Aspera SmartTrack review

Aspera is a global contender and one of the SAM market’s leaders.

Aspera SmartTrack
Vendor Aspera
Website www.aspera.com/en/

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79%
86% Customer feeback
72% Analyst opinion

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Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty
86%
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Version reviewed: 4.0.0 p11

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

SmartTrack demonstrated unique SAM capabilities and advanced features that met the needs of Roche’s complex organizational structure, which has multiple platforms that span across multiple divisions worldwide. It offered many of the features we required out-of-the-box, like covering the license types and metrics which Roche plans to manage in its SAM program, and customization was straight-forward.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Smart Track is not meant for small companies with simple infrastructure, instead if you’re a complex organization with multiple platforms that span across multiple divisions worldwide, Smart Track should be a good fit in terms of functionality and ease to manage your software license estate bearing, in mind, it requires extensive customization in its initial implementation stage.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

in my previous review, I wrote " SAP Optimization - license types & usage to bring visibility, manageability and accountability to the SAP install base" in the meantime USU Software AG has acquired SecurIntegration GmbH, an SAP license optimization specialist based in Cologne, Germany. The technology and expertise of SecurIntegration complement the solutions from USU Group affiliate Aspera, a leading provider in Software Asset Management. With the merger, which is retroactive to 1 January 2015, the companies will deliver powerful SAM solutions from one source to their national and international customers. In addition, Aspera enhances their consulting portfolio for SAP and gains an important component for optimizing overall software budgets. Aspera and SecurIntegration are already effective partners as they have closely cooperated on a technical basis for years.

Version reviewed: 3.6.3

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What are the strengths of this product?

A lot of license knowhow, highly motivated and reliable employees, very close to the customer.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

At the moment completely satisfied.

Version reviewed: 3.6.5

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Completeness covers complete life cycle modularity adaptability.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

None.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

More Graphics for Management.

Version reviewed: 3.5

Customer service
Value for money
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What are the strengths of this product?

The SmartTrack Module (ST) consolidates all publisher, supplier, licensing, and entitlement information in one place; The Contract Management Module (CMM) tracks and proactively reports on all volume software license agreements. The Inventory Connect Module (ICM) automates the consolidation, normalization, and completion of software installation and usage evidence into a single uniform system of record.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

I have found no weaknesses in this product.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

None they have covered all the features a customer could ask for. Innovative company thinking out of the box.

Version reviewed: 3.6.4 p4

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What are the strengths of this product?

Catalogue service, price, usability, reports for specialists.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Management reporting.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Better management reporting (currently the reporting is more or less for specialists).

Version reviewed: 3.5.5.p14

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What are the strengths of this product?

Operability, Transparency and it can be operated using about the web browser.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Nothing. Satisfies our requirement.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Nothing.

Version reviewed: 3.6.1

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Value for money
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What are the strengths of this product?

Software database. Excellent customer service.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Limited education titles in software database.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Streamline of data entry; monitoring tools for systems operation management.

Version reviewed: Version 3.6.4 p4

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
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What are the strengths of this product?

The product should be flexible enough cover the needs. The search function for quick reports looks good even if full functionality is not discovered yet.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Functional driven help file. To much trial and error and open questions. The help should involve as well standard definitions, e.g. for what a product use right is used for. As well we identified some software issues, e.g. duplicate check.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

A help file would be great with additional functional information. Functions and options are complex which can hardly be used intuitively. Currently we spent much time for trial and error. We are provided with support and do not how to address issues or requests and in what way. The procedure of version upgrade is unknown which may lead to known products in case of currently unknowns.

Version reviewed: 3.6.4 p2

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Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The Aspera product is designed extremely well allowing for significant flexibility in how you use the tool, without needing to deviate from the products design. There are very few required attributes, but many optional attributes. The design of tables, relationships, and processes for importing and maintaining data allow for maintaining data within tables from multiple sources or processes while ensuring that they do not step on each other. Managing software assets is a complicated process but Aspera’a intuitive interface does a great job of visually organizing data in a hierarchical organized presentation.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

I have not found a use case that the product either doesn't support, or that there is not a module for.

Version reviewed: 3.6.4

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
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Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Integration and flexibility of different data sources.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Audit defence.

Version reviewed: V3.65

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

SmartTrack demonstrated unique SAM capabilities and advanced features that met the needs of Roche’s complex organizational structure, which has multiple platforms that span across multiple divisions worldwide. It offered many of the features we required out-of-the-box, like covering the license types and metrics which Roche plans to manage in its SAM program, and customization was straight-forward.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Smart Track is not meant for small companies with simple infrastructure, instead if you’re a complex organization with multiple platforms that span across multiple divisions worldwide, Smart Track should be a good fit in terms of functionality and ease to manage your software license estate bearing, in mind, it requires extensive customization in its initial implementation stage.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

SAP Optimization - license types & usage to bring visibility, manageability and accountability to the SAP install base.

Version reviewed: 3.6.5

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Accessive, changeable, reliable, robust, future ready.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Marketing, reporting engine.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Agentless electronic discovery.

Version reviewed: 3.6.4.

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Structured data/data base model.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Contract management.

Version reviewed: v3.6.1 p22

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Covering of license metrics and compliance processes.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Complex usability of the tool, only for power user.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

To cover more process around the license management like contract management, software purchase and other topics which have impact and are need for the license management.

Version reviewed: 3.6.2

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What are the strengths of this product?

Open structure = additional columns and additional rules (e.g. individual contracts) can be added very simple and fast, very sophisticated software catalogs include software recognition rules, open interface to nearly every standard management and discovery tool.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

It is hard to find out when data are incomplete. You have no history for the compliance status for an individual organisational unit.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Audit module has to be more sophisticated to manage audit from different vendors and/or different scopes, real product costs and the internal charging.

Version reviewed: 3.6.4 p5

Customer service
Value for money
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Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Ease of use, very user friendly. Product recognition, master catalogue. Able to calculate all type of virtualization scenarios. We are able to set up even the most tricky license types.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

The load time for very large data volumes (e.g. 40 million records) need to get improved.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Additional modules e.g. Maintenance Cockpit to initiate maintenance renewals.

Version reviewed: V3.6.2

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

1. Downgrade Options
2. Compliance Reports
3. Flexibility on Integration with Different Technologies.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

1. Unable to perform software's inventory discovery.
2. Different to Split Licenses.
3. Much Complex Backend functionality .

What features would you add if you had the choice?

1. Discovery of Software's.
2. Graphical Compliance Representation with Financial Values.
3. Reporting Feature should must be modified and extended at one Corner.

Version reviewed: SmartTrack

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Usage and detailed Information.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

No automatic updates. Always on User demand. The SKU DB covers under one number different Product Description than on the Manufacturers Invoice.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Management Overview more useful and general per Vendor or Product. The current Version is too much detailed.

Version reviewed: 3.5.5

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Value for money
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What are the strengths of this product?

Expertentool mit vielen Möglichenkeiten.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Sehr komplex.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: SmartTrack

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

1. Hosted - stay on the current version, less down time, lower or equal cost of ownership for maintenance of system
2. Analysis features online no need to export to get to the data needed
3. Functionality in the tool - catalog is large, system is easy, model is evident in process/tool itself
4. Basic - this is good the tool is basic by design basic and user friendly, Intuitive tool
5. Solid - we purchased the tool and a process, which is solid especially for the new SAM groups like mine.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Dashboards in the tool - The look and feel is very excel based/like. This confuses people. They think the tool is for finance or difficult. Some even think it is "just excel on the web". It would great to have more charting/dashboards on top of the excel look over the web. I know this would just be "flashy," for the sake of being flashy. However, dashboards that look solid build executive confidence in the product.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

1. I would like to have additional support offerings around data validation in the base offerring. The tool (or Aspera SMEs) could automatically provide proactive feedback in areas they see (or the tools sees) are issues with our data. 2. Proactive suggestions in timing, process, or even content we purchase at time of renewals base on footprint of firm and current entitlements.
3. More on the "functionality" of the tools/products we are entitled that are loaded into the tool. We need to see overlap and duplication for new purchases and existing footprint.

Elevator pitch

Historically within the SAM practitioner community, Aspera is considered technically competent but a bit of an ugly duckling from a UI and aesthetics point of view. The latest version shows a significant investment in the SmartTrack UI, delivering a much cleaner and more intuitive interface. The duckling has blossomed into an enterprise grade SAM solution with a modern 100% web based console. This UI overhaul coupled with global expansion and steady acquisition of enterprise customers has transformed Aspera into a global contender and one of the SAM market’s leaders.

Strengths

  • One single web-based, intuitive GUI
  • Enterprise grade SAM solution
  • Transparent and fit for the most complex license metrics
  • Impressive customer list and references

Weaknesses

  • No shopping cart or app store facility
  • Grading of inventory sources could be stronger

Over the last few years Aspera has been through somewhat of a transformation.

Historically within the SAM practitioner community, Aspera is considered technically competent but a bit of an ugly duckling from a UI and aesthetics point of view. The latest version shows a significant investment in the SmartTrack UI, delivering a much cleaner and more intuitive interface. The duckling has blossomed into an enterprise grade SAM solution with a modern 100% web based console. This UI overhaul coupled with global expansion and steady acquisition of large enterprise customers has transformed Aspera into a global contender and one of the SAM market’s leaders.

Aspera’s approach to optimization is two-fold; firstly to optimize demand by helping clients pick the right products to deploy, then secondly to help clients optimize value from their entitlement by deploying the right way. The company prides itself on data quality fit for audit defence.

Aspera has no built-in discovery and inventory solution. I consider this a strategic advantage rather than a weakness, and think Aspera could be doing more to leverage their uniqueness in this area. ITAM is above all a governance and risk function and not necessarily tasked with operations, Aspera sits well with this model as the glue between IT management disciplines, especially in very large organizations.

For Aspera’s core market, large complex enterprises, there is no such thing as a silver bullet for inventory and discovery. In our experience organizations invariably have to use a clutch of tools, scripts and investigative work to reach their inventory and discovery goals.

In particular, measuring consumption for data center SAM involves collecting increasingly varied and obscure data to measure license metrics that are sometimes beyond the scope of traditional inventory tools. Even if the perfect inventory and discovery tool did exist, technology is not the only barrier to perfect visibility. Large and complex companies face departmental, cost center or political reasons for not having complete coverage. E.g. Italy insists on using it’s own tools, France uses a third party systems integrator, the company acquired in Poland hasn’t transitioned to the central IT department yet and so on. The bottom line is that enterprise SAM requires multiple data sources. If a client has a strategic gap in their inventory and discovery coverage, Aspera works with the likes of iQuate and Raynet to help address gaps.

Aspera state their target market is large and complex organizations with a dedicated SAM function. Their focus is license management and license management alone, unlike Aspera’s competitors in the enterprise SAM space who also develop inventory tools, MDM, security, software delivery and all manner of other modules. For this you have to admire their focus.

However, Aspera could do more to emphasize their data quality and import regarding inventory sources. For example SmartTrack does a good job of highlighting gaps in recognition for license management, showing for example that a client might be missing certain data to satisfy the measurement of a certain license metric. It would be good to see Aspera extending this further showing this at a Macro level: showing that the data you are importing is exhaustive and covers your entire estate by comparing and contrasting imported inventory sources.

Aspera’s heritage is in addressing software compliance and it does this very well. Aspera’s A-Model demonstrates their logical approach to SAM within SmartTrack. We liked the fact that Aspera is transparent with calculations; you can clearly see both the license metrics workings and whether gaps exist in building an accurate license position.  The new GUI is smart and intuitive, future versions will include the ability to build custom metrics into SmartTrack dashboards.Figure 1. Aspera's A-Model for SAM

Aspera is designed for ongoing cost optimization as well as point in time compliance; SmartTrack continually lists optimization opportunities including comparing price points against the customers average acquisition price to identify unnecessarily high unit costs. SmartTrack provides a guide price based on previous procurement record entries, reseller pricing or vendor price lists – so Aspera customers can quickly estimate compliance or overage issues in real financial terms. SmartTrack also helps clients to fully exploit their product use rights and making best use of their existing entitlement.

Recent versions of SmartTrack build upon the compliance foundation to provide business intelligence for supporting enterprise architecture and planning. From risk mitigation and cost saving to, as Aspera calls it, Strategic license management (see figure 2).

Software Asset Managers can harness SmartTrack to forecast costs of different architectural, renewal or design considerations. The simulation of different scenarios includes building clusters, an ideal tool for datacenter planning – all the while incorporating existing licensing entitlement and historical purchases. Visualization of all of this is very good, providing a topology of datacenter environments and visual virtual relationships. As the maturity of the SAM industry develops, this greatly enhances the strategic value of SAM tools such as Aspera to transform SAM from an administrative function to strategic.

In comparison to it’s enterprise SAM competitors, SmartTrack does not include a shopping cart or app store, but rather facilitates license management within other tools such as service desk, including a verified integration with ServiceNow. So rather than attempting to duplicate the service request of other systems, it provides the logic to those that do. As with inventory and discovery, it is unlikely that a large enterprise is without it’s own existing request fulfillment system, but a lack of app store may be a disadvantage for some customers looking to automate the asset request process within the SAM department in a single tool.