Software Inventory is one of the most basic systems management features, but all software inventory features are not created equal. Some vendors do no more than query the Windows Add Remove Programs (uninstall tree in the registry) or scan WMI for installed software. This can provide a very basic and un-groomed look at what is on a computer. Other vendors offer a Software Catalog, which is a master list of known software with curated metadata which along with fingerprinting technology can provide a very thorough, data rich view of what is on a computer. In addition to detecting more software and providing more information about that software, you get a clean list of application names and avoid having to deal with the different spellings, punctuation, casing, etc. that vendors tend to let drift between versions of an application.
Some vendors manage their own software catalog, others subscribe to it from another provider, but either way if you want accurate, polished inventory reports, a Software Catalog is a must and should be prioritized accordingly.
This is one of many systems management features covered here at AppDetails. When considering what features are important to you, we recommend you also contemplate the importance of a strong software inventory, application deployment, an intuitive user console and other systems management features.
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