Computer Associates International is set to announce a suite of software tools for merging IT asset management functions ranging from hardware inventory to contract management.
The initial three products in the suite will rely on CA's common management database, which the company is using to integrate the components of the Unicenter Release 11 software that it detailed at the CA World conference in Las Vegas two months ago.
The Asset Management r11 suite being unveiled Monday includes revised versions of CA's Unicenter Asset Management, Asset Portfolio Management and Asset Intelligence tools. Supported functions include discovery and inventorying of IT equipment, software license management and vendor management, according to CA officials.
In the future, the company will add other products for software distribution and patch management, said Allan Andersen, director of product management at CA.
Harry Butler, solutions center manager at EFW, an electronics supplier in Texas, beta-tested the Asset Management suite and has begun implementing it. Butler said the new tools are more sophisticated than previous versions. For example, he can track new laptops when they arrive at EFW's loading dock via bar codes and assign usernames, passwords and some applications to them days before the machines even reach end users.
"In the past, I had to keep a manual spreadsheet with the laptops on the dock, and it would be a while before the machine was finally on the network and [recognized] in the inventory," Butler said. "This allows me to have more knowledge of my operation."
Al Porco, CIO at Central Brooklyn Family Health Network in New York, said he has been using Unicenter Asset Management for two years and will put the new r11 version in production within the next month. The most important new feature is "being able to have in one place the full life cycle of an asset, which will help in making intelligent business decisions," he said.
Already, a beta version of the tool helped Porco identify which laptop PCs in use at the health care provider had been identified by a vendor as having motherboard problems. "We got them replaced before they failed," he said.
Rich Ptak, an analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates said the new suite of products is "an enormous step forward for CA." Ptak added that he has not seen the same ability to compare different kinds of information from CA's major competitors in the management tools market, including IBM's Tivoli unit, Hewlett-Packard and BMC.