This independent review of Core Control from Concorde Solutions is part of our 2012 SAM Tools Review. See all participants and terms of the review here.
|Elevator Pitch||Cloud-based License Management solution for large and complex environments|
|Strengths||The best action oriented reporting I’ve seen. Aggregator for IT financial decision making|
|Weaknesses||Competitors have more sophistication and automation around complex licensing, No SKU Catalogue.|
|Primary Market Focus||SAM in Large Enterprises|
|Date of version release||October 2012|
|End points managed||c. 500,000|
|Pricing||“$12/1000 devices managed/annum” “$8.10/10000 devices managed/annum”|
|License Options||“Subscription, SaaS and project license available. SaaS hosted environment. Also available as a supported managed service directly to the customer.”|
My advice to busy IT folks trying to wrestle with enormity of Software Asset Management and complexity of managing software agreements is to:
- Build some credible data that you believe in and
- Don’t try to boil the ocean. Focus on those vendors and activities that will deliver the most impact.
In an ideal world every license in your estate, from that single copy of WinZip through to the Enterprise Edition SQL Processor License, is sacred. But back down on earth, unless you have the limitless resources of a football club owner, you must prioritize ruthlessly based on a good foundation of trustworthy data.
Software Risk Triage
It is for this reason I’m a big fan of the ‘Attention Items’ feature in Core Control.
‘Attention Items’ looks at your entire estate and provides a prioritized list of action items that will deliver the most value. It is the enterprise software equivalent to triage:
“Just show me the top 5 ACTION items that will deliver the greatest impact”
Concorde Software are not the first company to offer dashboards and status reports – but this is the best reporting I’ve seen that zooms in right to the heart of the problem. It is born from the pragmatic reality of everyday SAM engagements. It is one thing being to be presented a myriad of reports on your estate – it is quite another to know the next action to take.
Within Core Control users of the system can also model what their estate would look like if the actions were taken.
“If we tackle these three projects we’ll take 10% off our total compliance risk”
Of course, all of these prioritized action items are based on the assumption that you’ve collated all the underlying data to support it. This won’t be a point and click overnight process but it is a great step forward in the focus of SAM tools.
Enterprise SAM Workbench
Core Control is a new SAM offering built from the ground upwards in the Cloud and designed specifically for large enterprises and complex environments.
It is focused on License Management only and is inventory agnostic. Multiple data feeds can be fed from various sources to provide an aggregated view of Asset Management.
Users of the system can apply software publisher filters e.g. Oracle, which allows focus on one particular vendor at a time.
Being a relatively new offering some of the depth behind certain publishers is not as detailed as some of the competitors in this review. However, being a cloud based offering new features are being added monthly based on Concorde’s heritage in this arena. A cloud-based library maintained by Core Control supports software recognition, this includes licensable status, software category and upgrade and downgrade rights. Being a Cloud based offering all intelligence added to the software library is instantly reflected across all customers.
The Core Control team has introduced the concept of ‘Software Value Management’ (SVM). SVM, as I understand it, aims to take the conversation beyond compliance and license optimization and urges organizations to embrace vendor management and harness the business intelligence collected for SAM across all aspects of IT. So SAM information is used to aid the IT architect, strategic procurement decisions and support IT projects.
To be honest I’m not entirely convinced by the SVM proposition since it seems beyond the maturity of the average organization, but I find it refreshing that a vendor is using aspirational tones to take SAM beyond the humdrum compliance messages and towards its full definition: as business intelligence and IT enabler.
Reporting and Analysis
I found reporting in in Core Control to be comprehensive. Software Asset Management and Procurement professionals can plot underspend and compliance for publishers or departments. License Management is designed for large enterprises with multiple countries and cost centres allowing for internal reallocation, transfers and formal novation.
I really liked the ability to plot trends over time and comparisons between data sets. Users can view dashboards based on today, at points in the past or based on action taken in the future. SAM can sometimes feel like a two step forward, one step back process – so this is particularly useful to see what progress the company has made in their software efficiency efforts. As with most web-based tools; users can also drill down into dashboards to review and manipulate the underlying data.
Once filters have been applied I found it easy to export data to my local desktop for further analysis. In addition to standard reports users can also configure their own Widgets and dashboards.
If I were nitpicking, I would like to see Core Control providing more visibility and scrutiny over the quality of data being entered into their system to add even more credibility and confidence to the information provided (I don’t see other competitors doing this – but as a Cloud based aggregator I think it would be great value add to their proposition).
Core Control also does not use a SKU catalogue like it’s Enterprise SAM competitors – so they either need to add this functionality in or find another way to publicly demonstrate the robustness that SKU matching and catalogues provide.
1 Minute Video Introduction
Concorde Solutions Customers
- Leggett & Platt
From the Concorde Solutions Brochure:
“The world of software delivery is changing. Instead of perpetual licenses or lock-in contracts provided by mega vendors, cloud delivery models have the potential to save enterprise companies huge amounts of money. The Vendors tell you that in the future customers will only need to subscribe to the product capability actually used. However this new world of software licensing creates new challenges for companies. Not only will there be a requirement to continue to manage the legacy licensing environment across the desktop and the data centre, but now companies will be consuming software on a subscription basis.
Fast forward. With Core Control for the first time you can actually see what you are using on the desktop, in the data centre, with mobile and with the Cloud. This enables measurement against what you are paying for as well as evaluating the vendors’ performance. This is important as commercial models for software begin to include service agreements with key parameters around vendor’s deliverables. In a similar way to managing your utility contracts, you can measure the cost of utilising software, the accuracy of the vendor’s invoicing, usage against your actual business requirements, and critically, your vendors performance in delivering the service. This in turns allows the flexibility to seek alternatives and drive maximum value out of the relationship thereby providing you with the control for the first time.”
About Martin Thompson
Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.
On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.
Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.