Much of the inventory data that is gathered by DTS is not in a report-ready format. Many vendors have few standards for naming their hardware, software, or company, making it difficult to create a clean report that shows all of the manufacturers, models, and software in inventory. The inventory database can only report back to you what the device reports to it. A hardware vendor may report that its name is just "Vendor" on one device, “Vendor Inc.” on another device, and “Vendor Incorporated” on a third. By normalizing or standardizing the data, you make it easily reportable.
Data Analytics ships with a variety of rules that normalize data, but you may need to create your own rules for manufacturers not currently represented. You can copy and edit existing rules for your particular environment.
Open the wizard by right-clicking Normalize in the DTS tree and selecting New rule. Enter a unique name and description for this rule, then select the database where the rule will store the data it gathers. On the continuing pages, enter the following information:
Database attribute: Select the database attribute you want to normalize with this rule. Click the ellipsis (…) button to select the attribute from the attribute browser.
Use this dialog to move the selected attribute's current values in inventory to the mapped values list, where you can normalize them.
Mapped values pane: Shows a list of new, normalized values that will be used for this particular attribute. This list is empty until you select an existing value and click the Add map button to move it over. Once a value is in this list, it can be normalized by adding any number of values under it that are variations of its name.
To add a value to the list, right-click the mapped value and select Add value. You don't need to list each permutation of the value you're normalizing. Instead, you can use two wildcards:
- <Char> matches a single character.
- <Any> matches any number of characters, zero or more. For example, if you're normalizing system manufacturers, you may want to use “Dell<Any>” to match any device that starts with "Dell."
Existing values pane: Shows a list of existing values in inventory for this particular attribute.
Add map button: Moves the selected existing value over to the Mapped values list for normalizing.
Add value button: Moves the selected existing value to the Mapped values list under the value you're normalizing, as one of its values.
Click the Finish button. Your new rule will appear in the Normalize > All Rules folder.