ITAM processes are concerned with discovering, inventorying, and managing IT assets. For large organisations these assets will number in the thousands or tens of thousands. As we move towards managing new asset types such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices and software-defined network access points this number is set for substantial further growth. The shift towards subscription and user-based licensing also has the potential to increase the number of devices an ITAM team is responsible for. For example, each employee may consume company-supplied computing services on a work laptop, a mobile phone, a tablet, and perhaps a device at home.
This trend towards a proliferation of assets requiring management increases both the need and business justification for automating processes such as:
- Software Deployment
- Software Harvesting
- Employee Moves/Adds/Deletes
- IT Service Requests
- Hardware deployment/reclaim
The following guide describes the market for ITAM Service Automation, lists a number of vendors, and provides recommendations for prospective buyers.
Market Definition & Analysis
This market is diverse and contains toolsets with overlapping functionality, often from vendors outside the core ITAM market. Tools exist to manage a variety of use cases. The scope of this guide is limited to tools primarily concerned with managing End User Computing processes, as listed above. Purposefully not included are tools designed to orchestrate and manage server deployments.
Tools in this guide have been built with different users in mind. It is only recently that pure-play ITAM tool vendors have begun to provide this functionality dedicated to ITAM professionals. Far more mature are the toolsets designed for IT Service Desk, End User Computing (EUC), and Build/Deployment teams.
When selecting an automation tool, it is vital you include your stakeholders in the process. As an ITAM Manager you will not use the tool on a day-to-day basis – your EUC Team and ServiceDesk will. As such, you are more likely to get buy-in and usage if you let them run the tool selection process. They’ll understand better than you what they need a tool to do and where the current bottlenecks are in their process.
Key capabilities of an automation tool to consider include:
- Integration with other systems
- Fine-grained permissions
- Approval workflow
- Audit trail
- Support overhead
- Availability of Managed Services
ITAM-specific capabilities include automated license availability checks, software harvesting/reclaim, and license leasing. Taken together, these capabilities leverage automation to reduce software wastage and limit inadvertent license over-deployment.
Products were included based on original research by ITAM Review Analysts. Vendors did not pay for a listing in this guide and were not contacted for comments prior to publication. The aim was to include tools suitable for a variety of use cases and company sizes. Where the tool is an add-on to an existing tool this is noted in the product listing.
This section provides an overview of the company and their solution along with key differentiators of their product. Vendors are listed in alphabetical order.
Axios Service Catalog
Axios provide a suite of integrated ITSM & IT Operational Management tools, including a highly-configurable service catalog and employee self-service portal. The ITOM tools include SAM functionality
End to end integrated toolset for managing IT, suitable for a range of deployment sizes.
Certero App Centre
Certero App Centre aims to streamline the software request process by providing employees with a self-service app store. App Centre integrates with SCCM for application delivery along with SAM tools including Certero Asset Studio.
Key Differentiator: Supports software delivery to Windows and Mac, integration with other SAM toolsets. Suited to a range of deployment sizes from SME upwards.
Cherwell Request Management
Cherwell’s Request Management module integrates with their other offerings, including IT Service Desk and IT Asset Management. The module provides employees with an App Store experience and includes configurable automated approvals and workflows.
Scale and integration with other Cherwell products. Suitable for enterprise deployments
Eracent provide a solution for automating End User requests and approvals via an Enterprise App Store. Workflows are highly-customisable and the toolset is mature, having been in the product for over 5 years.
Key Differentiator: Provides functionality to suggest lower cost/free alternatives to higher cost requests. Wide range of integrations for service delivery including Tivoli, SCCM, and Eracent’s own ITMC ITAM solution. Sold as an add-on to Eracent’s core product suite.
Flexera App Portal
Flexera App Portal provides employees with a self-service “App Store” enabling them to request and have delivered automatically the software they need to do their jobs. App Portal is integrated with Service Management tools such as ServiceNow & BMC Remedy.
Key Differentiator: Flexera App Portal offers tight integration with the rest of their software asset management portfolio. Suitable for Enterprise deployments alongside other Flexera offerings.
Ivanti’s suite of ITAM & ITSM solutions enable delivery of applications to end users and automation of the request process.
Key Differentiator: Best-suited to customers running part or all of Ivanti’s tightly-integrated IT Management suite. Suited towards Enterprise deployments.
ServiceNow for IT Asset Management
ServiceNow is focused on delivering exceptional experiences for employees, and this includes a service portal for automating the IT Request & Delivery process. Their architecture means that modules interact seamlessly without need for connectors, enabling Software Catalog requests to reference SAM data, such as license availability checks.
Scale and integration with other ServiceNow products. The ServiceNow platform is also extensible and able to work with existing toolsets. Suitable for enterprise deployments.
Snow Automation Platform
Snow Automation Platform aims to automate key Software Asset Management, Cloud and mobile processes to accelerate adoption and increase ROI. It is delivered as a paid-for add-on to Snow License Manager and integrates with systems such as SCCM and ServiceDesk applications.
Key differentiator: Integration with Snow License Manager for continuous license compliance. Suited to a range of deployment sizes from SME to Enterprise users.
This market was largely kick-started by the App Store experience employees enjoyed on their mobile devices. The business benefit comes from improving service levels for end users, primarily by automating repetitive tasks and in many cases removing IT from the loop entirely. For ITAM teams, a solution integrated with their toolsets provides, in ideal cases, automated compliance and removes the potential bottleneck of license availability checks. Such checks are important but of low value as ITAM teams move up the reporting hierarchy. For a large organisation, or one with high employee turnover, automation is a key enabler for meeting SLAs and improving the reputation of both IT in general and ITAM in particular.