Flexera FlexNet Manager review

FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises is the CIO’s cockpit for visibility of software risk, optimizing spend and planning for the future.

Flexera FlexNet Manager

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78%
79% Customer feeback
77% Analyst opinion

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Customer satisfaction

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty
79%
Customer score

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Version reviewed: 2015 R2 SP3

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Good Dashboard

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Process very manual, clunky , lacks automation. Reporting not great. No access to user manual " how to use" . Ability to self manage additional windows , always need consultant, or need to be an SQL guru . Out of box limited management for standard Microsoft products ( Namely SQL)

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Automation of licence linking between purchase and discovery - Improved Licence rules and recognition. Automated renewal notifications. How to use - user manual

Version reviewed: 9.2

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

Solid custom reporting, Detailed asset information

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Cumbersome, over-engineered, not user friendly

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Less features - more simplification

Version reviewed: Cloud Suite

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What are the strengths of this product?

Software License management

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Since we are in the cloud on in a shared environment, we can't access our data through other connections such as API, SQL. This limits the connection to our ITSM.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

they need an API and the ability to update/add/customize fields (Such as Asset Types). Again...only an issue with cloud customers like us.

Version reviewed: R2 SP2

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What are the strengths of this product?

Software and Hardwar asset Management through FNMP, Customer service and support is excellent, staff are always willing to assist where they can.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

FNMP installation is a little awkward. Too many scripts to complete tasks i.e. setup the database. This should all be part of the installation GUI. One installer is required.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

FNMP 2015 has a front portal page, this would be better if this could be individually customized to suit that user. Same as Symantec Management Suite and SCCM 2012

Version reviewed: 2015 Release

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What are the strengths of this product?

FlexNet covers a broad range of software license types, applications and publishers. The product connects to wide range of discovery tools and allows customisation of license measurements and software models.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Not suited or priced for SMEs ie. under 5,000 devices

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Better reporting for the Cloud offering

Version reviewed: 9.2

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
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Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Good ARL & PURL. Good agent range to plug inventory gaps. Strong Scaleability. Good range of connectors.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Flexibility of product - requirement to pay professional services for relatively straight forward changes.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Workflow approval and service catalogue without having to purchase another product. Cloud provision of all blades.

Version reviewed: 9.2

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

The potential for customizings is huge. Nearly all license management needs can be satisfied. The product size and its potentials are enormous.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

The product size is also a drawback for SME companies, since out-of-the-box compliance checks for a specific product vendor are not available without additional workload.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Out-of-the Box features for small Compliance Projects without the additional need of license container creation.

Version reviewed: 9.2

Customer service
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What are the strengths of this product?

The strengths is being able to run reports for the business and seeing at a glance our licenses we have. The ability the link in our HC data, AD and SCCM that update overnight with changes makes it easy to manage. Having the ARL database to identify what software is on our network which we could not do with any other reporting tool.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

No being able to upgrade version in house. We need to get a outside support team to do this. The cloud based solution solves this but we would have to purchase the FlexManager again to move to this platform. This was not a option for us.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

We now are looking to link into our Service Now and application portal for a improved self service function for the business.

Version reviewed: 9.2

Customer service
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What are the strengths of this product?

The functionality covers all needed aspects. Flexera has made a large effort to automate and tasks, and make them time efficient. Outstanding application recognition of Oracle database products. Flexera employees has a very professional attitude towards customers during the sales and implementation phases: clarity, service and speed of execution are almost always guaranteed. Flexera are able to present and communicate strategic product plans, once an agreement is in place. Excellent discovery function. There are some stand-alone Discovery products on the market that are better, but there is none better when it comes to Discovery as part of a SAM product. Excellent role and group management. Excellent possibilities for integrations to and from other systems. However, this requires a high degree of knowledge and competence.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

FlexNet Manager Platform would benefit from an improved focus on application recognition/ARL, as there are some important products that are not being recognized at all (i.e. Micro Focus products), as well as some products that are not being recognized correctly. Flexera relies too heavily on customer submitted improvements for application recognition. FlexNet Manager Platform is an enormously competent Product, but its strength is also its weakness: the complexity creates a large in-step to use the product in depth. It is unavoidable that professional services from Flexera are required to at least some degree. The largest weakness is probably Flexera's support: It is not uncommon that submitted bugs are waved away, and service requests can take an extremely long time to complete. Compared to other competing products, FlexNet Manager Platform is more time-consuming during configuration and roll-out. Hardware inventory on Unix platforms could be improved.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Recognition of Oracle middleware products (i.e. WebLogic or Fusion Middleware). Customer user groups.

Version reviewed: 9.2

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What are the strengths of this product?

Has proven its added value in a number of recent audits (Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe).

What are the weaknesses of this product?

The manual linking of coplex licenses to (virtual) solutions is not always easy.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

View building possibilities in the user webclient.

Version reviewed: 9.2

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

Good scanning agent for Windows desktops and servers, Oracle blade is very good. The tool enables you to see what software has been installed and what has been used at a glance.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Interfaces to platforms and applications such as VMware, Oracle databases and SAP require additional blades which need to be purchased separately adding to the overall cost. Some of the reporting is not that easy to use and there is a distinct lack of "How To" guides with the only operational manual available being a 1300-page Operations Guide.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Version reviewed: 9.2

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

Very strong IBM and Oracle licence management. Has great reporting capabilities. Easy to use. Strong inventory capabilities. Covers all licensing models, including virtualisation rights. Ticks all the boxes, including metering, SAP licence management, virtual licence management We can import inventory from a variety of tools, i.e. ADDM, System Center, etc.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

There was an issue around passwords on the Oracle DB's but I believe this has been addressed in the latest version of Flexera FNMS, 2014.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Can't think of any - ticks all the boxes.

Version reviewed: V9

Customer service
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What are the strengths of this product?

Application Recognition Library and the organization of the data it recognizes. PURLS - Specific intelligence about key vendors. This is an EXTREMELY powerful tool with a lot of capabilities.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

Due to Flexera's growth/success, they lack in customer service and in breadth of internal FNMP expertise. Sometimes it seems like our engineers know more about the product then some of resources that are assigned to our cases.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

More capabilities around specific license types such as MSDN and Adobe Creative Cloud so the management of these efforts weren't so manual. Integration of Engineering module with core FNMP product (although I understand these capabilities exist in the newest releast) Support for Web based applications Intentional ability to manage software without a footprint (e.g. CALs).

Version reviewed: 2014

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

Once purchasing data has been processed, the tool is extremely easy to use. It is easy to identify any potential risks and the Flexera staff are very helpful. We had a professional services engagement with Flexera and their consultants were very thorough in their analysis and were excited about giving us ideas as to how we could save money on license purchases. Overall, the product and the people have been a very positive experience.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

It can be challenging to setup all the data feeds into the product. At a minimum, you'll need feeds from your inventory system, purchasing system, and HR systems. All those feeds will need to be setup, which can be challenging depending on the data quality.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Flexnet Manager seems to be a pretty mature product. It has more features than I would have asked for. We actually have not yet utilized all of the functionality that the product offers.

Version reviewed: FNMP v9,2

Customer service
Value for money
Customer support
Overall satisfaction
Customer loyalty

What are the strengths of this product?

The PURLs, or Product usage rights libraries that are available.

What are the weaknesses of this product?

All technical support for the product must be done through Flexera engagement as the product not well designed for in-house self technical support.

What features would you add if you had the choice?

Elevator pitch

Medium and large Enterprise customers seeking a software asset management (SAM) and license optimization solution should undoubtedly add Flexera Software to their short list for consideration. Fully implemented Flexera customers should experience an ongoing dynamic license position, optimized financial position and the business intelligence to make smart IT decisions (via a nicely executed integration with Cognos). FlexNet Manager Suite is a competitive solution in the SAM market place and Flexera continue to be one of the industry leaders.

Strengths

  • Enterprise grade SAM solution
  • Impressive customer list and references
  • Continues to innovate to address modern technology cost and compliance challenges

Weaknesses

  • Customers complain of labour intensive or consultancy heavy modifications and upgrades
  • Competitors are closing in on Flexera’s key competitive differentiators

We’ve been tracking Flexera Software’s FlexNet Manager Suite since 2010. During this time the ITAM industry has evolved and Flexera have consistently maintained a market leading position. Growth has been in both customer numbers and innovation. See fig 1: Customer numbers since 2010.

Once implemented with an appropriate SAM team and resources, FlexNet Manager is the CIO’s cockpit for visibility of software risk, optimizing spend and planning for the future.

The user experience and interface is much improved in recent years. Business interpretation has also improved; FlexNet Manager provides a solid commercial layer on top of technical and procurement data. SAM technical zealots may scoff at executive dashboards and charts, but I consider them critical in converting SAM technical jargon into meaningful risk summaries that the business can act upon. Naturally, any information presented within FlexNet Manager can be drilled down into for further investigation.

Flexera Software has recently acquired Secunia, which provides visibility and risk assessments of software vulnerabilities on end points. I see this as a great strategic fit for Flexera; the IT Management disciplines of ITAM, ITSM and INFOSEC are converging. If you are building an infrastructure to monitor and optimize software consumption, it makes sense to assess vulnerabilities at the same time, especially for the long tail of applications that might fall under the radar of the usual patch ‘to do’ list.

The addition of Secunia completes the software management trilogy of packaging, asset management and security around applications (See Figure 2 – Flexera Software Trilogy). Flexera’s application recognition library already boasts 180,000 software titles, while its Product Use Rights libraries include license characteristics such as processor points tables, upgrade and downgrade rights, mobility rights and so on – adding vulnerabilities into the mix in the longer term can only add value to their core competencies.

On paper Secunia is a competitive differentiator but it may also prove to be a distraction in comparison to Flexera’s key SAM competitors who focus solely on SAM. I would also question whether the economic buyer of security solutions is in the same buying group as ITAM tools. However, there is a common base of functionality around discovery and inventory that ties these two disciplines together. Only time will tell if this is a competitive differentiator and edge for Flexera or hindrance.

Flexera’s sweet spot is helping customers with the large complex environments, contracts and IT challenges such as virtualization, cloud and BYOD. We’ve written before to suggest whilst FlexNet Manager is the ‘Black belt’ for SAM and an industrial strength SAM offering, we have also warned Flexera’s prospective customers not to expect an out of the box experience, this is not a slight on Flexera but an observation of all SAM tools in large complex enterprises. It’s going to take some work and we’ve observed Flexera develop their offerings and professional services over the years to embrace this, with the emphasis on quick start or managed service approaches to help guarantee or maximize chances of success.

Recent innovation from Flexera includes management of Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure costs and utilization (via FlexNet Manager for Cloud Infrastructure), as well as further development of their App Portal enterprise app store offering. We especially liked the ability for software responsibilities to be delegated to end user customers via their own login (the feature is called MyApps in App Portal), i.e. much like the personal app store login on your own personal device, so you can download or select to have applications uninstalled yourself. Apple and Android/Google have made this the norm of personal devices, it is great to see users with some involvement and autonomy, whilst meeting ITAM governance objectives. These features sit naturally within the self-service and request automation trends we see in the ITSM space; helping users to help themselves.

Flexera’s App Portal product allows users to request a wide range of authorized applications, including SaaS apps such as Salesforce and Box, as well as desktop and mobile apps. Some of Flexera’s competitors also offer single sign on solutions to automate provision of SaaS from within an app store.

Flexera’s competitors are closing in on the Enterprise SAM space and some of Flexera’s competitive differentiators, such as Oracle verification, are based on software publisher verification rather than genuine technological innovation. Feedback from Flexera’s customers on Tools Advisor suggests upgrades and enhancements can be labour intensive. As the SAM market continues to evolve and SAM tools become increasingly competitive and more difficult to differentiate, Flexera needs to continue to prove its ability to execute and deliver returns for large enterprises.

Medium and large Enterprise customers seeking a SAM solution should undoubtedly add Flexera to their short list for consideration. Fully implemented Flexera customers should experience an ongoing dynamic license position, optimized financial position and the business intelligence to make smart IT decisions (via a nicely executed integration with Cognos). FlexNet Manager is a competitive solution in the SAM market place and Flexera continue to be one of the industry leaders.