Contracts and License Analytics

A contract, or license agreement, is the mechanism that ties together software purchases, installations, and use rights. Cherwell Asset Management includes pre-defined Microsoft Retail and OEM contracts, pre-defined Microsoft Volume and MSDN contract templates, and an Other contract template for use with hardware or other non-Microsoft software. You use Purchasing to define what contracts you use, and then to associate individual purchases with the contracts. (You can also view and edit contracts from within License Analytics; see How Do I View and Edit a Contract?.) The following information is specific to Microsoft pre-defined contracts and templates; for information on using non-Microsoft contracts, see How to Add a Contract.

Here are the kinds of information associated with a contract:

  • License channel: Every contract is tied to one, and only one, license channel: A retail contract is tied to a retail license channel, volume to volume, and so forth.
  • License channel conversion: Some Microsoft volume contracts allow you to treat OEM product licenses as volume licenses. You can choose whether this option applies when you define a contract.
  • Organizational groups: Some contracts (such as enterprise or retail or OEM agreements) apply to an entire organization. Other contracts, such as Select-type agreements, apply only to particular departments. When defining a contract you get to select the organizational groups to which the contract applies.
  • Product maintenance: Some contracts (such as enterprise agreements) always provide for product maintenance. For other contracts, you can choose whether maintenance applies to some or all products purchased under the agreement. Upgrade rights are typically a part of product maintenance. Microsoft calls its maintenance program Software Assurance (SA).
  • Dates: Contracts have dates on which they begin and end, and a date on which they are signed. A missing end date means that the contract will never expire.

Again, you don’t need to define the OEM or retail contracts: Cherwell Asset Management defines them for you. But if you use volume or MSDN licenses, you should use Purchasing to define these contracts based on the provided templates.

When working with contract dates, it helps to remember the following:

  • A contract that starts in the future has no effect on how License Analytics operates: Contracts that take effect in the future are ignored.
  • Contracts that have expired may still have an influence on product use rights. A contract with upgrade rights gives you the right to upgrade to any product released during the contract term, even for expired contracts.

Relating Purchases and Contracts

When you start making purchases and recording them in Purchasing, you can tie together each purchase (line item) with its governing contract, and, if you choose, you can assign each copy to the machine on which it is to be installed.

When used with License Analytics, pay particular attention to several controls in Purchasing’s line item editing interface:

  • Reconcile to: Be sure to reconcile the product you purchased to a selection in the Cherwell Software Identification Database (CSID). License Analytics will not include any unreconciled purchases.
  • License quantity: This specifies how many licenses you have purchased. This is used as part of the analysis.
  • Contract: The contract ties together what you purchased with a license channel, a set of use rights, and the part of the organization to which the contract applies. If software assurance (or SA, the term used for maintenance under Microsoft contracts) is optional (under the contract terms), be sure to indicate whether it applies to this line item.

Relating Machines, Installed Software, and Contracts

CAM Administrator is the interface you use to manage the relationships between machine groups and individual machines.

  • Machine groups: Machine groups can be defined by Active Directory or by you in CAM Administrator. Groups can contain sub-groups to any level.
  • Machine membership in groups: You have complete control over how machines and groups that you define are related.

Recall that some Microsoft volume contracts, and all Microsoft MSDN contracts, are tied to one or more machine groups. This group information, along with license channel information gathered by the inventory process, defines the relationships between contracts and machines.