr console for everyday projects, reporting and analysis as well as supporting your strategic initiatives such as Windows 7 migration, application rationalization, unsupported software,and more. Link: http://sccm.bdna.com/