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ISO 19770-2 SWID update

I know, I have been very tardy – sorry, but things like this happen and will continue to happen.  I am starting to like blogging, but there will be times when I will simply not be able to do this, when my “day job” will get in the way.  Some say that this is a part of my day job now – but I prefer to think about this as a way to “spread my wings”.  But enough about that…


Let’s get back to my thoughts about the Software Identification tags.  I have been waiting for some more news from Steve Klos from Tagvault.org.  Unfortunately for me (and you), Steve went on vacation and truly “unplugged” (I hope it wasn’t simply because cell phones don’t work under water J).


So, here is what I know now:


1.       GSA should have their policy established sometime in June (it would be nice if it was just before HP Software Universe).


2.       Tagvault.org held a contest to promote the use of tags.  Unfortunately, HP did not participate at this time, but believe me – not being the first out of the gate does not mean we are not interested (or else, why would I be writing to promote this topic).


If you go to the Tagvault.org website, you can watch a video of the contest results – if you are not familiar with the tags – it is a great way to get introduced to them.

Important week for Software Asset Management

You may have read my recent posts about Software Asset Management, where I have been promoting the ISO19770-2 software ID tags.


This is an important week for the future of Software Asset Management.  This week, US General Services Administration (GSA) is meeting with some of the people involved in passing the ISO 19770-2 standard and TagVault.org.  They will be discussing whether US Government will adopt ISO 19770-2 software tags as a requirement for all future software purchases.


I for one, hope the GSA adopts this requirement and forces software companies to include these tags with all software  I also hope the GSA will adopt an aggressive and realistic date for the requirement to be mandatory.  I also hope this is a “hard” requirement, because otherwise adoption rates may be low, or may take a long time for these tags to become common.  The tags are relatively easy to create and TagVault.org can provide assistance and, perhaps more importantly, is becoming a central tag certification and signing authority.


In other words, I hope the outcome of the meeting will be a statement like this “in order to sell software to US Government, your software must include ISO 19770-2 tag.  The requirement is effective January 1, 2011”, as opposed to “US Government will prefer to use software which includes ISO 19770-2 tags from today on”.


I will be waiting for the results of the meeting.  I hope the GSA decides to require these tags and soon.


If you are involved in Software Asset Management this could be like Christmas in March.  And if all goes really well, then maybe the requirement will come into effect in time for Christmas this year.

The complex world of Software Inventory

In my previous blog, I promoted the concept of ISO 19770-2 tags.  But, I did not get deep into the reasons why I think they are so important.  Let me fill in some of the blanks.


In my many conversations with IT professionals, I noticed that outside of Software Asset Managers, few people understand why Software Asset Management (SAM) is so difficult.  And I am not surprised.  And the reason is rather obvious – we know what software is on our own machines.  By extension, we think that IT should also be able to find out what is installed on all IT managed machines.


Here is why this is not so.


1.       There are no universal standards to enable a reliable and complete discovery of software.  Not all applications report themselves to the OS – even on Windows. The file header information, the registry, WMI and Add/Remove Programs information in Windows is not consistent and reliable, although still miles ahead of Linux and UNIX.  I do have to give some kudos to Microsoft for having the most effective standards.


2.       There is no universally standard way to install applications.  There are many installers, and there no universal way to extract information from the installer – again, the situation is the better on Windows than other OSs.


3.       There is no single approach that can discover all software.  Some applications can be identified using file-based recognition, others require scripts, etc.


I have seen various attempts at solving this challenge.  Just talk to different asset management vendors.  You will hear about thousands of recognition entries (or signatures, footprints, etc).  You will hear about pulling data from OS sources and custom modules for identification of individual applications, but I bet that not one company can say they can discover all applications (unless they mean to provide a list of all files on each file system, but that is not exactly what we are interested in, is it?).


And here is another thing – none of us want to spend any time or money in the trenches.  We want Software Asset Management; we want it now and at a minimal cost. But, how do you manage your assets without proper discovery?  It’s like trying to drive a car with no wheels.  It may feel great to sit in it, but it won’t get you far.  Software discovery or inventory is the foundation – without it, you cannot do SAM.  But if we don’t want to invest in it, means we must find a common way of collecting the information.  This has to be something that is OS independent, it has to be something that is vendor independent.  It also has to be something that is quick and easy to do, because everyone, customer and vendor, is watching their expenses these days.


And that, my friends is why I am so passionate about promoting the ISO 19770-2 standard.  It is vendor and OS independent.  It is quick and easy to adopt (relative terms of courseJ).  There is even an organization that can help create and sign these tags – TagVault.org. It is a standard that can be universally adopted.  And it is time we had an adopted standard.  Trust me, I would much rather think about how to create an innovative user experience, or look for ways to adopt some new wiz-bang technology, than spend my days creating file-based software recognition entries.


I recall a conversation I had with one of my customers about SAM.  This particular gentleman is a manager of a large IT shop that has in-sourced its asset management.  His customers don’t understand how difficult it is to collect software inventory information.  He knows there is no magic bullet to solve the problem.  But, until this standard, he did not see much hope.  He thought that the only way to get software vendors to provide a way to track their software was through courts.  I am not sure if you have noticed, but many software vendors are now investing resources in license compliance audits.  Reason is simple – they are not selling as much as they used to before the recession (everyone is tightening their budgets and software expenditures are finally being scrutinized).  So, how do you make up a revenue shortfall?  One word – Audits.


His wish may yet come true – I think that if ISO 19770-2 gets adopted, it will force all vendors to compliance – the legal system that is fully behind the license agreements today may suddenly wake up to the fact that in some cases software identification is incredibly difficult, almost as if the vendors were purposely making it difficult.  I am not saying that is so by any means, but our legal system may decide that it is unfair that a particular vendor is not adopting a common standard and therefore putting undue pressure on the customer to track their software installations.  And I have yet to meet a customer who is not bewildered by the challenges that software discovery/inventory presents in their daily lives.  Like a real life Sisyphean task (even though they cannot tell me what they are being punished forJ).


But anyway, let me get off my soap box – I am getting long winded (and I know those who know me aren’t surprised).


But, ISO 19770-2 is only a part of the Software Asset Management challenge – it’s a start.  But then, we will need to get behind ISO 19770-3.  But that is another topic, for another time.   Hope you enjoyed this post – I promise/threat to write more.


 

Can Software Asset Management Become Easier?

We are now living in 2010, computers are everywhere....so why is it so hard to track license compliance?  After all, we can all see the applications in Add/Remove programs…


I have been managing HP DDMI (Discovery and Dependency Mapping Inventory -our asset and inventory discovery software) for a couple of years now.  Before I took on managing this product, I knew it had hardware and software inventory capabilities and I was impressed with its software recognition capabilities. Then, as the world entered the global recession at the end of 2008, I started hearing a lot of complaints about gaps in DDMI’s software inventory.  I was a little surprised…I mean I knew we had some limitations, but I thought most of them were because we were not providing all of the results we were capturing and that we could improve the level of automation.


But, as it turns out (hindsight being 20/20) the issue is much bigger than I thought.  Is DDMI behind the competition?  Are we in danger of becoming irrelevant in the market place?  The answers I found comforted and shocked me at the same time!


First of all, I began to realize how incredibly complex the world of Software Asset Management really is.  Having gained CSAM certification from IAITAM, I validated that realization. I also learned about the many daily challenges of an IT Asset Management professional.  I realized there is a big difference between reporting what is installed and being able to track licenses.  There are also differences between tracking desktop software and server software, Windows software and Linux/UNIX software.


My conclusion?  There is no way to be able to automatically track license compliance across the board today.  You may be able to do it for specific titles, or perhaps vendors.  But there is no way to do it across the board!!!


Is there hope for the future? Yes!  It is a faint hope, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully it is sunlight and not a train lightJ).  We now have a first global standard that promises to improve the current situation - ISO 19770.  ISO 19770-1 provides information about best practices for performing effective Asset Management.  ISO 19770-2 provides a description of a standard asset tag that will identify installed software.  That means, you will be able to read the tag information rather than relying on software recognition or other complex and potentially inaccurate and incomplete methods of identifying software.  Then, if and when ISO 19770-3 is approved, you will be able to use the same method to collect license entitlement information.


Yes, it will take time for vendors to adopt these standards.  This is where each of you come in – vendors listen to their customers.  So, here is my call to action to all of youstart asking for ISO 19770-2 compliance on every RFI and RFP from today on!  It doesn’t matter what the software is – if you buy it, you have to track it, so ISO 19770-2 compliance should be mandatory for all vendors.


Then, once you get the ball rolling, it will be easier to require ISO 19770-3 compliance.  And that will provide you with the license entitlement information – making software license compliance easier.


And don’t worry – you will not put me out of work and you will not lose your jobs either.  As much as I would like to be an optimist, I don’t think for a second that every vendor will fully or correctly implement these standards.  But if we can only solve 80% of the problem, or even 50% of the problem - that will help you deal with the other issues.


What issues?  There will be lots – have you looked at the licensing terms lately?


Stay tuned....more to come... a topic for another one of my posts...COMING SOON!

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About the Author(s)
  • HP IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager. I am also responsible for our end-to-end Change, Configuration, and Release Management (CCRM) solution. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.
  • David has led a career in Enterprise Software for over 20 years and has brought to market numerous successful IT management products and innovations.
  • Gil Tzadikevitch HP Software R&D Service Anywhere
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Jacques Conand is the Director of ITSM Product Line, having responsibility for the product roadmap of several products such as HP Service Manager, HP Asset Manager, HP Universal CMDB, HP Universal Discovery and the new HP Service Anywhere product. Jacques is also chairman of the ITSM Customer Advisory Board, ensuring the close linkage with HP's largest customers.
  • Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked with the UCMDB product line since 2004, and currently takes care of the top 100 HP Software customers, the CMS Best Practices library, and has hosted a weekly CMDB Practitioner's Forum since 2006.
  • Mary is a member of HP’s ITSM product marketing team and is responsible for HP Service Anywhere. She has 20+ years of product marketing, product management, and channel/alliances experience. Mary joined HP in 2010 from an early-stage SaaS company providing hosted messaging and mobility services. She also has product management experience in the ITSM industry. Mary has a BS in Computer Science and a MBA in Marketing. Follow: @MaryR_Colorado
  • Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Michael joined HP in 1989 and has held various positions in HP Software since 1996. In product marketing and product management Michael worked on different areas of the IT management software market, such as market analysis, sales content development and business planning for a broad range of products such as HP Operations Manager and HP Universal CMDB.
  • Ming is Product Manager for HP ITSM Solutions
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Oded is the Chief Functional Architect for the HP Service and Portfolio Management products, which include Service Manager, Service Anywhere, Universal CMDB & Discovery, Asset Manager, Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • Olivier is Product Line Manager for the HP Configuration Management System (CMS) which is comprised of UCMDB, UCMDB Configuration Manager, the UCMDB Browser, and Universal Discovery.
  • I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
  • A 25+ year veteran of HP, Yvonne is currently a Senior Product Manager of HP ITSM software including HP Service Anywhere and HP Service Manager. Over the years, Yvonne has had factory and field roles in several different HP businesses, including HP Software, HP Enterprise Services, HP Support, and HP Imaging and Printing Group. Yvonne has been masters certified in ITIL for over 10 years and was co-author of the original HP IT Service Management (ITSM) Reference Model and Primers.
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