Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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Microsoft SCCM Users Report Significant Challenges with Software License Management

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A couple weeks ago we hosted a webinar related to our asset management offering that turns SCCM’s software inventory data into reliable, license-centric reports. When the webinar drew to a close, we asked attendees to participate in a survey designed to gauge their degree of success using SCCM to manage their software licenses. The results closely mirror what we consistently hear from our existing and prospective customers; so much so that I thought I’d share the findings via our blog.

The survey was purposefully brief, and the questions/results can be summarized as follows:

1) Are you responsible for managing software compliance at your organization?

61% = yes, 39% = no

2) Do you actively use SCCM to collect software inventory data?

72% = yes, 28% = no

3) Have you / do you attempt to use SCCM to manage software licenses?

51% = yes, 49% = no

4) If you said “yes” to the previous question, how satisfied are you with SCCM’s license management capabilities ( 1 = least satisfied, 5 = very satisfied)?

1.8 (Note: only one respondent gave SCCM a “3” in this category, and there were no scores higher than that.)

Granted, this is a biased survey; it’s unlikely people would attend a webinar entitled “Transforming Microsoft SCCM Data into License Intelligence” if they weren’t experiencing pain in this respect and seeking solutions. However, it certainly validated our belief that there’s a great deal of frustration in the marketplace relating to Microsoft SCCM’s ability (or, rather, lack thereof) to help organizations effectively manage their software licenses.

The bottom line is that Microsoft SCCM is a terrific tool for software deployment and patch management. However, it undeniably falls short when it comes to SAM capabilities that are critical to calculating and optimizing your license position. Key among these are deficits in its software recognition, license reconciliation, data presentation, and reporting. To learn more about these challenges, read this blog post.

The best advice for those wishing to leverage their SCCM implementations for license management purposes is this: investigate technologies that connect to or integrate with SCCM and enable the raw inventory data collected by the SCCM client to be processed, enriched, and presented in a license-centric manner. If you don’t, you will undoubtedly burn countless hours trying to make sense of the information found within SCCM itself—and potentially (if not ironically!) find yourself in hot water with the very software vendor you bought it from in the first place.