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Technology Review: Concorde Core Control

This is an independent review of Core Control from Concorde Solutions (Reviewed October 2014).

AT A GLANCE – CONCORDE CORE CONTROL

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Concorde was founded in 2007 and has seen rapid growth over the past few years. They are a member of the CiF (Cloud Industry Forum) and FAST (Federation against Software Theft). Concorde have implemented their solution in complex, global organisations.

This review takes a look at the core capabilities, the route to market, competitive strengths and weaknesses, product development roadmap and market reach of Concorde’s Core Control offering.

Concorde offer Core Control as part of their ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) package, so it can be pushed out to clients around the world with minimal fuss. Core Control is a really strong offering from Concorde, with a number of key features and positive aspects.

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS

Strengths

Weaknesses

Scenario Modelling feature Complicated tool to use for a complete SAM beginner
(desktop and datacentre) Custom column headings tab could be more obvious
Detailed reporting structure
Integration with a large number of 3rd party tools
Built in DSL (Definitive Software Library) that pre-sets the correct license metrics

PRIMARY MARKET FOCUS

Concorde’s primary focus is on engagement with complex, global or multi-national enterprise organisations, as their environments tend to be disparate in nature due to a history of acquisition, disposal and growth. Concorde have experience supporting enterprise companies in many of the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 organizations.

Although Concorde focus primarily on complex global enterprise organisations, 5000 seats minimum, a number of clients have smaller estates. These clients can also demonstrate significant complexity due to their environment, vendor portfolio or acquisition history. Concorde provide services across the globe, being a SaaS based solution.

Core Control license pricing is based on the individual organisations environment.

In addition to license charges for Core Control, Concorde state they offer a range of supporting services provided by their in-house license team, to enable clients to achieve benefits from the platform, engage more effectively with their software vendors and support business programs using the business analytics data provided Core Control.

ANALYSIS

Core Control boasts an attractive user interface with a slick menu system and easy to use reporting features. There are a number of customisable graphs that highlight various pieces of information relevant to a SAM professional. The homepages and menu systems provide an abundance of information, without coming across as being too cluttered or busy.

A key aspect of Core Control is the fact that it has a built in definitive software library. Concorde claims Core Control contains license records from over 6163 distinct software vendors and in excess of 200,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs). The DSL is continuously being updated through software recognition and teaching. Concorde state that they own and manage the DSL, so that it is kept up-to-date with the latest product releases and vendor rights information.

Having a built in DSL is a massive positive for Core Controls end user. Being able to add software licenses via SKUs is a key feature for anyone importing license reports from vendors or LARs. We like the fact that Concorde have a number of licensing specialists that are constantly updating the DSL, to ensure that users of Core Control have the latest SKUs and a license metrics.

Core Control has a feature called scenario modelling. Scenario modelling gives users the ability to analyse the existing structure and usage across the IT Landscape, model and measure changes and also predict future compliancy or software spending. There are a number of different scenarios that the user can try so they can establish a picture of what might happen if they performed certain actions. Concorde maintains that Core Control also offers the ability to identify the recurring and significant risks of software licensing during a migration to a virtualised platform.

Scenario Modelling for Software Licensing modelling offers license optimisation options against three key categories:

  • Risk mitigation
  • Compliance improvement
  • Cost reduction

Each option can be modelled to see what impact it will have across the entire estate. Dashboards redraw to show the before and after position. We believe this feature enables enterprise managers to commit resources to only the most valuable, high-return actions.

Concorde states there are a number of benefits of the scenario modelling feature, including:

  • Transformation
  • Financial planning
  • Plan the migration to Cloud
  • Operational re-organisation
  • Infrastructure migration
  • Alert to unexpected change
  • Measure Cloud vendor performance

The ITAM Review believes this feature is one that will help SAM professionals justify the need for software asset management within their organisation. Concorde never delete old data, so the user can take a snapshot of their compliancy and cost savings, and compare them year on year. This will show senior management how important SAM is to the organisation, and what progress has been made.

Furthermore, we really liked this feature as it enables the SAM professional to predict future compliancy and cost savings, should the organisation conduct an internal review (internal audit). The SAM team can estimate how many licenses they can recoup and how much money they could save using the scenario modelling feature. It’s unique, and a brilliant addition to Core Control.

Core Control claims a powerful engine that helps combine vendor logic and Concorde’s own algorithms to ensure that the right license types and license position are displayed for vendors. Concorde claims this style of license reporting helps to ensure that license metrics are kept up to date, and that the right license types are assigned to each vendor. Concorde states Core Control has the ability to:

  • Analyse the hardware and software data
  • Understand the correct license metric
  • Applies any software downgrade/upgrade path
  • Creates software suites where applicable
  • Removes any duplicates, where allowed
  • Associates any maintenance or support agreements such as upgrades or renewals.
  • Reconciles contracts and license against physical and virtual environments

We believe that this is a unique selling point for Concorde’s Core Control. Core Control specifies exactly what license type it is for applications, highlighting more details about the license types than we’ve seen before. The automatic updates is a critical part of Core Control as it allows its users to not have to worry about using the wrong license metric for applications in the ever changing world of software licensing.

Along with license reporting, Core Control can also help users with software asset management. Concorde claims that Core Control offers users the ability to view:

  • Overall compliance
  • Software version, edition and metric level drill down
  • Compliance by Vendor
  • Software Products ranges
  • Financial exposure
  • Approved and unapproved software policy compliance
  • Spend versus budget
  • Key underperforming vendors
  • Overspend and underspend
  • Operating system analysis
  • License utilisation
  • • Hardware count and breakdown, server, cluster

All of the above information can be viewed within the Core Control ‘dashboard’ that Concorde states the solution provides relevant information summarised into graphs or data sets. Core Control provides compliancy figures for vendors; usage stats and financial information for vendors and licenses to enable the user to ensure that they are fully are of their compliancy position. Concorde maintains that the usage stats feature is comprehensive, highlighting run times, average use and overall used time for software, allowing users to have full transparency on what users are using which applications. This in turn will help ensure the users software licenses are fully optimized and that there are no installs that are not being used.

These are all common features for ITAM tools, but we feel that Core Control provides the user with enough relevant information to enable them to make quick and informative decisions about their software licenses. It also enables the user to see any financial risks they may have by being under or over compliant.

The ITAM Review believes that Core Controls software asset management features all provide the necessary tools to an end user to effectively manage their software and licensing estate.

Concorde claims Core Control provides a wide range of pre-defined SAM, finance and operational management reports, in addition to the ability to drill down into the data. Furthermore, Concorde states that within Core Control you can:

  • View and report compliance on a set frequency or by vendor
  • Create a calendar of contract renewal, ensuring that vendors are managed effectively
  • Quickly create reports and extract audit data to respond to vendor audits
  • Reporting to group, sub group, region and cost centre level
  • Alerting and reporting of policy issues Full business systems integration (e.g. ERP, Service Desk, CMDB)
  • The ITAM Review liked the ease and speed in which you could create your own custom reports. They were very detailed, and you could then manipulate the data for various other reports that you may wish to share internally. Reports are extremely useful analysing ITAM data, and showing the progress and importance of ITAM within an organisation.

Managing contracts and maintenance is another must have feature for any ITAM tool. Core Control boasts a sophisticated Contracts Management module to assist users with the management of their software and hardware contracts and agreements. Concorde maintains the contracts module is the master data repository for all contracts, agreements, licenses and entitlement, providing a centralized contract management and governance. In addition, Concorde states clients can syndicate Core Control user accounts with industry standard user management systems such as Active Directory (AD).

We were impressed with the contracts management feature within Core Control, as it enabled you to link contracts to a number of different elements within the solution, such as licenses, software, hardware and users. Whilst this is a common feature within SAM tools, Core Control goes one further by allowing user related contracts or documents to be used in conjunction with AD.

ITAM tools are only as good as the data that is fed into them. So it’s a good thing that Core Control has third party integration with a large number of different data feeds. Concorde claims that Core Control offers APIs for integration to additional data sources, including management reporting tools, procurement tools and HR systems. We believe the integration with ITSM platforms such as ServiceNow and BMC offers greater value from Core Control. Concorde states Core Control has compatibility with the following third party solutions:

  • ServiceNow – CMDB
  • Active Directory
  • ADDM
  • Altiris
  • Centennial
  • DDMI
  • MLS Summary data
  • Oracle ReviewLite Scripts
  • SCCM
  • Tivoli
  • VCentre

Along with third party integration for data, there are also three key import mechanisms:

  • On-premise connector
  • Inventory scripts
  • Manual data entry

The ITAM Review is a strong believer in accurate, reliable data being the focal point for any ITAM project. We were impressed by the amount of data sources that can be fed into Core Control, thus enabling a number of different data sets for comparison to ensure there is a complete overview of the ITAM estate through Core Control. Whilst this is impressive, it is also important to remember to check your data sources for accuracy. If the core data going into a tool is wrong, then the information displayed within the tool will also be wrong.

The ITAM Review found minimal faults with Core Control. The only issues we saw were the fact that the tool may be complicated to use for a complete SAM beginner, with a lot of ‘high level’ information and charts. We believe that if your organisation has a ‘SAM Administrator’ who exports reports or who does the data entry for your SAM tool and doesn’t necessarily have a SAM background, they could struggle to interpret the data shown.

Furthermore, when trying to create reports or change the column headings in the menu system, the ability to add additional column headings was not obvious. The function is there, and you have a number of different data sets to choose from, but the ability to customise your reports both within the tool and external reports isn’t obvious.

In our opinion Concorde is a worthy competitor for the SAM tools market. With a number of unique, helpful features, it sets itself out from the crowd by ‘thinking outside the box’. It has fantastic capabilities and third party integration and has the ‘Scenario Modelling’ feature that we believe would be extremely useful to SAM professionals. If you are looking for a SAM tool, you definitely need to consider Core Control from Concorde.

KEY CAPABILITIES

The table below highlights the key capabilities of Concorde.

General
  • Powerful ‘Rules Engine’ delivering vendor and product specific Vendor logic
  • Configurable dashboards and reporting
  • Full business systems integration (e.g. ERP, Service Desk, CMDB)
  • Contract and procurement record management
  • Reporting to group, sub group, region and cost centre level feature
Asset Management
  • Physical location or installation type
  • Mapping operational landscape of desktop, network, data centre and Cloud users
  • Detailed desktop and datacenter hardware information
Software Asset Management
  • Software Usage
  • Licence Metric data
  • Entitlement and Contract Terms management
  • Dynamic ‘Definitive Software Library’ (DSL)
  • Centralised software catalogue
  • License upgrade/ downgrade logic
  • Contract and license reconciliation against physical and virtual environments

GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

Business Partner Summary

Key Business Partners
  • ServiceNow
  • Scalable

Market Penetration

Number of customers
  • 30
Typical Customer
  • 70% UK / 20% US / 10% EU
  • Enterprise Organisations

Concorde deliver Core Control direct to clients as their SAM tool, as part of a managed SAM service and via a number of select partners.

Implementation

Typical installation

When Concorde provide clients with access to Core Control, Concorde claims that set-up takes a few hours. Core Control is an out-of-the box solution.

Once implemented, Concorde states the data import is a simple upload routine that follows a basic, comprehensive workflow. Concorde states Core Control has been designed to receive and understand what to expect from a wide range of data types, and process them accordingly. The workflow advises the user of the process of the import and what action is required to continue to reconciliation.

Concorde claims Core Control has been designed such that additional data sources can be configured and mapped in less than 3 hours (for data sources of low – medium complexity). Reports and dashboards have been designed to fulfil specific roles – finance, Vendor management or SAM manager – so each user has data and reports relevant to them.

Concorde advise that throughout the installation users are provided with advice and guidance, from initial set-up, reconciliation, even configuration of virtualised environments, contract and licence management.

Concorde claims Core Control has integration points for the following systems:

  • ServiceNow – CMDB
  • Active Directory
  • ADDM
  • Altiris
  • Centennial
  • DDMI
  • MLS Summary data
  • Oracle ReviewLite Scripts
  • SCCM
  • Tivoli
  • Vcenter
  • Core Control can also map headers against any .csv file for ‘on-the-fly’ imports

All clients have full functionality of all the features of Core Control – there are no restrictions on functionality.

Time to value

In our opinion, the shorter in the implementation time the better. This causes minimal fuss and disruption to those users who will be looking after the SAM tool. With Concorde’s straight out of the box solution only taking three hours to implement, we believe that this solution can start assisting SAM managers with their SAM data from day one.

Resources Required

Concorde state Core Control can be implemented by a client’s own SAM or ITSM management, or users have the option of using Concorde’s services to assist with implementation.

PRODUCT ROADMAP

Concorde state they are currently in a significant stage of revision, changing the way SAM utilised in enterprise organisations, increasing the opportunity to driving optimisation, delivering predictive analysis and operational business intelligence.

Concorde state that business intelligence is a key output Core Control provides to customers, so they are significantly improving the dashboards and the scenario modelling functionality. The number of data sets and charting capability to analyse the information provided to customers will be increased. The new dashboards will contain predictive and prescriptive analytics to ensure Core Control customers will be armed with necessary information when in an audit or renewal position. Scenario modelling will be built on the dashboard release and will allow the user to envisage what their environment would look like if they migrated to a SaaS platform or went to a virtual environment with a particular vendor.

Concorde believe that SaaS (software as a service) information is vital to organisations that want to implement SAM. As part of their product roadmap, Concorde are enhancing the range of analytics and SAM functionality usinginformation from SaaS products like Office 365, Salesforce and AWS.

As Core Control enables third party integration with a number of other solutions, Concorde plan to expand on this feature. BMC ADDM integration is coming soon in the next quarter, and in the 1st half of 2015 Core Control will have a public API to allow customers to integrate with their procurement systems and other financial 3rd party products. To further enhance the integration with 3rd party systems Concorde will be looking to develop workflows to allow customers and their users to follow a defined buying process to ensure correct licenses are purchased if required.

Core Control is hosted on Azure, therefore all hardware upgrades will be planned accordingly by Azure.

PRODUCT PORTFOLIO

Concorde’s only product is Core Control. They also provide support services for users of Core Control.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Company Information

Founded in 2007 Concorde has grown through reputation and recommendation from Clients and the Analyst community; is an active members of CiF (Cloud Industry Forum) and FAST (Federation against Software Theft) as well as contributing as thought leaders across the IT Industry. Their primary focus is on engagement with complex, global or multi-national enterprise organisations, as their environments tend to be disparate in nature due to a history of acquisition, disposal and growth.

With a wealth of experience supporting enterprise companies in many of the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 organizations, Concorde’s knowledge, expertise and independence has enabled many global customers to realize huge business benefits through the holistic management of their entire software estate.

Concorde delivers high-end solutions to large enterprise with extreme agility. Size enables Concorde to be flexible, proactive and work closely alongside clients without any conflicting agendas. At the heart of Concorde’s SAM solution is Core Control – a pivotal cloud based platform for capturing, collating and presenting critical business intelligence across the entire IT estate. Concorde expert Service Team support clients from the outset, instantly increasing the effectiveness of their SAM programs.

VENDOR PROFILE

In their own words:

“Concorde has supported many organisations who have access to a range of data sources or vendor SAM tools, but are unable to achieve a complete and accurate Software Position due to inconsistent or incompatible information. Core Control empowers them to better understand and make informed decisions about their software estate strategy, identify risk, reduce cost and proactively achieve optimisation.

Concorde has grown a reputation and recommendation from our Clients and the Analyst community; is an active member of CiF (Cloud Industry Forum) and FAST (Federation against Software Theft) as well as contributing as thought leaders across the IT Industry.

Our approach and innovation has been recognized by Gartner, awarding us with Cool Vendor of the year 2011, as well as being called upon for comment by other analysts and industry bodies.

Core Control was acclaimed the Most Innovative Enterprise Product of the Year 2014 at the UK Cloud Awards, which recognises the best of home grown talent and innovation within Cloud technology. Core Control was recognised by the award’s judges for delivering accurate business intelligence through an automated solution and knowledge services, which help organisations, manage their software compliance and drive business growth.

Core Control delivers extensive business intelligence, software clarity and the ability to control software assets for organisations looking to address today’s financial IT challenges and the complexity of tomorrow’s hybrid IT environments.

Core Control collates diverse but related data from across the IT infrastructure. This data – software usage, license metric, entitlement and contract terms – is reconciled using our powerful Rules Engine which applies advanced vendor logic and algorithms for calculating license positions for a wide variety of metrics, thus to producing meaningful software business intelligence.”

CONTACT DETAILS

Concorde Contact Details

Head Office
  • UK Office
Regional Offices
  • N/A
Details

SUMMARY

ITAM Review Score
Visibility (The ability to demonstrate exhaustive visibility of assets and trustworthy data. Auto-discovery, audit, inventory) [icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]
Identification (The ability to identify the configuration and product use rights of software and hardware assets. Software recognition, product use rights, management of vendor statements, integration with procurements systems) [icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]
Risk (The ability to show and prioritise risk) [icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]
Efficiency (The ability to monitor asset usage and proactively reclaim unused assets for stock. Identify redundancy and optimisation opportunities) [icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]
Agility (Integration with other solutions and environments) [icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]
CSI (The ability to show progress against the SAM plan. Performance monitoring, reporting and cost justification) [icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]

Key

[icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]

Strong

Market leader
[icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]

Good

Well executed
[icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]

OK

Adequate, meets requirements
[icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]

Weak

Non existent
[icon name=”star”]

Absent

Missing key requirements

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Disclaimer, Scope and Limitations

The information contained in this review is based on sources and information believed to be accurate as of the time it was created. Therefore, the completeness and current accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. Readers should therefore use the contents of this review as a general guideline, and not as the ultimate source of truth.

Similarly, this review is not based on rigorous and exhaustive technical study. The ITAM Review recommends that readers complete a thorough live evaluation before investing in technology.

This is a paid review, that is, the vendors included in this review paid to participate in exchange for all results and analysis being published free of charge, without registration.

For further information, please read our Disclosure page.

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About David Foxen

David Foxen is a Software Asset Management expert and enthusiast. He had a vast experience of successfully implementing SAM, SAM tools and also made huge cost savings. A member of the ISO Standards WG21, David is a massive ITAM geek, so uses any opportunity to talk about the subject to who-ever will listen. He believes that the industry needs to share its knowledge and success stories to help the SAM industry mature and become more effective. Always willing to help, his primary goal is to make a difference to organisations and the SAM industry so everyone will know how epic SAM is!

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