Apr 12, 2018

What to Watch for in Your SAM Tool’s Software and SKU Catalogs

When evaluating a SAM tool, one of the major components of any solution is the Software and SKU Catalogs, or Master Catalog. There are many catalogs in the industry, and it’s not possible to compare catalogs in an apples-to-apples sense in most cases, particularly with regard to the size of the catalog.

When you think about it, the same concept applies to restaurants. The restaurant with the largest menu is not necessarily the best. This holds especially true in the Software Asset Management industry. When it comes to accuracy and coverage, largest is not the best, and ‘largest’ is not the same as ‘most complete’.

What to Watch for in Your SAM Tool’s Software and SKU Catalogs

Entitlement Centric Catalog

Aspera is recognized as having the most complete SAM catalog in the industry. What this means is that we delivered the industry’s first – and only – entitlement centric catalog. It remains true today that our Master Catalog offers the largest SKU catalog in the industry. This means our catalog provides full software compliance for more products and vendors across the industry.

More coverage for your key vendors

What to Watch for in Your SAM Tool’s Software and SKU Catalogs

The Aspera Master catalog is integrated into the SmartTrack tool and provides complete compliance coverage for 1,159 vendors (as of 4/5/18). This is more coverage that any other SAM provider in the industry. We can assume that 80% of your software spend is in 20% of your vendors. Aspera can ensure you we have full coverage of your entire software estate, regardless of the number of manufacturers or products in our Master Catalog compared to others in the industry.

The Aspera Master Catalog is a living technology that is constantly growing. It ships with dynamic, future-proof features such as:

  • Over 80% out-of-box normalization of a typical software inventory
  • Over 90% out-of-box matching of your software to the correct SKUs
  • Data records for more than 6,000 product families
  • Data records for 750,000+ researched product use rights
  • Data records for more than 100,000+ licensable products
  • Data records for 1,000 vendors, 50+ fully managed & optimized

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Expansive, integrated data coverage

In the SAM industry, having a larger “software” catalog is only useful to identify installed software, but within a SAM process this is only the first item needed for software license compliance management and software license optimization.

Once the software is identified using SmartTrack’s hundreds of thousands of signatures and recognition rules, SmartTrack maps raw discovery data to normalized catalog products. The normalized software inventory then goes through a process known as Metric Engine calculation which applies the appropriate license metric and terms and conditions of that software that is installed.

What to Watch for in Your SAM Tool’s Software and SKU Catalogs

This process delivers Aspera at the top of SAM tools in regards to data accuracy and complete coverage of your software estate. The SKU catalog is often a separate purchase per manufacturer with other tools. No other SAM tool has a more extensive SKU library to identify entitlement information, and then apply those rights to your deployed software.

More metric engines

The Aspera Master Catalog contains more metric engines and license types than any other catalog, as well as full MSDN, Office365, and Adobe creative cloud bundle logic. Aspera SmartTrack contains all known license types and metric engines for customers to determine appropriate demand for licensing for all software in any environment.

A deeper level of recognition happens with the master catalog for software suites. For example, in order to create rules that distinguish standalone installations of Photoshop from deployments of Creative Suite Design Standard or Master Collection, the catalog combines multiple signatures across types (Add/Remove Programs, File, MSI, etc.), and operators (Includes, One Of, Excludes, etc.).

Only “open” catalog in industry

Aspera SmartTrack Master Catalog
Example of how to adjust product usage rights to meet specific company needs.

Aspera has the only “open” catalog in the industry, which allows customers to extend their catalog. This is needed because most organizations have specific product usage rights negotiated with many of their vendors. The Aspera master catalog is open architecture, allowing you to adjust the product usage rights within the user interface, or add additional vendors or products that may be specific to your company.

It’s really important to understand that many SAM vendors may have a software catalog known as “black box” catalog. This black box technology means that you aren’t able to view SKU information, or search for information regarding incomplete procurement information. This is a major issue for organizations that have incomplete procurement records, as you are unable to search the catalog for the appropriate information.

Discovery tool agnostic

The final differentiator is the fact that the Aspera Master Catalog is discovery tool agnostic and does not require you to replace your discovery tools in order for our SAM process to properly identify your software. Without a discovery-agnostic technology, customers may be asked to replace their current discovery tools with their chosen SAM tool provider’s discovery tool in order to make the software recognition work. If you purchased a SAM tool based on the “largest” software catalog, you now may be struggling with an inability to produce Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM compliance after 1-3 years because your catalog is not discovery-agnostic.

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Topics: SAM 101, SAM Education, SmartTrack




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