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Happy October! Since the past several blogs have discussed very specific topics within Asset Management, such as Inventory, People Relationships, and Auditing, I thought now might be a good time to take a step back for those who are just getting started in the application.  Over the next few months I would like to take a look at some important steps that go into planning and configuring Asset Management, with a special focus on Software License Management.

 

So Where Do We Begin?

Software License Management is really about knowing what you’ve installed, what you’ve paid for, and eliminating any differences between the two either through uninstalling unused software or buying more licenses. A great place to start is figuring out what you’ve paid for. For Remedy Asset Management, this information is established in contracts and license certificates.

 

Hopefully your organization already has some processes in place that track contract data. This can be in the form of a Software License Management tool, a homegrown application, a spreadsheet, or even (gasp) Post-it notes. If your organization has no system whatsoever for tracking this information, you’ll need to pull the data straight from the contracts themselves. Once you identify what you have on hand, you’ll need compare it to what the Software License Contract and License Certificate forms in Asset Management require.

 

So what information do you need for Software License Management in Remedy Asset Management?

 

Adding Software License Contracts

There’s already some really good documentation on creating a new Software License Contract. I highly recommend reviewing this first before reading further.

 

Software contracts use several key pieces of information, all of which is required to effectively track software contracts. Accurate data on the contracts themselves is a prerequisite to effectively managing against them, so take the time necessary to collect and enter this information.

When creating a new contract, at a minimum you’ll need the following information: Contract ID, Summary, Term, Status, Company, Supplier, Cost Center, Expiration Date, Notification Date, and a Managing Support Group (including Company, Organization, and Support Group Name).

Contract2.png

Many of these fields are menu-driven to ensure data accuracy and consistency with Foundation data. You may need to add Foundation data if you find the menus are missing necessary values. Below is a list of fields that are menu-driven and where to go to configure additional value. Each of these configuration processes start by opening the Application Administration Console:

 

FieldConfiguration LocationNotes
Company Information (Company, Organization, and Department)Both Standard or Custom Configuration tabThe Company you create must have “Operating Company” as one of its ‘Types’ in order to show up as a selection in this menu. Once you add a new Company, you can configure the company’s Organizations and Departments. Click here for more information.
Supplier NameSame as CompanyThis is also a company. The Company you create must have “Supplier” as one of its ‘Types’ in order to show up as a selection in this menu (NOTE: Companies can have multiple types).
Cost CenterCustom Configuration tab under Foundation->Costing->Cost Center

Click here for more information.

Contract Managed By (Support Company, Organization, and Group)Standard tab (Step 3) or Custom ConfigurationThis is a standard Support Group.
Click here for more information.
Notification ContractStandard tab (Step 3 to modify Support Group, Step 4 if you need to add a person)This is a member of the Support Group designated in the field above. Click here for more information.
Location (Region, Site Group, and Site)Standard tab (Step 4) or Custom Configuration tabClick here for more information.

 

 

Once your configuration is in place and you’ve collected the necessary data, it’s time to create new contracts in Asset Management. Once you’ve entered a new contract, then you’ll be able to add License Certificates.

 

Creating License Certificates

Like Software License Contracts, there’s also good documentation for the License Certificates. Again, I highly recommend reviewing this first before reading further.

 

Creating accurate License Certificates is absolutely vital; the compliance jobs you configure later will use this information to determine software compliance. License Type, Product Categorizations, and Number of License Purchased are particularly crucial elements in ensuring the results of the Software License Management (SWLM) jobs you’ll configure later produce accurate results.

 

When adding a certificate to a Software License Contract, you’ll need to include the following information for each license: Certificate ID, Summary, License Type, Cost Center, Product Catalog information (Manufacturer at a minimum), Number of licenses purchased, and the two Breach warning levels. Like Contracts many of these fields are also menu-driven. Please follow the guidelines discussed for configuring these fields for contracts to configure the same for certificates.

 

License.png

 

All about License Types

Perhaps the most important, and most confusing, field on the License Certificate form is the License Type. License Type is how the software vendor tallies the number of licenses currently in use in your environment. Does the vendor simply look at each installed instance? Do they factor in processors and CPUs? Do they allow users with multiple devices to use a single license? These are the type of questions you’ll need to ask for each certificate you own. License Type is where you store these answers.

 

Out of the box there are several License Types you can choose from. The documentation I pointed to you earlier has a brief description of each, but below is a list of these types linked to documentation explaining how each type is expected to work:

 

 

Please note that for the “Per Core” license type there is some additional configuration required in the Application Administration Console. The documentation in the links above point this out, but more specific documentation on configuring processor multipliers can be found here.

 

Product Categories and Certificates

Associating your certificate with product catalog entries is probably the next most important item. Building your Product Dictionary is a process unto itself, so let’s focus on how the Product Dictionary relates to License Certificates.

 

When a Software License Management (SWLM) job runs, it matches software instances in your CMDB to your Licenses Certificates using the Product Categorizations you relate to the certificate. You may notice that you only have to designate a Manufacturer when associating a product to a certificate, but that you can also drill down the different Product Category levels if you want to narrow your scope. The lower the level at which you define the product association to the certificate, the narrower the search will be for relatable software CIs. For instance, if I simply designate “Microsoft” for the ‘Manufacturer’ in my product certificate association, but leave all other fields blank, the SWLM job will link to my certificate all software CIs with “Microsoft” as the Manufacturer. If I narrow my association down to also include Product Name, designating “Microsoft Word 2010” in this field, only Product CIs with that Product Name will be related to my certificate.

 

If you find that you need to add entries into your Product Dictionary, be aware that your discovery tool may be populating these fields on the CI when it populates the CMDB with software. You will want to make sure that whatever entries you create for this process match both what you want to populate on your certificate as well what’s in your CMDB.  Use Atrium Normalization with the Product Catalog to ensure you have consistent, normalized data in the CMDB before defining product categorization to be used for Software License Management.   For more info, see Product Catalog and License Management.

 

When you add a license from the Software License Contract, a wizard will guide you through entering all this data into the system. Once you have entered the required fields, determined the appropriate license type, linked the necessary Product Categories, and listed the number of licenses purchased, you should then have a License related to your Software License Contract.You'll notice that some fields are not populated and are grayed out. These fields will get calculated by the SWLM job, which we'll discuss in a later blog.

 

This process is fairly quick for loading a handful of contracts and certificates, but what if I have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands, of contracts? Do I need to enter each of these manually? 

 

Uploading Using the Data Management Tool (DMT)

Fortunately you don’t have to upload everything one contract at a time. The Data Management Tool is the perfect mechanism for uploading multiple contracts, certificates, and other foundation data, all in one shot. As with the contracts and certificates, there’s already documentation that you should review before using the DMT. There are a few items I would like to point out specific to loading contracts and certificates.

 

If you’ve used the DMT, you already know it takes data in specially formatted Excel spreadsheets that you download from the Spreadsheet Management console, parses them, loads them to staging forms, validates them, and then promotes  to the “live” forms. For loading contracts and certificates, you’ll want to download and complete the “Transactional_Contract” spreadsheet. Each tab in this spreadsheet represents a form in Asset Management. Below is a brief explanation of each tab:

 

  • CTR_LoadContractBase – Software License Contracts (and other contract types)
  • AST_LoadLicenseCertificates  - License Certificate
  • AST_LoadLicCertProdAssoc – Relates Product Categories to License Certificates
  • CTR_LoadWorkLog – Work Info entries of the Contract
  • CTR_LoadContract_Relationship – Relates Contracts and License Certificates to CIs

 

Please follow the instructions carefully in the header of each column in these spreadsheets. These instructions help you avoid errors when loading data into the DMT.

 

Conclusion

Software License Management is an involved process that requires a lot of upfront planning for it to be successful. This month we focused on determining what you’ve purchased; next month we’ll take a closer look at determining what you’ve got installed in your environment and how to track that in Asset Management. If you’ve come across any additional tips or stories of your own setting up contracts and certificates, I encourage you to leave a note in the comments section below. Have a great October everyone!

 

You can find similar blogs on Remedy products here.