Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

November Report of the Month: What’s Changed?

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Do you ever find yourself wishing for a dynamic view of what’s changing within your environment, versus an inventory snapshot representing a single point in time? One supremely useful report that satisfies this need is the “What’s Changed” report. Its purpose is to help you determine what has changed from a hardware and/or software perspective in your environment between two specified dates. From a hardware perspective, the “What’s Changed” report shows when hardware attributes such as RAM have changed. For software, the “What’s Changed” report shows machines on which applications have been installed and/or removed. As you can imagine, there are countless situations in which this information could be useful.

For example, let’s say you roll out 200 new computers to your sales department in November, and everything was working beautifully. But in January you begin fielding calls from the users saying their machines are running slowly. You look at the “What’s Changed” report and discover that nearly every sales rep has installed both iTunes and Plaxo on their new machines, causing performance issues.

Or perhaps you noticed on your “Am I Compliant” report that you’re suddenly out of compliance on Adobe Acrobat Professional. You can use the “What’s Changed” report to identify which users/machines installed the additional copies of the app.

In order to take advantage of the “What’s Changed” reports, you must first configure the baseline(s) in the Express Administrative Console. To do this, you must:

1) Open the Express Administrative Console

2) Click on “Tools”

3) Click on “Baselines” and follow the instructions


Next, go to the Express Reports Console to run your “What’s Changed” report.

1) Open the Express Reports Console

2) Under “All Reports”, select “What’s Changed”

3) Click on “Change Baseline Selection”

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4) Choose the baselines you’d like to compare, and hit “Select”


5) Select the “Hardware” or “Software” radio button to view the data you want to see

So far, so good, right? Now, let’s have a look at various flavors of the “What’s Changed” report.

Report #1: This version of the “What’s Changed” report shows hardware configuration changes across your network. For each hardware attribute, you can see the percentage of machines which have changed since the establishment of the baseline. In this example, you notice that one machine has had a change in RAM. When you drill deeper, you will see exactly which machine has undergone the change.

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Report #2: If you drill in on that individual machine displayed in Report #1, the resulting report shows all the changes made to that computer between the baselines you selected. This is useful, for example, if you’re troubleshooting issues on a user’s computer. The report speaks for itself, showing any software that was added or deleted during that time interval.

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Report #3: This final report shows “What’s Changed” across all the applications installed within your environment. If you scan the row for any given software title, you can see the number of “adds” and “deletes”, along with the “delta,” or net change. If you click on a software title, you can then see exactly which machine/users added or deleted copies of that application.