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Software Discovery, Software Normalization & Software Reconciliation Examples

Let’s break down each concept of software discovery, software normalization, and software reconciliation in the context of ServiceNow Asset Management with simple examples to help others understand them better.

Software Discovery

Software discovery is the process of identifying and cataloging all the software applications and licenses present in an organization’s IT environment. It helps in gaining visibility into what software is being used and where it is installed.

Example: Imagine a company with 100 employees. Some employees might have Microsoft Office 365, some might have Adobe Creative Suite, and others might have different software applications installed on their computers. Software discovery tools, like those in ServiceNow Asset Management, scan all the computers in the company to create a list of software applications and their versions. This list is then stored in a central database.

Software Normalization

Software normalization involves standardizing the way software titles and versions are represented in the software inventory. It helps simplify and organize the data so that it’s easier to manage and report on.

Example: In the software discovery process, you might find different variations of the same software title, like “Microsoft Office 365” and “Office 365 ProPlus.” Software normalization in ServiceNow Asset Management would ensure that these variations are consolidated into a single, standardized entry, such as “Microsoft Office 365.” This makes it easier to track licenses and usage consistently.

                            +------------------------------------+
                            |             Software               |
                            +------------------------------------+
                            |                                    |
                            |   +----------------------------+   |
                            |   |     Software Variations    |   |
                            |   +----------------------------+   |
                            |   |                            |   |
                            |   |  Microsoft Office 365      |   |
                            |   |  Office 365 ProPlus        |   |
                            |   |  Microsoft 365 Apps        |   |
                            |   |  ...                       |   |
                            |   +----------------------------+   |
                            |                                    |
                            +------------------------------------+
                            |                                    |
                            |   +----------------------------+   |
                            |   |     Normalized Software    |   |
                            |   +----------------------------+   |
                            |   |                            |   |
                            |   |  Microsoft Office 365      |   |
                            |   |                            |   |
                            |   +----------------------------+   |
                            +------------------------------------+

In this diagram:

  • The top box represents the overall software catalog in ServiceNow Asset Management.
  • The first section titled “Software Variations” lists different variations of the same software title, such as “Microsoft Office 365,” “Office 365 ProPlus,” “Microsoft 365 Apps,” and others.
  • The second section titled “Normalized Software” shows the result of the normalization process, where variations of the same software title are consolidated into a single, standardized entry, such as “Microsoft Office 365.”
  • Software normalization ensures that variations of the same software are grouped together, making it easier to track licenses and usage consistently across the organization.

Software Reconciliation

Software reconciliation is the process of matching the software licenses an organization owns with the software that is actually in use. It helps in ensuring compliance with software licensing agreements and optimizing software costs.

Example: Let’s say the company has purchased 50 licenses for Microsoft Office 365, but the software discovery shows that 60 employees have it installed. In this case, software reconciliation in ServiceNow Asset Management would identify the license shortfall and alert the IT team. They can then either purchase additional licenses to be in compliance or uninstall the excess software to stay within the licensed limit.

Comparison of software discovery, software normalization, and software reconciliation

AspectSoftware DiscoverySoftware NormalizationSoftware Reconciliation
PurposeIdentify and catalog software applications and licenses in the IT environment.Standardize the representation of software titles and versions for consistency.Match owned software licenses with installed software to ensure compliance and cost optimization.
Main ActivitiesScanning IT assets, collecting data on software installations, and creating an inventory.Standardizing software titles, versions, and other attributes.Comparing owned licenses with installed software, identifying discrepancies.
Data OutputList of discovered software applications, versions, and their locations.Standardized and organized software inventory with consistent naming conventions.Report showing compliance status, license shortfalls or excesses, and potential cost savings.
BenefitsProvides visibility into software usage, aiding in asset management and license optimization.Simplifies software data management, making it easier to track and report on software assets.Ensures compliance with licensing agreements, avoids legal issues, and optimizes software costs.
Tools in ServiceNowSoftware Asset Management (SAM) Discovery tool.Software Asset Management (SAM) Normalization tool.Software Asset Management (SAM) Reconciliation tool.
ExampleScanning all computers to identify installed software titles and versions.Consolidating different variations of a software title into a single, standardized entry.Identifying that the organization has 50 licenses for a software, but 60 instances are installed.

This table summarizes the key aspects and differences between software discovery, software normalization, and software reconciliation in the context of ServiceNow Asset Management.

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