Software inventory management

Your systems are a complex mixture of hardware, software, and configuration information. Maintaining up-to-date inventory data is critical to effective asset management. When managing inventory across multiple locations, identifying and tracking each inventory item becomes exponentially more complicated. A high-quality software inventory management solution scans your systems to collect relevant data for instant insights that you can use to make informed decisions.

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What is software inventory management?

Also known as software asset management (SAM), software inventory management oversees the full software lifecycle from acquisition through disposal. The end-to-end process includes procurement, deployment, utilization, updating, maintenance, and retirement of software. Depending on your organizational needs, it may also entail consolidating licenses and/or changing licensing models.

In short, software inventory management is a critical strategy to help businesses align their goals with their IT infrastructures, software, and other resources.

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Must-have software inventory management features

Each feature of a software inventory tool provides value to certain customers. Choosing the best tool for your business requires assessing the features that are most important to your SAM strategy.

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Scan computers

Perform asset discovery to gather configuration data from 50 or 5,000 machines.

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Remove software

Remove any unused software product from machines quickly and easily.

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Use prebuilt tools to perform reboots, Wake-on-Lan, and other common tasks with just a few clicks.

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See how many computers have a certain software application installed, which version of an app is on a machine, and more.

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Collect the information you need without running a time-consuming full scan.

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Set-it-and-forget-it deployments let you schedule routine updates without coming into the office during off-hours. 

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Initiate scans or deployments when an offline machine comes back online.

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Sync with Active Directory

Automatically update your inventory by adding or deleting computers based on Active Directory. 

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Maintain up-to-date records

Maintain an accurate and current database of your software and hardware assets.

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Access support

Expert assistance can help guide you through any hiccups you encounter while using your software asset management solution. 

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Build collections

Collections organize machines based on filter criteria. Prebuilt packages are convenient, while custom collections give you more control. 

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Develop the right tools for the job so that you’re only limited by your imagination, ambition, and current blood caffeine concentration. 

What are the benefits of software inventory management?

Effective software inventory management offers a host of potential advantages, including financial, legal, and security benefits.

Good license management supports license optimization, which can reap major benefits for your bottom line. The right SAM tool can also make license compliance that much easier, reducing the risk of purchasing too few licenses and incurring hefty penalties. Finally, monitoring your software gives you an opportunity to delete solutions that are no longer in use. Not only can this enhance computer performance, but it can also reduce security risks associated with unused apps.

  • Make informed decisions

  • Cut costs by reducing excess inventory

  • Improve ROI

  • Simplify budgeting

  • Lessen your IT team’s workload

  • Support digital transformation and business growth

  • Reduce legal risks

  • Enhance your cybersecurity posture

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PDQ vs. leading competitors

PDQ’s software inventory management solution

Leading competitors

Scalable per-admin pricing

yes

no

High degree of customization

yes

no

Patch management integration

yes

no

250 ready-to-deploy packages

yes

no

Easy to use

yes

no

Extensive knowledge base

yes

no

Includes expert support from former sysadmins

yes

no

How do you incorporate software inventory management?

Rolling out a software inventory management program may take a little time and effort upfront, but it should ultimately reduce your workload and simplify the management of your IT resources. To incorporate a software inventory management system, follow these steps:

  • Functionality

  • Affordability

  • Ease of use

  • Compatible devices

  • Available support

  • Implement software asset tracking procedures to monitor the inventory

  • Analyze the usage of your existing software

  • Establish software procurement, purchase order, and work order guidelines

A comprehensive software asset management system makes it easy to deploy the right patches to the right machines, which is one of the cornerstones of maintaining a strong security posture. Microsoft Windows releases updates on the second Tuesday of the month (“Patch Tuesday”), so you can act quickly if you know what software is already on your computers.

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What are software inventory management best practices?

Following software inventory best practices can help you get the most out of your software inventory management program. Consider incorporating these 10 practices:

  • Put a team or individual in charge of software asset management

  • Establish workflows

  • Discuss the budget

  • Get C-suite buy-in

  • Conduct audits

  • Choose the right software inventory management tool or inventory control software

  • Categorize assets

  • Recycle licenses as needed

  • Select KPIs to measure success

  • Forge strong relationships with software vendors

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How do you choose the right software inventory management tool?

Rolling out a software inventory tool may take a little time and effort upfront, but it should ultimately reduce your workload and simplify the management of your IT resources. To incorporate a software inventory management system, follow these steps:

  • Functionality

  • Affordability

  • Ease of use

  • Compatible devices

  • Available support

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few top contenders, read reviews to get an idea of their potential pros and cons. Always schedule a demo to see the inventory software for yourself before deciding. Select the best option for your business to help you manage inventory with ease.

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