Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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April’s New Feature Spotlight: ISO Tag Collection & Reporting

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If you’ve been following developments related to the ISO/IEC software tagging standard, you’re probably aware that software tagging is believed by some to be the future of software identification. Driven by licensing challenges stemming from the inherent complexity of accurately identifying software, the ISO/IEC 19770-2 software tagging standard was established to provide software publishers with guidelines for “tagging” their applications i2012_iso-logo_printn a standard way that takes the guesswork out of matching discovered application files with their corresponding software titles, versions and editions.

Despite the technical ease with which software tags can be implemented, publishers, for a variety of reasons, have been slow to adopt the standard. That said, a few large software vendors such as Adobe, Symantec, and Microsoft have pledged support for the standard and are beginning to tag newly-released programs according to the ISO standard specifications. In addition, some branches of the U.S. federal government such as the GSA and the DoD have made a commitment to include tagging in their procurement requirements for commercial off-the-shelf software. Software publishers who comply with this standard design their software to create a software identification tag (SWID) that is written to a standard location and provides identifying information about the software title that is installed.

If you are interested in collecting and reporting on software tags, you will be happy to know that Express Software Manager Version 10 now provides this capability. There are no configuration changes required; the collection occurs automatically during the normal inventory process, and the SWID tag data is written directly to your Express Database.

To see the tag information that was gathered, simply run the ISO Software ID Tags report (found under the software inventory reports), which can display data grouped by machine, software publisher, or software title.

Because the ISO standard is relatively new, and only a few software publishers are currently supporting them, the results you see in your ISO Software ID Tags report will likely be limited to only a few manufacturers and software titles today. But as more software publishers join the software tagging bandwagon, and new software versions are released, Express Software Manager will be ready to gather and report on this information!