FAQ – Ivanti Software Catalog

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is software identification so challenging?

Accurate application recognition is a challenge because there's no standard methodology across software products and manufacturers for correlating application information discovered on a PC with actual software titles and versions. Asset management tools that utilize methodologies such as file header analysis and registry analysis result in over-counting, under-counting, and inconsistent representation of applications, suites, editions, and versions.

What are the consequences of poor software identification?

Without accurate software identification, it is virtually impossible to rely on software inventory data presented by asset management tools. Not only does poor software recognition result in countless hours spent trying to reconcile raw, discovered data with actual application titles—a time-consuming and error-prone process that's impractical to repeat with any regularity—but it also causes difficulty making critical decisions relating to management of software assets.

Why is the information found in Add/Remove Programs not reliable?

Programs installed using methods other than the Windows Installer often don't show up in Add/Remove Programs, making them invisible to discovery tools that use this software identification technique. Additionally, the data provided via Add/Remove Programs often can't be correlated one-to-one with licensable application titles, nor does it always provide sufficient version granularity.

Why is the information found by analyzing file headers frequently inaccurate?

Information found within executable file headers is often inconsistent, incomplete, or outdated because publishers are under no obligation to ensure the data is correct and/or up-to-date. In addition, multiple applications (such as SQL and SQL Express) may share the same executable file(s), leading to confusion about which application is indicated by a given file. Finally, many applications consist of multiple (sometimes hundreds or even thousands in the case of the Windows OS) executable files; looking at individual file headers doesn’t necessarily reveal the relationship between the executables and the licensed product with which they correspond.

Isn't there an ISO standard for software identification?

Yes. ISO/IEC 19770-2 provides an international standard for software "identification tags." Published in 2009, the standard defines a format and content of a file containing authoritative identification information about a software product. The standard presumes that software publishers will create the tags and release them along with their products. If widely adopted, the standard should eventually make software identification more straightforward for discovery tools. However, software publishers have been painfully slow to embrace the ISO standard. The unfortunate reality is that even if every vendor were to begin tagging its applications today, software identification based on tags alone will be essentially useless until most, if not all, newly-released software includes standardized identification tags, and until every "untagged" copy of existing software is either retired from the desktop or tagged by end-user organizations themselves.

Do you support software tags?

The Ivanti Software Catalog already provides a means of recognizing tagged applications based on our own methodologies. Because tagged software comprises fewer than 10% of desktop applications, we do not currently provide support for software tags at this time.

Why shouldn't we build a software catalog ourselves?

The development and maintenance of the Ivanti Software Catalog is a focus of our business; we are uniquely structured and highly committed to delivering a solution that grows rapidly both in application coverage and enhanced content—for a fraction of what it would cost you or anyone else. The Ivanti Software Catalog is crowdsourced by a community that includes our partners' end-users and software publishers, reflecting the diverse range of commercial software installed on the desktops of tens of thousands of corporate and public sector organizations. By leveraging this extensive network of users and letting our own dedicated team of researchers do the work, you add value to your own solution while saving money, avoiding distractions, and ensuring your development resources are deployed to the most strategic areas of your business.

What data can be found within the Ivanti Software Catalog?

The Ivanti Software Catalog contains a large collection data points relevant to applications found and used within corporate and public sector environments. These include (but aren't limited to):

  • File information (name, size, versioning, copyright, manufacturer, etc.)
  • Application information (name, versioning, manufacturer, software category)
  • Publisher information: (name, contact information, address, website, aliases, etc.)

How do you maintain and keep the Ivanti Software Catalog up to date?

We have tools that allow us to collect raw application data from a variety of sources including software publishers and the customers of our OEM partners. Through a combination of custom-built analysis tools and a dedicated research/QA team, new applications are added to the catalog on a daily basis.

How is the Ivanti Software Catalog licensed and priced?

We generally license on a per-device subscription basis, but we are flexible in structuring our licensing so as to accommodate our partners business models.