Step 1: Learn about the all-important first step in managing your software assets—getting an accurate record of your company's software titles by conducting a thorough software inventory.Start the tutorial
There are two main methods for conducting your software inventory:
If your organization has only a few computers, you might be able to perform a manual inventory by simply checking the hard drive of each computer and recording the information in a report. You can also view the list of programs that are installed on each computer by opening the Add or Remove Programs tool on each computer.
To open the Add/Remove Programs tool on a computer that is running Windows 7 or the Windows Vista operating systems, click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Programs. In Windows XP, click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Programs and Features.
Several templates are available for your inventory reports:
PC Software Inventory Report Template - Use this report to document the programs you find on computers in your organization.
Software Inventory Summary Report Template - Use this report to consolidate individual software titles.
If you have a lot of computers in your organization, you might consider using a software inventory tool such as the Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer (MSIA) to perform an automatic inventory of all of your computers and servers. (Note that the MSIA is intended for use in organizations that have 250 PCs or fewer.) Software inventory tools primarily scan for the software installed on computers, and asset management tools are designed to help you manage your network and its associated software.
There are a number of software inventory and asset-management tools available today, either from Microsoft or from independent software vendors who focus on SAM. Use the SAM Tools Provider Directory to find the tool that best suits your needs based on the size of your business and the applications you’re currently using.Find available tools now
Most SAM tools automatically generate software inventory reports.By using the MSIA or another SAM tool, you can scan stand-alone or networked computers and generate the inventory results automatically.
When you have inventoried all of your company’s computers, you should combine the information into one master report. This report will be instrumental in the next step of SAM and as a reference for all SAM work moving forward.
Next step: Get organized
Now that you’ve completed your software inventory, you’re ready to start matching that software to your licenses and getting organized.