Microsoft SAM Guide (Part One)

What a Microsoft Licence Review means for you and your organisation

This guide has been put together to address any questions or concerns you may have about undergoing a licence review with Microsoft. I understand that you will want to know what’s involved, how the process works, what Microsoft would expect from you, and what you will get in return. If you need extra information or clarification, please get in touch with your Microsoft contact (or your Reseller) at any time during the course of your review [...]

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Importing Software Licenses Into Asset Intelligence System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Importing Software Licenses Into Asset Intelligence System Center Configuration Manager 2007

The following sections describe the procedures necessary to import both Microsoft (and non-Microsoft software) licensing information into Config Manager 2007 using the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard

Importing Microsoft Volume Licensing (MVLS) Software License Information

Microsoft software license information can be imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue directly from a Microsoft licensing spreadsheet (Excel). Before importing software license information, the MVLS spreadsheet must be converted to an .xml file. The following procedure describes how to convert an MVLS licensing spreadsheet file to .xml format using Microsoft Office Excel.

HINT  Either Microsoft Office Excel 2003 or Microsoft Office Excel 2007 can be used to complete this procedure. However, if you attempt to convert an MVLS spreadsheet created in Microsoft Office Excel 2003 (.xls) with Microsoft Office Excel 2007 (.xlsx), this procedure will fail. Before beginning this procedure, ensure that the MVLS statement file type is the same as the version of Microsoft Office Excel that will be used. 

HINT  Make sure the import file is comprehensive as existing license data will be wiped and overwritten.

HINT  If you wish to software licenses from license information files into the site database, please be aware that you will need the full NTFS Permisions to the file share that will be used to import software license information.

Step by Step guide

To Convert a Microsoft Volume Licensing Statement to .xml Format

  1. Open the spreadsheet and ensure that the License Summary tab is selected.
  2. From the Microsoft Office Excel file menu, save the file in .xml format. When using Microsoft Office Excel 2003, the file created should be saved as an XML Spreadsheet formatted file. When using Microsoft Excel 2007, the file created should be saved as an XML Spreadsheet 2003 formatted file.
  3. Copy the .xml file to the file share that will be used to import software license information into the Asset Intelligence catalogue using the “Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard”.
  4. From within the Configuration Manager console, use the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard to import the newly created .xml license information file.
  5. Run the Asset Intelligence License 14A – Microsoft Volume Licensing Reconciliation Report to verify that the licensing information has been successfully imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue.

Importing non-Microsoft Volume Licensing (MVLS) Software License Information

Non-Microsoft software license information can also be imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue using a manually created license import file in .csv file format. When creating a non-Microsoft license import file, you will need to include descriptive information including the usual information Product Name, Publisher, Version, Language, Support Purchased, Support Expiration, PO Number, Effective Quantity, Date of Purchase and Reseller.

Step by Step guide

The following procedure describes the process that can be used to create a non-Microsoft software license import file using Microsoft Office Excel.

To Create a non-Microsoft License Import File Using Microsoft Office Excel

  1. Open Microsoft Office Excel
  2. On the first row of the new spreadsheet, enter all software license data field names.
  3. On the second and subsequent rows of the new spreadsheet, enter software license information as required. Ensure that at least all of the required software license data fields are entered on subsequent rows for each software license to be imported. The software title name entered in the spreadsheet must be the same as the software title that is displayed in Resource Explorer for a client computer after hardware inventory has run.
  4. From the Microsoft Office Excel file menu, save the file in .csv format.
  5. Copy the .csv file to the file share that will be used to import software license information into the Asset Intelligence catalogue using the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard.
  6. From within the Configuration Manager console, use the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard to import the newly created .csv license information file.
  7. Run the Asset Intelligence License 15A – Third Party Software Reconciliation Report to verify that the licensing information has been successfully imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue.

How to Import Software License Information

In the SSCM Console > Site Database > Computer Management > Asset Intelligence.

HINT  If you have the action pane up, Click “License Import Wizard” .

Then run the Import and browse to the location of your XML Formatted licensing information file on the standard network share folder.

 http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/configurationmanager/en/us/default.aspx

10 Reasons to Implement SAM

Why should you implement a Software Asset Management (SAM) Plan in your business?

Financial Security

The complexities of managing software across an organization make controlling costs a big challenge and can leave you feeling financially vulnerable. Implementing a good SAM plan controls your costs with standardization throughout the software life cycle. You can thereby secure the information needed to choose the most cost-effective licensing programs, provide better IT forecasting for budgeting, and receive tax benefits associated with software depreciation.

Volume discounts for better price points

SAM can help you save when purchasing your licenses, improve relations with your software resellers, and give you an advantage in future negotiations. These benefits and others are possible because a fully implemented SAM plan gives you a better understanding of what types of licenses—and how many—your organization has purchased and deployed, and what you are actually using and therefore need. Should you buy on a per-PC basis, or could you save money through volume licensing? Your SAM plan will provide you with the insights to help you make efficient and effective decisions for the unique needs of your organization.

More liability control

A good SAM plan helps you avoid financial penalties and legal costs by ensuring that your licenses are compliant, and helps prevent any potential damage to your reputation that could arise from a lawsuit. SAM can also help you achieve compliance with government regulations that require strict standards of IT governance and controls.

Good corporate governance

Effective corporate governance begins with two basic steps: identifying the risks facing your business, and controlling and mitigating those risks before they can have an impact. SAM can help you identify your business and compliance risks associated with software management (or lack thereof) and establish a set of well-defined best practices that help ensure consistent management of these assets throughout your organization.

Increased employee satisfaction

A good SAM plan will give your employees the right tools they need to do their jobs. Trouble-free software and IT systems that function as they should will result not only in increased efficiency, but also in better overall employee morale.

Smoother operations

Your entire organization runs better with SAM. Initially, by providing better automation and standardizing processes to help reduce complexity, SAM optimizes your software and IT resources and lets you focus on running your business. Infrastructure Optimization can take your business from a non-managed reactive state to a proactive, optimized, and dynamic state. You also have an added peace of mind by ensuring your software is genuine and not pirated. This provides an extra layer of security and efficiency that pirated software cannot, and which might in fact interrupt your IT systems and overall business.

Reduce/eliminate waste and redundancy

Overlapping, non-integrated, and outdated applications are just harder to manage. SAM gives you the information you need to make the best use of your software assets and to pay only for what you use. Thorough and ongoing reconciliation can reveal software overlap, as well as software that you no longer use and can consequently retire but are still maintaining. SAM therefore enables you to reduce/eliminate maintenance plans and additional fees on software you no longer use.  *Always check your license agreements before transferring software. Certain agreements may limit the transfer or redeployment of software.

Better market position

SAM can help your business gain the competitive advantage it needs in the marketplace. Up-to-date licensing and an extensive, comprehensive documented media library can result in faster, easier processes and streamlined software functionality throughout the organization; both with day to day activities and in times of mergers and acquisitions.

Increased long-term business value

Implementing SAM can increase your organization’s agility and enhance its future value by ensuring that you make strategic use of resources in times of changing business conditions. With consistent and effective SAM practices in place, your business is more efficient and can respond quickly to market conditions and opportunities. Following the best practices in your SAM plan results in better information for decision making and a higher degree of operational excellence; ultimately driving long-term business value.

Flexibility for the future

SAM gives you better insight into your future software needs and provides a scalable foundation for growth. Instead of buying all the newest software and updates available, you’ll be able to decide exactly what software is needed and when you’ll need it. With SAM, you can plan for your future needs now.

[Ref: http://www.microsoft.com/sam/en/us/reasons.aspx]

Microsoft License Review

Discovery

The first step on ascertaining your license position is to go through a discovery process. The purpose of this exercise is to ascertain exactly what software is deployed across your organisation. This should include all sites from the central HQ to regional offices. This will include owned affiliates.

The method you approach this will depend on your organisations existing investment in Software Asset Management (SAM). You will need access to a discovery tool which will enable you to scan your network. Software inventory tools intelligently “discover” software installed across the network and collect software file information such as Title, Version and Edition. Some inventory tools compare software inventory data with purchasing information to reveal license deficits and ensure that organizations remain compliant with their licensing agreements.

HINT: As a starting point you can start this project using the Microsoft Inventory Analyser (MSIA) Tool.

If you have limited resources to conduct a Microsoft License Review it is recommend to agree and scope out a project with a Microsoft SAM Partner. You can choose your preferred LAR (Large Account Reseller), who will have a SAM department, or an independent SAM consultancy.

The Discovery Process will ascertain the following,

  • Identify all Windows based hardware assets within the Company.
  • Identify and categorise all major software applications deployed on hard drives.
  • Provide a consolidated MLR (Microsoft License Review) document.
  • Provide the core data to identify exposure to mislicensed software.

A Microsoft SAM Partner will deploy audit software. This software can be deployed either on-site or remotely. The audit software will then intensively scan all possible Windows devices.