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HCL BigFix Inventory provides the capability to effectively manage contracts and purchased licenses. For a comprehensive understanding of this process, please refer to the following resources Hands-on tutorial for contract management.

In this blog post, we aim to demonstrate a seamless transition from managing your licenses using Excel and other sources to leveraging the power of HCL BigFix Inventory. Whether your license data is scattered across various places, or you have it neatly organized in a spreadsheet, we will guide you through the efficient process of importing your license information into HCL BigFix Inventory.

To start, it's important to clarify that, in the context of HCL BigFix Inventory, a ‘Contract’ is defined as software with a designated licensing metric assigned to a specific Computer Group. For instance, if you've purchased and manage licenses for the same software across two different departments:

  • Software A – Install Seats – Department A
  • Software A – Install Seats – Department B

Each of these entries can be juxtaposed with one or more license purchases including the amount and validity time:

  • Software A – Install Seats – Department A – 5 – 2023-01-01 – 2024-01-01
  • Software A – Install Seats – Department A – 3 – 2023-06-01 – 2024-01-01
  • Software A – Install Seats – Department B – 10 – 2022-10-23 – perpetual

If you can gather information in such structured format, you can leverage the bulk import capability in HCL BigFix Inventory.

One of the key challenges when using 10.0.6 Importing contracts using CSV files might be how to set the Metric ID and Product Name as they must exist in HCL BigFix Inventory before the bulk import.

It is worth noting that those fields are optional, and you can add additional fields to the contract that might revolve around setting the Metric ID and Product Name. It's essential to ensure that these values already exist in the HCL BigFix Inventory before initiating the bulk import. It's worth mentioning that while these fields are optional, you have the flexibility to include additional fields within the contract as needed.

What if you didn’t sort out Metric ID and Product before the import and did it afterwards?

Adding custom contract fields to represent Metric and Product as in source system

It is possible to add extra fields to the Contracts as described here: Creating contract custom fields. This means that you can add string fields:

  • C_LICENSE
  • C_PRODUCT

That will be used to store the license / metric and product for the contract in the source system.

Preparing the CSV file for import

The key information to be included in the CSV:

  1. Purchase Order Number
  2. Purchase Order Vendor
  3. Purchase Order Value
  4. Purchase Order Entitlement Start
  5. Purchase Order Entitlement End

Additionally, each row must be extended with contract information:

  1. Contract ID
  2. Name
  3. Type Id – set to 1 for License

And of course, the information about software and license type. For that purpose, we will use the custom fields that we have added – in CSV they will be prefixed with CUSTOM_

  1. CUSTOM_C_LICENSE
  2. CUSTOM_C_PRODUCT

Contract ID, Name, Type Id, Purchase Order Number, Purchase Order Vendor, Purchase Order Value, Purchase Order Entitlement Start, Purchase Order Entitlement End, CUSTOM_C_LICENSE, CUSTOM_C_PRODUCT
ABC1, ABC1, 1, PUABC004, My Vendor A,45,2023-01-01,2024-07-11, Install, Winzip

Sample initial CSV file

Once the file is ready you can import it to HCL BigFix Inventory and the contract will be created as presented on the screen shoot below:

Contract created based on CSV entry

Linking contract with BFI defined metric and software

The contract entries created based on the CSV do not have Metric nor Software Product assigned. However due to adding custom fields C_LICENSE, C_PRODUCT the license and software are getting populated.

  • C_LICENSE: Install
  • C_PRODUCT: Winzip

List of HCL BigFix Inventory supported metrics can be found here: Reported license metrics. In case of licenses that are based on number of copies of software – HCL BigFix Inventory metric is named: Install Seats – so this metric can be selected in this example.

Once the metric is selected, the list of products will be limited only to those which have the metric already assigned. When you type Winzip you will get entry for that product:

Once Metric and Product are selected, you can request to calculate the metric or wait for the next scheduled Data Import to calculate Current Measured Value, which represents the software usage on the managed environment.

HCL BigFix Inventory allows you to:

  1. Define Custom Software with signatures (methods of detection) - Expanding the custom software catalog which by default will be set to the “Install Seat” metric.
  2. It is possible afterwards to:
    1. Change metric associated with Product: Assigning an additional metric to a product,
    2. Add new product Adding a new product to software catalog and then classify detected software component with it (Assigning components to products)
    3. Also to add new metric 10.0.5 Managing license metrics through the UI.

Importing additional license purchases for existing contracts

If additional licenses were bought, CSV can be limited to key fields to map to the contract entry as below:

Contract ID, Name, Type Id, Purchase Order Number, Purchase Order Vendor, Purchase Order Value, Purchase Order Entitlement Start, Purchase Order Entitlement End,
ABC1, ABC1, 1, PUABC2023, My Vendor A,145,2030-01-01,2034-07-11,

Once such CSV is imported, additional purchases are added to the contract.

Summary

As demonstrated, acquiring the data and seamlessly integrating it into HCL BigFix Inventory allows for uninterrupted management. By sharing this perspective, we hope to facilitate your comprehension of the implementation intricacies, potentially inspiring you to devise innovative approaches of your own.

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