Next, the resulting ‘software entitlement overview’ is used as a basis to populate the SAM tool of choice with contractual data. This means that your entitlements are uploaded and configured accordingly within the SAM tool. How does that work?
Most SAM tools offer different ways to perform the entitlement upload in the tool.
Metadata upload facilitates the automatic upload and it’s recommended to be used when setting up the SAM tool for the first time. What you have to do is populate the tool’s standard templates with entitlement data and upload everything at once into the tool. The template to be used for upload is well described and documented by the tool vendor and often requires you to comply with certain formatting rules (e.g. dates should be registered with dates strings). Ignoring the formatting requirements will lead to errors during the import process.
This great feature is a time saver when you deal with multiple software publishers. Let’s go back to the 100 software publishers scenario and imagine you will need to manually upload thousands of entitlement lines into the tool. Exactly! Such activity for such broad scope is not efficient. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how the tool performs the automatic uploads, you may spend lots of time fixing errors within the tool. It is therefore recommended to make sure you ‘know your tool’ before starting any type of activity within it.
Manual data upload – this feature allows you to manually register each entitlement into the tool. During the registration, certain mandatory information is required, such as license name, license quantity and license metric. The manual data upload is recommended to be used when you need to upload a small number of entitlements.
Publisher specific upload – this option allows you to upload license overviews as provided by the software publisher itself. For instance, some tools allow you to import the Microsoft License Statement (MLS) as is. Basically, the tool will read and interpret the information in the MLS and will automatically create Microsoft purchase/license records in the tool. However, as the MLS does not provide you a full picture of your Microsoft estate (e.g. OEMs are missing), it is recommended (also by the tool vendors) to complete your MLS view with a full proof of entitlement analysis. By doing this you will make sure you validate the purchases reported in the MLS against the original purchases as listed in your contracts.
During the entitlement upload or entitlement registration, different potential errors may happen. Some can be related to data formatting, while some others can be caused by the tool’s capability to interpret your data. For instance, some of your products or metrics are not part of the tool’s software recognition library, or some of them might not be defined by the tool in accordance with your contracts.
If you are interested to see how SAM tool’s potential errors can be overcome, stay close, as my next article will detail what can go wrong during the upload of your entitlements into the SAM tool, what can be done to overcome these challenges and what steps are required for a correct entitlement configuration in a SAM tool.