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USU Software Asset Management Certification – Enterprise SAM

Executive Summary

The ITAM Review is pleased to announce that USU Software Asset Management is certified for Enterprise SAM. ITAM Industry Analyst AJ Witt said:

USU Software Asset Management is a mature product which met our detailed criteria for SAM tooling at enterprise scale. USU’s SAM solutions enable enterprise customers to manage the entire software licensing lifecycle across today’s highly dynamic hybrid IT environments

Customers praised its return on investment, flexibility, powerful features, and USU’s partnership approach to delivering customer success.

Product Assessment Summary

Pros:

  • Mature product from a SAM veteran
  • Flexible Deployment
  • Highly Configurable
  • Flexible Discovery & Inventory options
  • Strong Managed Services
  • References report solution was good value compared to competitors
  • Easily scales to enterprise level

Cons:

  • Deployment & Implementation may require USU/partner support
  • Needs skilled ITAM staff to extract full value
  • Concerns around response times for technical issues/requests

USU Software Asset Management was assessed against The ITAM Review’s Enterprise SAM Tools certification in Q4 2020. Two customer reference calls were completed, along with a questionnaire and product demo. The certification standard assesses capabilities across the following 7 areas:

Enterprise SAM Standard

Figure 1: Enterprise SAM Certification

Visibility & Identification

USU Software Asset Management (formerly SmartTrack) is USU’s flagship platform for Software Asset Management, designed for large enterprises. Key to meeting demands of such organisations is flexibility and interoperability, and this starts with the approach to Discovery and Inventory. This is completely flexible, with the ability to ingest data from almost any data source, in addition to their own USU Discovery solution. In this way customers can inventory and discover their entire estate with minimal disruption or additional configuration. Inventory and Discovery uses flexible modern methods – agent-based, agentless, direct connection, and API. By doing so, USU Software Asset Management can track software deployments on premises, on mobile devices, and in the public and hybrid cloud – both IaaS & SaaS. Gathered data is de-duplicated, normalised, and matched against USU’s proprietary software catalogue CatalogPlus. The normalisation process is configurable by the end user.

Cost Management

USU places Cost Management at the centre of their value proposition for USU Software Asset Management. Enterprise-readiness is reflected in USU Software Asset Management’s ability to store geographical, organisational, and cost centre hierarchies. This enables accurate cost allocations to be made, in addition to accurately handling the local license purchasing common in global organisations. This is particularly important given that many publishers have geographical restrictions around license use and re-use. Likewise, it is important for global organisations to be able to manage complex affiliate structures, which also need to be considered when calculating license compliance positions.

Figure 2: Cloud Cost Management

Risk Management

Traditionally, risk management from the perspective of Software Asset Management was primarily concerned with managing under/over-licensing. USU Software Asset Management builds on this by also providing risk management data such as end-of-life & end-of-support dates in CatalogPlus. Vulnerability reports may also be generated from the USU Discovery inventory solution.

Figure 3: Per-application Compliance Position

Stakeholder Reporting

Modern Enterprise SAM tools need to provide insight and vital data to stakeholders across an organisation. USU Software Asset Management enables this by providing fine-grained permission profiles, making it possible to provide users with access to only the data they need. This applies throughout USU Software Asset Management – from specific data about users, installations, or devices – to dashboards and reports. A reporting API is provided which enables USU Software Asset Management data to be incorporated into any external BI/Reporting tool that can be configured to leverage a REST API.

Figure 4: Dashboard example

Further Reading

For further details on how USU Software Asset Management meets the Enterprise SAM standard please see the linked survey response document.

Customer References

Customer references were sourced in consultation with USU. Both references are organizations with considerable global deployments and thus match the definition of an Enterprise SAM user. If you are a USU customer, we would welcome your review of USU Software Asset Management– you can provide this via our Marketplace.

Customer Reference 1 – Global Retailer

This reference customer has been a USU customer since 2017. USU Software Asset Management (formerly SmartTrack) was selected in a competitive RFI against three other tools. The purpose of the RFI was to select a replacement for another SAM tool which had failed to scale to meet their needs. USU (formerly Aspera) was selected for quality of service, overall package, and value. USU Software Asset Management is deployed to manage over 50,000 devices across 10+ worldwide locations. USU provided deployment & implementation services and the implementation took around 6 months to reach full-service deployment.

The primary use of this tool is track compliance of key vendors, based on business requirements and a scoping process. USU Software Asset Management’s ROI for the reference is primarily measured in terms of greatly reduced software compliance risk across their large estate.

USU Software Asset Management provides services to stakeholders including:

  • Forward planning in response to change requests
  • USU Software Asset Management data is used extensively in contract negotiations. The customer sees negotiations as a “game of data” and USU Software Asset Management gives them the rich data they need to optimise procurement pricing and leverage their scale.
  • In future they expect to leverage USU Software Asset Management’s flexibility to build its functionality into an end-to-end supply chain solution

The reference has some concerns over response times to technical support requests. They find that the support is of high quality but that it can take a long time to get a resolution. Despite this, they are happy with USU’s response to feature requests and flexibility in configuring USU Software Asset Management to meet their needs.

Customer Reference 2

This customer reference is a global Life Sciences company who has been a USU customer since 2014. They have over 100,000 employees worldwide. USU Software Asset Management (formerly SmartTrack) was selected in a vigorous data-driven RFP process based on ability scale, value, and customer support.

The reference uses USU Software Asset Management to manage over $300m of annual software spend across a very wide scope. USU Software Asset Management is used daily by stakeholders including both internal SAM resources and an external SAM Managed Service. The primary driver of activity is managing the cost of license and maintenance renewals. USU Software Asset Management is the backbone of their SAM service and has saved tens of millions of dollars since implementation.

The reference notes the the product has strengths and weaknesses as follows:

Strengths:

  • Mature solution that scales to enterprise needs
  • Capable of managing all aspects of SAM including On Premises, Cloud, and Mobile
  • Product team partners with customers to develop new solutions & enhancements jointly in an engineering-led approach.
  • Outstanding support
  • Open interface and data model enables wide-ranging integration with other toolsets

Improvements:

  • Better usability for infrequent or non-expert users
  • A more visual approach to reporting and dashboarding
  • Ability to track software without conventional metrics – for example, mail usage
  • High flexibility of solution requires expert knowledge to set up or modify
  • Software catalog should be enhanced to enable lifecycle management and FOSS

Certification Process

The ITAM Review certifies tools and services against community-sourced and maintained certification standards. These comprehensive standards seek to measure real-world product capabilities by testing them against common use cases and scenarios. The certification process includes two customer reference calls, a detailed survey, and a vendor-provided analyst demo. In order to ensure certifications continue to meet current and emerging needs products and certification standards are re-assessed every two years.

The certification standard for Enterprise SAM Tools is available here

Scope & 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 exhaustive technical study. The ITAM Review recommends that readers complete a thorough live evaluation before investing in technology.

Independence

The ITAM Review is 100% privately owned, vendor and service provider independent, and impartial. The ITAM Review does not supply or sell Enterprise SAM tools or services.

Copyright

You must not publish, sell, distribute or reproduce this report or any part of this report without the permission of the author.

Throughout this report, the author refers to brands, products and trademark names. Rather than place a trademark symbol at every occurrence, we hereby state that we are using the names only in an editorial fashion with no intention of infringement of the trademark.

This publication is Copyright © 2021 The ITAM Review / AJ Witt / Enterprise Opinions Limited, all right reserved worldwide.

 

About AJ Witt

A former IT Asset Manager, AJ is Industry Analyst for The ITAM Review. He's interested in hearing from end users of ITAM tools and also vendors. He enjoys writing about the SaaS Management market, practical aspects of ITAM operations, and the strategy of major software publishers. You can connect via email (aj.witt@itassetmanagement.net) or LinkedIn. AJ is based in the New Forest where he enjoys cycling, walking, spending time with his family, and keeping chickens

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