So I've got a ConfigMgr instance running and have done for the last year or so now. I've been writing some documentation about the application lifecycle and part of this documentation covers tracking license usage.
Since the Asset Intelligence feature of ConfigMgr does this, I figured that I may as well enable it, create a CSV with details of our licensing and import it into there. After spending a couple of hours wrestling with it (Mainly because it killed the management point for some reason! I don't know if adding the role or installing this hotfix did it but whatever, I ended up having to remove and re-enable BITS on the server), I've got the feature working and it's starting the long process of gathering inventory.
My question has to do with the CSV file for third party products itself. I've followed the guide here and have successfully created and imported a file. It's tracking the usage of third party products quite nicely but I have noticed a bit of a flaw. Version number is a compulsory field which is all very well and good for major product revisions. However, with programs like Acrobat Pro which is updated every 14 and half seconds it's a bit of a bugger.
In my inventoried software titles, for Acrobat Pro alone I have 9.0.0, 9.4.1, 9.4.4, 9.4.7 and 9.5.0 which obviously means that Acrobat is updating itself on some machines but not others. Unless I create a separate entry for each version of Acrobat, it's going to be pretty much impossible to track this thing! Even if I do that, it'll end looking that I have 6250 licenses for it rather than the 1250 I actually have. Can I use a wildcard for the version number instead? Either * or 9.* or 9.*.*?
SCCM is a great Discovery tool, i.e., it inventories and captures everything. However, it's not great at Normalizing data and really takes some effort if you want to use it as an Asset Management tool. You see those additional versions of Adobe for a couple reasons.
1. Adobe leaves remnants of versions every time it installs a new version. So, it actually could appear that you have multiple versions of Adobe on a single PC. Adobe is not the only vendor that does, but definitely one of the worst.
2. The data has not been Normalized and SCCM cannot accurately tell you which is the most current version on a PC, or which one is actually being used.
To Normalize the data and have SCCM automatically report accurate data you need a 3rd party app. Check out Normalize for CM from BDNA, when you get a chance. It does all the work for and actually turns SCCM into a real Asset Intelligence platform.