Technology

San Diego Release- Three New And Exciting Features In Software Asset Management

The San Diego release of ServiceNow is a metaphorical return “home” for the platform; much of ServiceNow’s history and roots run through the southern California city. For ITAM practitioners, San Diego represents another step forward in capability for managing their companies’ asset estates, both through new functionality and improvements to existing features. In this article, we will focus on key improvements made in both Software Asset Management and Hardware Asset Management to support the ITAM practitioner’s mission to optimize their investment in technology to support the business in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

ServiceNow introduced its updated UI “Workspace” to Software Asset Management in Rome and introduces it to Hardware Asset Management in San Diego. Based on ServiceNow’s “Next Experience” UI framework, Workspaces deliver a modernized visual design and a simplified, unified user experience to provide a centralized view of the ITAM estate.

ADVANCE’S Assessment: ServiceNow has made usability a focus across the platform and now both HAM and SAM benefit from their UI improvement efforts. For users new to ServiceNow, these UI improvements will help speed adoption. If you are an experienced ITAM user in ServiceNow that has invested effort in getting their current “classic” views configured to their liking, not to worry, those views are still available to you.

Also available to both HAM and SAM are new OOB flows around IT Asset Offboarding. You can now streamline the technology offboarding process with a prescriptive workflow that automates the request, reclamation, evaluation, and removal of hardware and software during offboarding activity. Use HAM and SAM together to help ensure all devices and software licenses are returned, repurposed, retired, or reallocated.

ADVANCE’S Assessment: A key “Better Together” narrative for ITAM and HR, we see excellent value in the capabilities ServiceNow has added to their baseline workflows in HAM and SAM. If you have implemented a Joiners-Movers-Leavers process or are considering partnering with HR to do so, the Asset Offboarding capacity offered here along with the Onboarding functionality introduced in previous releases, provides you the platform to enable and automate those processes.

Another “Better Together” story come to life in San Diego is found with Virtual Agent for Software Requests. While this requires having both SAM Professional/Enterprise and ITSM Professional, the benefit is clear; now software requests can be managed in a conversational interface with machine learning-enabled agent. Not sure what application you need or if the application you want is on the authorized install list? Now you can ask the virtual agent.

ADVANCE’S Assessment: This is a differentiator in the market, leveraging the considerable investment ServiceNow has placed in AI and machine learning. If you are already savvy with Virtual Agent, this opens a new area for the conversational user experience. If you are new to Virtual Agent, consider the benefits of simplifying the software request process and having an automated agent answer the frequent questions that come up when users need software.

Microsoft licensing is top of mind for most software asset managers due to its complex and ever-changing ruleset. Amongst the data Microsoft provides to its customers is the Microsoft Licensing Statement (MLS). While the MLS provides useful data regarding license entitlements, publisher part numbers, and alignment to maintenance/Software Assurance, it is a complicated set of tables that requires deep knowledge to interpret correctly. In San Diego, ServiceNow for the first time automates the import of the MLS to facilitate entitlement creation and management, including an error-handling workflow to identify and remediate incorrect/insufficient entitlements.

ADVANCE’S Assessment: For software practitioners specifically, this is a welcome feature. Having had to parse the MLS for entitlement data in multiple implementations myself, I understand the frustration software asset managers feel when they work with them. That said, this is a first iteration of a complex import; to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”
In addition to these key improvements, the San Diego release includes several other new and updated functions for ITAM practitioners:

  • Component level discovery of Microsoft SQL Server editions
  • Reporting and analysis of Microsoft Azure realized savings
  • A workflow to automate conversions of custom publisher part numbers to Content Service suggestions
  • A portal window for viewing the Content Library with extended search capabilities for lifecycle dates, version, downgrades, bundle components, part numbers, and more.
  • Publisher Pack updates, including:
    • Advanced Client Access License (CAL) support
    • Oracle CAL Automation
    • Oracle Multi-tenant Database Licensing
    • Support for Oracle Max rules in DB server licensing
    • Advanced Optimization for Microsoft Windows and SQL Server deployed on clusters
    • Cross-platform virtualization calculations (e.g., Microsoft SQL/Windows on Hyper-V)
    • User defined Calculated lifecycle dates for cases where vendors do not provide formal lifecycle dates.

If you are interested in learning more about how SAM Professional/SAM Enterprise in ServiceNow can help you achieve your objectives for software asset management, reach out to our experts. We’d love to help.

Wally is an expert in ITAM Best Practices, both Hardware and Software as well as leads the Business Process Consulting Group. He serves as Director, IT Asset Management.

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