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We can all recognize that Microsoft licensing is not only complex, but can change at any given moment across hundreds of different products. Implementing an effective software management program is important to keep on top of these changes, avoid audits, and help save your organization tens of thousands of dollars annually by providing clear data visibility to reclaim under-utilized software licenses. Many organizations rely on manual processes and programs like Excel to track software assets with limited visibility to software usage – a time consuming and error-prone process that produces inaccurate and incomplete data. Others try to leverage Software Metering and Inventory Data within Microsoft Configuration Manager to gain insight into their assets. While a step in the right direction, this also does not provide a complete or accurate picture to optimize spend and reduce risks. Attempting to cleanse and manually normalize the raw inventory data from Configuration Manager while trying to keep up with the Microsoft Licensing rules for each product that could change at any given moment can be extremely time consuming. So how do you gain control of your Microsoft licensing? Cireson believes managing Microsoft software licensing doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. This is why they recently released True Software Asset Management for Microsoft Licensing, a beautiful and simple solution that natively integrates with Microsoft Configuration Manager to leverage your existing investment. True Software Asset Management helps with every stage of the SAM journey, from importing and managing your asset data, to data normalization with the Global Content Library, and finally providing the ability to truly manage compliance and optimize spend with visibility to your calculated license position leveraging the License Calculation Engine. With the data you need at your fingertips, everyone in the organization can make informed decisions for Enterprise Agreement renewals, contract negotiations, as well as license reclamation and redistribution as needed. Benefits include: Automatically calculate your Microsoft license position Ensure compliance Optimize spend Normalize software data with the powerful Global Content Library Identify opportunities to reclaim under-utilized licenses Provide visibility to excess licenses Prepare for upcoming Enterprise Agreement renewals Understand license position for improved contract negotiations Leverage product use rights to reduce consumption Connect Microsoft Configuration Manager to bring in device data How True Software Asset Management can help solve Microsoft licensing challenges across your organization. No matter your job function, True Software Asset Management puts the data you need at your fingertips to reduce costs and ensure compliance of your Microsoft license estate. Take a look at some common challenges solved by role. SAM Manager Automatically calculate Microsoft license compliance Eliminate time intensive and manual product license calculations Optimize spend with an accurate, complete picture of your Microsoft license data Reduce errors from manually maintaining license entitlement data Procurement Manager Improve contract negotiations with accurate Microsoft license data Reduce spend on renewals and under-utilized applications Make informed purchase decisions with better visibility into license data Insert bullets from website IT Management Ongoing visibility to under-utilized, non-compliant and excess licenses Prepare audit defense Reduce costs of unbudgeted true-ups Forecast software needs and create annual budgets with accurate Microsoft license data Leverage your existing SCCM investment with direct integration into True SAM IT Administrator Reduce time to manage, maintain, and support your SAM solution Automatically track credentials and network access for Server applications Gain accurate, real-time reporting Schedule data import with preconfigured connectors to SCCM, Active Directory, Office 365, or CSV files Get started with a free demo today or take True SAM for a spin in the online demo lab.
I've previously blogged about Cireson's venture into SCCM management with their excellent ConfigMgr Portal. I'm happy to report that they havn't stopped there, they've listened to feedback and built upon that product to release a new product called Cireson True Control Center and below is a blog from Billy Wilson @ Cireson. Do yourself a favor and check it out ! I know I will ! cheers niall “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I heard that in a movie once. This is a quote that Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Admins know all too well. Configuration Manager has a lot of power to manage a company’s servers and workstations from a central point. Gone are the days of carrying around discs to put an OS or application on a workstation or server. Also having to deal with multiple versions of multiple Operating Systems at multiple patch levels (if any). Then being told by the boss right before budget time, “Go forth and view the land and tell me everything we have, where it is, and who is using it.” With my Console, I can send out standardized images and applications from the comfort of my ergonomic chair and pull information from any of several hundred reports. That’s the great power. The great responsibility comes from the fact that if I am not paying attention, I can literally bring down every server, workstation, ATM, and/or slot machine (many ATMs and slots use Windows…fun fact) in my company from that same comfortable ergonomic chair. Its happened with SCCM before. There are career-ending horror stories (Google it). So, SCCM Admins must be on the ball and careful as the ultimate accountability for any mishaps with the system lies exclusively with them. So, when the Service Desk Manager comes by and asks if we can deploy the Configuration Manager Console to his or her team because they need to get response times down and don’t want to wait for me to deploy an app or get them info on a computer, I understand where they are coming from. I was there once. However, there’s no way I am giving out that Console willingly. Setting up RBAC so that a Service Desk person doesn’t re-image the Domain Controllers isn’t a lot of fun. And if anything goes wrong, do they hammer the Service Desk person? No, they don’t. The torches and pitchforks are all aimed at…. Giving the console out to anybody who isn’t a trained Configuration Manager Admin keeps people like me awake at night. But the need is still valid and Cireson has answered the call with True Control Center. True Control Center (or TCC) is a web-based Portal that SCCM Admins can provide to other levels of IT so that they can utilize the power and utility of Configuration Manager (and then some) to make their day-to-day lives more productive. However, the Admin has the ability to easily limit and target that power and utility so that these Analysts can do only what the need to, only to the users and computers they should access, keeping the rest of the company safe and allowing the Admins to sleep better. Here are some of the key benefits and features of the True Control Center. Web Based True Control Center is a web-based Portal that is easily installed, configured, and hosted. No more deployment of the Configuration Manager Console. Access from anywhere in the company using Windows authentication. Power and Utility with Remote Manage Information can be at your fingertips. You can give your Analysts the ability to access computer data such as: Current health status Network information Uptime Hardware information Installed Applications Installed & available Software Updates Currently running processes Current status of services Status of Software and Task Sequence deployments Primary User information (if you are utilizing UDA) They can access user data such as: Active Directory information Primary Device information Status of User-based Software Deployments You can also provide access to any or all of the hundreds of out-of-the-box ConfigMgr SSRS Reports that you find relevant to the Analysts’ job responsibilities and, if that isn’t enough, export the results of views directly to Excel or PDF! And that’s just information. You can also provide Analysts the access to perform the following functions on computers remotely: Deploy Applications, Software, and Task Sequences Initiate Config Man Client actions such as Heartbeat DDR, get client policy updates and hardware and software inventory cycles Reboot or shut down Create a PowerShell remote session RDP or initiate a Config Man Remote Control session Repair or uninstall the ConfigMan client or WMI Clear or clone app deployments Add or remove computers from Collections Terminate processes or stop and start Windows services Add or remove Primary Users Add and configure MDT roles Create and manage Applications, Software, or Task Sequences Add, pre-register, or import computers into Config Man For End Users, you can give Analysts the capability to: Initiate user-based application deployments Reset or unlock their AD accounts and passwords Manage their primary devices Integrated Not only does True Control Center integrate with Configuration Manager but it can also integrate with MDT. You also have the ability to link to External Tools so that you can initiate action on other systems and pass in data, such as creating an Incident or Change Request for a computer. Peace of Mind As a Configuration Manager Administrator, True Control Center will give you the ability to provide the power and utility with mitigated risk. Access to the data and actions above are easily scoped to Analyst role via Active Director group membership. You have the power to limit what computers, users, and software that a group of Analysts can even see in their Portal using any criteria that makes sense for your organization. You can make it so that there is no possible way the someone could accidentally push and application or OS to a server or collection. The result for an Analyst group such as Service Desk could be… You can also provide Analysts templates so that they do not have to remember what settings go with which deployments. There are even templates for adding Applications and Task Sequences to Config Man through the Portal as well. We help you take the guess work out and keep the amount of training required for an Analyst to use the Portal to a minimum. Easy training and offloading tasks will help you be more productive in your day as well and that is money. The fact of the matter is… the Configuration Manager Console was designed for Admins, not Analysts. Being able to offer a safe, intuitive, and easily accessible alternative will allow you to make your Service Desk Manager’s day and maybe your average work day, a bit more peaceful. Get started with a free demo today or take True SAM for a spin in the online demo lab.
Introduction Back in March 2017, I reviewed Cireson's ConfigMgr Portal, and it is a great product, however it's not free there is a license cost involved. That said, Cireson have now released a new free version of the Portal called the free community Portal for Configuration Manager and that will make a lot of people happy. What's different between the two releases ? So what's the deal here ? well obviously if you like using the free version then you are inclined to move to the full edition, so let's see what the two versions offer. Community features: Quickly and easily know user details by viewing software and hardware information View a detailed inventory summary of any selected computer in the Computers View Understand deployment status for individual users and computers, along with other relevant organizational information with dashboards No Configuration Manager Console installation required Wizard-based installer to setup in minutes Beautiful and intuitive web interface ConfigMgr Portal edition features: Everything in Community, plus: Inventory data visibility including hardware, software, network, client information, applied updates User device affinity management from within the Portal Computer cloning and cleaning – copy/remove targeted software deployments from one computer to another Interface with external remote tools from your browser, including Remote Manage, Ping, and Remote Desktop Push software on-demand to any client with collection targeted deployments Enhanced software, OS, and MDT deployment and management Create deployment templates for software applications and OS updates Monitor the status of any deployment Simplified role-based administration to control who has access to certain features and to govern the size of deployments Built-in report viewer Dashboards to view summary information for your environment Commence integration for quick and easy computer provisioning Ability to integrate the Cireson Analyst Portal for Service Manager with the Portal for Configuration Manager to better align the support experience In addition to the Community edition, Cireson also released some updates to the ConfigMgr Portal edition: New dashboards to easily see the health of your IT systems Extended remote tools functionality A new wizard-based installer to make it easy to setup the Portal in minutes Commence integration (OS deployment frontend): Windows Pre-Execution Environment (WinPE) application that allows quick and easy computer provisioning through integration with Configuration Manager Portal templates and settings during the provisioning process. Learn more Check out this webinar which explains the new features, and gives an overview of the community edition as well: cheers ! niall