TAKE CHARGE

6/24/2014 By:

You don’t have to be a Texas-sized district to realize the benefits of asset management software. Whether you need to handle power usage, track warranty information, or find a serial number, these packages let you handle those tasks quickly and efficiently.

HAYWOOD COUNTY SCHOOLS, Brownsville, Tennessee

What do you use?

NetSupport DNA netsupport-inc.com

What do you use the asset manager for?

“We use NetSupport DNA to inventory and manage hardware, software, and licenses,” says Kathy Foster, director of information technology. “DNA provides us with quick, up-to-date, granular specs about hardware and software, enabling us to make informed decisions about hardware-software compatibility and future upgrades.” Reed Brasfield, a technical specialist for the district, adds, “When evaluating memory or system upgrades before DNA, I had to physically check each computer for RAM or OS version. With DNA, I can instantly pull a detailed report of hardware and software specs and deploy software updates. When I am finished with upgrades, DNA updates the database for me so all specs for hardware components, software, and licenses are current.”

What do you like or dislike about it?

Foster says they chose NetSupport DNA because it did everything they needed it to do, and it offered some bells and whistles they hadn’t expected. “DNA allows metering of applications and the Internet. With application metering, we monitor licenses and analyze application usage. With Internet metering, Internet usage is monitored, and time and site restrictions can be made. Application and Internet metering reports can be generated for a single computer, a lab, a school, or the district. DNA offers us a totally transparent view.” Adds Brasfield, “With DNA, we can be alerted when changes have been made to hardware and software on both systems and computers. These alerts are beneficial by providing us with information to resolve issues faster for the end user and by helping us be proactive in preventing issues before they become problems for the end user.”

How is the interface?

Both Brasfield and Foster say the interface is extremely intuitive and user-friendly. “Clicking on the toolbar tabs will reveal a ribbon of icons that are easily identifiable with their tasks,” says Brasfield. “The nested menu incorporates active directory, which allows for easy access to computers or users,” says Foster. “Additionally, we can create dynamic groups for any criteria that we want and the graphs that are displayed provide us with a quick overview of hardware and peripherals in the district.”

Does it have a mobile console?

“NetSupport DNA has mobile consoles for local and remote access. The mobile app is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It is also compatible with Android phones, tablets, and BlackBerry PlayBook. While we have not used this feature yet, we plan to start soon,” says Jessica Reggans, database administrator.

Has it helped you and your district save money or time?

“DNA has minimized the travel time and cost of going to schools to assess hardware specifications and complete equipment inventories,” says Brasfield. “It will assist us in maintaining an accurate and up-to-the-minute inventory and alert us when there are changes.”

MOORESVILLE GRADED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Mooresville, NC

What do you use?

Destiny Asset Manager from Follett Software, www.follettsoftware.com

What do you use the asset manager for?

“We barcode and track all assets and check them in and out through Destiny Asset Manager,” says Scott Smith, chief technology officer. “This process is similar to how we check in and check out library books. We understand the potential for how much can be lost across the board. Even a small percentage loss in any or all of these categories can be significant. The items we track include iPads, laptops, and other AV and network equipment.”

What do you like or dislike about it?

We love it because we know where all our assets are at any given time and it gets the right assets into the right hands at the right time. We can run reports, keep a history of where the device has been, and also track fines and fees related to the individual or asset. Plus, it provides our administrators with the data they need to ensure accountability, to secure assets and to make accurate, fact-based budgeting and purchasing decisions based on asset utilization, condition, and demand.

How is the interface?

It is a Web-based interface, which gives us the ability to access it from anywhere!

Does it have a mobile console?

The product is Web-based, so it can be used from any Internet-connected computer or device.

Has it helped you and your district save money or time?

Absolutely. From a loss-prevention standpoint alone, we no longer have “loose” equipment, and we are able to locate assets quickly and efficiently. Additionally, we can keep a log of all changes made to each asset, plus easily respond to funding audits, since we know exactly where the assets are and who’s responsible. From a personnel standpoint, we have saved enormous amounts of time tracking down assets and keeping an accurate inventory on each and every individual item. At the end of the day, we buy only what we need, better utilize what we have, and can repurpose what remains.

CHARLES COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, La Plata, MD

What do you use?

Absolute Manage, www.absolute.com

What do you use the asset manager for?

“We use several products from Absolute—Absolute Computrace, Absolute Mobile Device Manager, and Absolute Manage,” says Bijaya Devkota, chief information officer. “Absolute Manage is on all our PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. It helps us track our assets, deploy BYOD, and handle our inventory tasks. We know when we bought a product, which apps are running on it, and the latest patches.” The district also uses Absolute Manage Power Management to automatically turn off every machine at 6 pm.

What do you like or dislike about it?

“We really like how Absolute Manage integrates with everything we have, including our help desk system,” says Devkota. “That way, everything about a laptop is known as soon as we open a help desk request. If a device gets stolen and the police call us, Absolute Manage acts as a central depository. It’s been tremendous for us, and the Absolute people get back to us whenever we need them.”

How is the interface?

Devkota says it’s very easy to use and that implementation was smooth. “Absolute will send a lot of people and bring in their resources to make sure you’re up and running.”

Does it have a mobile console?

“Yes. We can even run a lot of these things from home.”

Has it helped you and your district save money or time?

“Both,” says Devkota. “One of the biggest surprises for me was the power management piece. I thought it was something I didn’t need, but you’d be surprised how many teachers leave their machines on overnight. That one piece has saved us tons of money. We have 20,000+ machines. If only 10% of teachers leave their machines on before a weeklong break, that’s 2,000 machines.”

OTHER ASSET MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

CrossTec EMS
www.crosstecsoftware.com

Dell KACE K2000
www.kace.com

Faronics System Profiler
www.faronics.com

IBM Maximo Asset Management
www.ibm.com

Kaseya
www.kaseya.com

LANDesk Management Suite and LANDesk Patch Manager
www.landesk.com

SchoolDude ITAMDirect
www.schooldude.com

Symantec Altiris Asset Management Suite
www.symantec.com

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