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Introduction to Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager

Updated: November 1, 2012

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Asset Intelligence in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager lets you inventory and manage software license usage throughout your enterprise by using the Asset Intelligence catalog. Many hardware inventory Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes improve the breadth of information that is collected about hardware and software titles that are being used. Over 60 reports present this information in easy-to-use format. Many of these reports link to more specific reports, where you can query for general information and drill down to more detailed information. You can add custom information to the Asset Intelligence catalog, such as custom software categories, software families, software labels, and hardware requirements. You can also connect to System Center Online to dynamically update the Asset Intelligence catalog with the most current information available. Microsoft customers can reconcile enterprise software license usage with purchased software licenses that are being used by importing software license information into the Configuration Manager site database.

The following sections in this topic help you use Asset Intelligence:

The Configuration Manager Asset Intelligence catalog is a set of database tables stored in the site database that contain categorization and identification information for over 300,000 software titles and versions. These database tables are also used to manage hardware requirements for specific software titles.

The Asset Intelligence catalog provides software license information for software titles that are being used, both of Microsoft and of non-Microsoft software. A predefined set of hardware requirements for software titles is available in the Asset Intelligence catalog, and you can create new user-defined hardware requirement information to meet custom requirements. In addition, you can customize information in the Asset Intelligence catalog, and you can upload software title information to System Center Online for categorization.

Asset Intelligence catalog updates that contain newly released software are available for download periodically to perform bulk catalog updates. Or, the catalog can be dynamically updated by using the Asset Intelligence synchronization point site system role.

Asset Intelligence software categories are used to widely categorize inventoried software titles and are also used as high-level groupings of more specific software families. For example, a software category could be energy companies, and a software family within that software category could be oil and gas or hydroelectric. Many software categories are predefined in the Asset Intelligence catalog, and you can create user-defined categories to additionally define inventoried software. The validation state for all predefined software categories is always Validated, whereas custom software category information added to the Asset Intelligence catalog is User Defined. For more information about how to manage software categories, see the Software Categories section in Configuring Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager.

noteNote
Predefined software category information that is stored in the Asset Intelligence catalog is read-only and cannot be changed or deleted. Administrative users can add, modify, or delete user-defined software categories.

Asset Intelligence software families are used to define inventoried software titles within software categories. Many software families are predefined in the Asset Intelligence catalog, and you can create user-defined categories to additionally define inventoried software. The validation state for all predefined software families is always Validated, whereas custom software family information added to the Asset Intelligence catalog is User-Defined. For more information about how to manage software families, see the Software Families section in Configuring Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager.

noteNote
Predefined software family information is read-only and cannot be changed. Administrative users can add, modify, or delete user-defined software families.

Asset Intelligence custom software labels let you create filters that you can use to group software titles and to view them by using Asset Intelligence reports. You can use software labels to create user-defined groups of software titles that share a common attribute. For example, you could create a software label called Shareware, associate that software label with inventoried shareware titles, and run a report to display all software titles with the associated Shareware software label. Software labels are not predefined. The validation state for software labels is always User Defined. For more information about how to manage software labels, see the Software Labels section in Configuring Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager.

You can use the hardware requirements information to verify that computers meet the hardware requirements for software titles before they are targeted for software deployments. You can manage hardware requirements for software titles in the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Hardware Requirements node under the Asset Intelligence node. Many hardware requirements are predefined in the Asset Intelligence catalog, and you can create new user-defined hardware requirement information to meet custom requirements. The validation state for all predefined hardware requirements is always Validated, whereas user-defined hardware requirements information added to the Asset Intelligence catalog is User Defined. For more information about how to manage hardware requirements, see the Hardware Requirements section in Configuring Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager.

noteNote
The hardware requirements displayed in the Configuration Manager console are retrieved from the Asset Intelligence catalog and are not based on inventoried software title information from System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients. Hardware requirements information is not updated as part of the synchronization process with System Center Online. You can create user-defined hardware requirements for inventoried software that does not have associated hardware requirements.

By default, the following information is displayed for each listed hardware requirement:

  • Software Title: Specifies the software title associated with the hardware requirement.

  • Minimum CPU (MHz): Specifies the minimum processor speed, in megahertz (MHz), required by the software title.

  • Minimum RAM (KB): Specifies the minimum RAM, in kilobytes (KB), required by the software title.

  • Minimum Disk Space (KB): Specifies the minimum free hard disk space, in KB, required by the software title.

  • Minimum Disk Size (KB): Specifies the minimum hard disk size, in KB, required by the software title.

  • Validation State: Specifies the validation state for the hardware requirement.

Predefined hardware requirements stored in the Asset Intelligence catalog are read-only and cannot be deleted. Administrative users can add, modify, or delete user-defined hardware requirements for software titles that are not stored in the Asset Intelligence catalog.

You can view inventoried software title information in the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Inventoried Software node under the Asset Intelligence node. The Hardware Inventory Client Agent collects the inventoried software information from Configuration Manager clients based on the software titles that are stored in the Asset Intelligence catalog.

WarningWarning
The Hardware Inventory Client Agent collects inventory based on the Asset Intelligence hardware inventory reporting classes that you enable. For more information about how to enable the reporting classes, see Enable Asset Intelligence Hardware Inventory Reporting Classes.

By default, the following information is displayed for each inventoried software title:

  • Name: Specifies the name of the inventoried software title.

  • Vendor: Specifies the name of the vendor that developed the inventoried software title.

  • Version: Specifies the product version of the inventoried software title.

  • Category: Specifies the software category that is currently assigned to the inventoried software title.

  • Family: Specifies the software family that is currently assigned to the inventoried software title.

  • Label [1, 2, and 3]: Specifies the custom labels that are associated with the software title. Inventoried software titles can have up to three custom labels associated with them.

  • Count: Specifies the number of Configuration Manager clients that have inventoried the software title.

  • State: Specifies the validation state for the inventoried software title.

noteNote
You can change the categorization information (product name, vendor, software category, and software family) for inventoried software only at the top-level site in your hierarchy. After you modify the categorization information for predefined software, the validation state for the software changes from Validated to User Defined.

The Asset Intelligence synchronization point is a Configuration Manager site system role used to connect to System Center Online (by using TCP port 443) to manage dynamic Asset Intelligence catalog information updates. This site role can be installed only on top-level site of the hierarchy. You must configure all Asset Intelligence catalog customization by using a Configuration Manager console connected to the top-level site. Although all updates must be configured at the top-level site, Asset Intelligence catalog information is replicated to other sites in the hierarchy. The Asset Intelligence synchronization point site role lets you request on-demand catalog synchronization with System Center Online or schedule automatic catalog synchronization. In addition to downloading new Asset Intelligence catalog information, the Asset Intelligence synchronization point can upload custom software title information to System Center Online for categorization. Microsoft treats all software titles uploaded to System Center Online for categorization as public information. Therefore, you should make sure that your custom software titles do not contain confidential or proprietary information.

noteNote
After an uncategorized software title is submitted, and there are at least 4 categorization requests from customers for the same software title, System Center Online researchers identify, categorize, and then make the software title categorization information available to all customers who are using the online service. Software titles that represent the most requests for categorization receive the highest priority to categorize. Custom software and line-of-business applications are unlikely to receive a category, and as a best practice, you should not send these software titles to Microsoft for categorization.

noteNote
An Asset Intelligence synchronization point site system role is required to connect to System Center Online. For information about how to install an Asset Intelligence synchronization point, see the Install an Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point section in Configuring Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager.

The Asset Intelligence node in the Asset and Compliance workspace is the home page for Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager. The Asset Intelligence home page displays a summary dashboard view for Asset Intelligence catalog information.

noteNote
The Asset Intelligence home page does not automatically update while it is being viewed.

The Asset Intelligence home page contains the following sections:

  • Catalog Synchronization: Provides information about whether Asset Intelligence is enabled and the current status of the Asset Intelligence synchronization point. The section also provides the synchronization schedule, whether the customer license statement is imported, when status was last updated and the time for the next scheduled update, and number of changes that occurred after the Asset Intelligence synchronization point site system was installed.

    noteNote
    The Asset Intelligence catalog synchronization section of the Asset Intelligence home page is only displayed if an Asset Intelligence synchronization point site system role was installed.

  • Inventoried Software Status: Provides the count and percentage of inventoried software, software categories, and software families that are identified by Microsoft, identified by an administrator, pending online identification, or unidentified and not pending. The information displayed in table format shows the count for each, and the information displayed in the chart shows the percentage for each.

The Asset Intelligence reports are located in the Configuration Manager console, in the Monitoring workspace, in the Asset Intelligence folder under the Reporting node. The reports provide information about hardware, license management, and software. For more information about reports in Configuration Manager, see Reporting in Configuration Manager.

noteNote
The accuracy of the quantity of installed software titles and license information displayed in Asset Intelligence reports might vary from the actual number of software titles installed or licenses that are used in the environment. This variation is because of the complex dependencies and limitations involved in inventorying software license information for software titles that are installed in enterprise environments. Do not use Asset Intelligence reports as the sole source for determining purchased software license compliance.

Asset Intelligence hardware reports provide information about hardware assets in the organization. By using hardware inventory information, such as speed, memory, peripheral devices, and more, Asset Intelligence hardware reports can present information about USB devices, about hardware that must be upgraded, and even about computers that are not ready for a specific software upgrade.

noteNote
Some user data in Asset Intelligence hardware reports is collected from the System Security Event Log. For better report accuracy, we recommend that you clear this log when you reassign a computer to a new user.

Asset Intelligence license management reports provide data about licenses that are being used. The License Ledger report lists installed Microsoft applications in a format congruent with a Microsoft License Statement (MLS). This provides a convenient method of matching purchased licenses with used licenses. Other License Management reports provide information about computers acting as servers that run the Key Management Service (KMS) for operating system activation statistics.

ImportantImportant
Several of the Asset Intelligence License Management reports present information about the function of KMS, a method of administering volume licensing. If a KMS server has not been implemented, some reports might not return any data. For more information about KMS, search for KMS on Microsoft TechNet.

Asset Intelligence software reports provide information about software families, categories, and specific software titles that are installed on computers in the organization. The software reports present information about browser helper objects, software that starts automatically, and more. These reports can be used to identify adware, spyware, and other malware, and identify software redundancy to help streamline software purchasing and support.

For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

Asset Intelligence software identification tag reports provide information about software that contains a software identification tag that is compliant with ISO/IEC 19770-2. The software identification tags provide authoritative information that is used to identify installed software. When you enable the SMS_SoftwareTag hardware inventory reporting class, Configuration Manager collects information about the software with software identification tags. The following reports provide information about the software:

  • Software 14A – Search for software identification tag enabled software: This report provides the count of installed software with a software identification tag enabled.

  • Software 14B – Computers with specific software identification tag enabled software installed: This report lists all computers that have installed software with a specific software identification tag enabled.

  • Software 14C – Installed software identification tag enabled software on a specific computer: This report lists all installed software with a specific software identification tag enabled on a specific computer.

Asset Intelligence reports can provide large amounts of information about installed software titles and purchased software licenses that are being used. However, you should not use this information as the only source for determining purchased software license compliance.

The accuracy of the quantity displayed in the Asset Intelligence reports for installed software titles and license information can vary from the actual amounts currently used. This variation is caused by the complex dependencies involved in inventorying software license information for software titles in use in enterprise environments. The following examples show the dependencies involved in inventorying installed software in the enterprise by using Asset Intelligence that might affect the accuracy of Asset Intelligence reports:

Client hardware inventory dependencies
Asset Intelligence installed software reports are based on data that is collected from Configuration Manager clients by extending hardware inventory to enable Asset Intelligence reporting. Because of this dependency on hardware inventory reporting, Asset Intelligence reports reflect data only from Configuration Manager clients that successfully complete hardware inventory processes with the required Asset Intelligence WMI reporting classes enabled. In addition, because Configuration Manager clients perform hardware inventory processes on a schedule defined by the administrative user, a delay might occur in data reporting that affects the accuracy of Asset Intelligence reports. For example, an inventoried licensed software title might be uninstalled after the client finishes a successful hardware inventory cycle. However, the software title is displayed as installed in Asset Intelligence reports until the client’s next scheduled hardware inventory reporting cycle.

Software packaging dependencies
Because Asset Intelligence reports are based on installed software title data that is collected by using standard Configuration Manager client hardware inventory processes, some software title data might not be collected correctly. For example, software installations that do not comply with standard installation processes or software installations that were changed before installation could cause inaccurate Asset Intelligence reporting.

The information displayed in Asset Intelligence reports are subject to many limitations and the information displayed in them does not represent legal, accounting, or other professional advice. The information that is provided by Asset Intelligence reports is for information only and should not be used as the only source of information for determining software license usage compliance.

The following are example limitations involved in inventorying installed software and license usage in the enterprise by using Asset Intelligence that might affect the accuracy of Asset Intelligence reports:

Microsoft license usage quantity limitations
  • The quantity of purchased Microsoft software licenses is based on information that administrators supply and should be closely reviewed to ensure that the correct number of software licenses is provided.

  • The reported quantity of Microsoft software licenses contains information only about Microsoft software licenses acquired through volume licensing programs and does not reflect information for software licenses acquired through retail, OEM, or other software license sales channels.

  • Software licenses acquired in the last 45 days might not be included in the quantity of Microsoft software licenses reported because of software reseller reporting requirements and schedules.

  • Software license transfers from company mergers or acquisitions might not be reflected in Microsoft software license quantities.

  • Nonstandard terms and conditions in a Microsoft Volume Licensing (MVLS) agreement might affect the number of software licenses reported and, therefore, might require additional review by a Microsoft representative.

Installed software title quantity limitations
Configuration Manager Clients must successfully complete hardware inventory reporting cycles for the Asset Intelligence reports to accurately report the quantity of installed software titles. Additionally, there might be a delay between the installation or uninstallation of a licensed software title after a successful hardware inventory reporting cycle that is not reflected in Asset Intelligence reports run before the client reports its next scheduled hardware inventory.

License reconciliation limitations
The reconciliation of the quantity of installed software titles to the quantity of purchased software licenses is calculated by using a comparison of the license quantity specified by the administrator and the quantity of installed software titles collected from Configuration Manager client hardware inventories based on the schedule set by the administrator. This comparison does not represent a final Microsoft conclusion of the license positions. The actual license position depends on the specific software title license and usage rights granted by the license terms.

Asset Intelligence validation states represent the source and current validation status of Asset Intelligence catalog information. The following table shows possible Asset Intelligence validation states and administrator actions that can cause them.

 

State Definition Administrator action Comment

Validated

Catalog item was defined by System Center Online researchers.

None.

Best state.

User Defined

Catalog item has not been defined by System Center Online researchers.

Customized the local catalog information.

This state is displayed in Asset Intelligence reports.

Pending

Catalog item was not defined by System Center Online researchers, but the item was submitted to System Center Online for categorization.

Requested categorization from System Center Online.

Catalog item remains in this state until System Center Online researchers categorize the item, and the Asset Intelligence catalog is synchronized.

noteNote
Catalog items submitted to System Center Online for categorization have a validation state of Pending on a central administration site, but continue to be displayed with a validation state of Uncategorized on child primary sites.

Updateable

A user-defined catalog item has been categorized differently by System Center Online during subsequent catalog synchronization.

Customized the local Asset Intelligence catalog to categorize an item as user-defined.

You can use the Resolve Conflict action to decide whether to use the new categorization information or the previous user-defined value. For more information about how to resolve conflicts, see Resolve Software Details Conflicts.

noteNote
After a categorization conflict is resolved, the item is not validated as conflicting again unless later categorization updates introduce new information about the item.

Uncategorized

Catalog item has not been defined by System Center Online researchers, the item has not been submitted to System Center Online for categorization, and the administrator has not assigned a user-defined categorization value.

None.

Request categorization or customize local catalog information.

For more information about requesting categorization, see Request a Catalog Update for Uncategorized Software Titles.

For more information about how to change the category for the software title, see Modify Categorization Information for Inventoried Software.

For examples of when a validation state might transition from one state to another, see Example Validation State Transitions for Asset Intelligence.

noteNote
The information in this section also appears in the Getting Started with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for Asset Intelligence since Configuration Manager 2007:

  • In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, you can enable Asset Intelligence hardware inventory classes without editing the sms_def.mof file.

  • You can now download the MVLS license statement from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center and import the license statement from the Configuration Manager console.

  • There is a new maintenance task (Check Application Title with Inventory Information) that checks that the software title reported in software inventory is reconciled with the software title in the Asset Intelligence catalog.

  • There is a new maintenance task (Summarize Installed Software Data) that provides the information displayed in the Inventoried Software node under the Asset Intelligence node in the Assets and Compliance workspace.

  • The Client Access License reports have been deprecated.

The following items are new for Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager SP1:

  • Asset Intelligence supports the 7 mandatory software identification tags that are defined in ISO/IEC 19770-2. The ISO/IEC 19770-2 standard specifies the structure and basic usage of software identification. Software identification tags provide authoritative information used to identify installed software. If software contains software identification tag information that is compliant with ISO/IEC 19770-2, then Asset Intelligence collects the software identification tags from the software.

    noteNote
    You must enable the SMS_SoftwareTag Asset Intelligence hardware inventory reporting class before Configuration Manager will collect the software identification tags.

  • Asset Intelligence provides the three new reports that provide information about software with the software identification tags. The report titles start with Software 14A, Software 14B, and Software 14C.

  • Asset Intelligence collects information about Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5 applications and continues to collect information about App-V 4.

See Also

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for Configuration Manager.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For instructions and examples, see Search the Configuration Manager Documentation Library.
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