A typical corporation that has implemented software asset optimization (SAO) has 100s or 1000s of features available for use. However, based on what I have seen in over 25 SAO installations, maybe about 30% of all the features are used at all. This implies that unless the user has a good idea of what software is used and what is not, the user will have at the most a 30% chance of selecting a software feature that has any usage within the date range. For all other selections, the user is going to see a blank report. In essence, software usage data is very sparse making random filter selections to view usage reports a very tiring and laborious experience. This situation is further exacerbated if the user needs to get usage data for a specific region and department at a lower level in those hierarchies.
Peeling the Onion
Altair SAO was designed to alleviate the issue of sparse data browsing. This approach allows a user to start with reports at a high level of aggregation of a usage metric providing various context sensitive drill down paths which pre-sets filters that guarantee non-blank reports. Let me explain using a sample navigation path starting at license server machines. The adjoining diagram shows license server activities in the main dashboard. The user can click on the graph icon on the top right corner of the view that shows the status of all license server machines in the system. This takes the user to the report shown in the next diagram.
Note that this report shows all license server machines that have recorded SOME software usage activity using the default date range of YTD. The user can then select a license server to get a report of software usage from all vendor daemons installed on the selected machine using the pop-up context sensitive menu shown in the image in blue.
The user can then select a vendor daemon to explore usage of all software features available in the license file served by the vendor daemon using the pop-up context sensitive menu. In this case the user has chosen to explore usage of the “altair_troy” vendor daemon. The next diagram shows the feature usage report of all software features available in this vendor daemon allowing for further exploration of usage of a selected software feature:
The user can choose to explore 3 reports by selecting a software feature of interest, in this case, License Usage, Usage by Region and Usage by Department. Because all features in the report above have some recorded usage in the date range, the user is guaranteed to see usage of the selected feature.
Altair SAO provides a number of such navigation threads simplifying access to different types of software usage reports. The drilling-down ability is a signature feature of Altair SAO that helps reduce the ‘hunt-and-peck’ method to identify software that has any usage.
In the next post I will focus on a very useful starting point using the Summary Usage Report which lists all software features in the system that have SOME usage. Software features with no usage are not listed at all.