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Provance

Plug-ins Review Index

Introduction

Provance offers the only solution in this group test that is installed as part of System Center Service Manager as opposed to System Center Configuration Manager.

Microsoft provides a market place of management packs, rather like an enterprise app store for System Center. The market place includes plugins or extensions that build on the System Center infrastructure and load into the underlying product and work within the existing data structure and workflow.

Service Manager, released in May 2010, is Microsoft’s service management offering focusing on incident, problem and change management processes. Service Manager is pivotal in the System Center platform, since it hosts the CMDB used across the System Center platform and uses built-in connectors to populate the CIs from SCCM, AD and SCOM

Provance has developed an IT Asset Management Pack for Microsoft System Center that works directly within the Service Manager console.

I believe this is a smart move on behalf of Provance to place their pack within Service Manager rather than Configuration Manager:

  1. From Service Manager not only can they access Configuration Manager data but also connect with Active Directory, Operations Manager and Orchestrator.
  2. ITAM is better aligned to Service Manager (Business oriented, process centric, human to system interaction) than Configuration Manager (technically oriented).
  3. It offers Provance a broader scope for future packs and growth across the rest of the System Center platform.
  4. Asset data is immediately at hand within Incident, Problem and Change Management records all within the same console. For example view assets associated with an incident, financial information, warranty details, owners etc.

When the Provance IT Asset Management pack is installed it adds an additional workspace into Service Manager. Provance inserts additional classes to the existing SQL database to add new value to the Microsoft CMDB.

Hardware Asset Management

Details about suppliers, contracts, warranties, physical locations, hardware and software licensing details and relationships are added. IT Asset Managers can manage the lifecycle of hardware before and after it touches the network. Additional costs such as parts, labour and services can be assigned against particular assets so the total TCO for each asset can be tracked.

Software Asset Management

From a software perspective Provance offer advanced license management features to marry together SCCM inventory information and purchase history with a SKU catalogue to calculate true entitlement.

Enterprise Data Integration

Provance also offers a Data Management pack for importing information above and beyond the capabilities of Service Center. This pack allows administrators to import and integrate data from any CSV or SQL based source and align it to the data classes within Service Center. An easy to use Wizard maps data fields, builds relationship links and synchronizes the System Center infrastructure with other Enterprise sources such as HR data, purchase records or ERP systems.

Wrap Up

I reviewed the Provance ITAM pack back in 2010 and am very pleased to see it maturing so quickly – especially around Software Management which seems to have come along by leaps and bounds.

The key differentiator with Provance is the ability to take action and kick off processes from within Service Manager. A smart offering from Provance – I look forward to seeing what they offer later this year with their new version to coincide with the release of System Center 2012.

From the brochure:

For over 14 years Provance® IT Asset Management software has been used by mid- to large sized enterprises and government organizations to drive down IT costs, increase service management efficiency, and reduce security and compliance risks. The new Provance IT Asset Management Pack is a Process Management Pack that runs within Microsoft® System Center Service Manager 2010. It complements the Incident, Problem and Change Management capabilities of Service Manager with powerful IT Asset Life Cycle Management and Software Asset Management.  Supporting ITIL® and the Microsoft Operations Framework, Provance strengthens the IT effectiveness of companies at every level of the Microsoft Core Infrastructure Optimization model. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Provance holds the Microsoft Software Asset Management and Systems Management Competency and is a member of the Microsoft System Center Alliance. Provance was recognized as Microsoft Partner Network Awards 2011 – SAM Innovation Partner of the Year (finalist).

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