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Briefing your boss — get more from the SCCM console

Briefing your boss — get more from the SCCM console

Quick question sysadmins: how do you get at the data you need to answer the day to day questions your boss asks about your SCCM estate? Yes, SCCM has the data to answer most of these queries. But even if you can get at it in the SCCM console, is it something you want to show your managers?

Probably not.

I am sure you know all the standard stuff your organisation wants to know. But lately, with loads more people working from home, you’ve probably been asked questions like “how many users still have desktops”, or the number of our machines with 8GB RAM or less, and lots of questions about compliance for updates.

Problem is, SCCM has built a huge and comprehensive dataset, but getting answers to your questions is tricky at best. Even when you have the data, it’s frustrating to work with the native tools.

But we’re not here to bash SCCM, we know the data in there is invaluable. Let’s see how we can make your life easier instead. Even better, give more back to your business from its SCCM investment and get your boss off your back by putting data at his fingertips as well as yours.

So, back to those questions:

1. How many machines do we have with less than 8GB RAM?

With app complexity increasing, programs tend to use more RAM. SCCM can show us device memory information but it’s a bit fiddly.

To do this, run the built-in SCCM report from Reports / Hardware-Memory / Computers with low memory (less than or equal to specified MB).

You’ll see devices listed in megabyte counts, so you have to click through multiple rows to copy the results. You won’t see any additional data about the user and location either — not ideal if your boss wants specific information.

It’s impossible to filter this report by collection, so this includes virtual servers and virtual desktops too.

The RAM is counted to the nearest MB, rather than GB so it’s harder than it should be to compare counts and the click through data is the basic “Computer information for a specific computer” report only. Not ideal.

Ok, so what’s the alternative?

In Callisto, the presentation of this dataset is fast, graphical, interactive, filterable, exportable and more accurate. The information is grouped by the closest GB and the data is presented far more coherently.

This quick glance view would certainly make your life easier. Better still, could your boss go in and find this information himself? Absolutely.

2. Who is still using a desktop machine rather than a laptop?

With the rise of the home office, this question comes up more than before: how many users don’t have laptops? It should be an easy one to answer, but the opposite is true.

To date, there’s nothing natively in SCCM for this. You can create a query using Chassis Types, but it’s a bit of a faff.

But guess what, Callisto does this for you too. Take a look at the Hardware Page.

Callisto brings just about everything you could possibly want to know about users’ devices from basic inventory to compliance, software install, deployment and usage, OS deployment data, and warranty information as a value-add.

Rather than having to scramble around in SCCM, everything is at your fingertips. Better still, it’s actionable right there in the hardware modal: you can wake up, restart or remote control a device without leaving the Callisto interface.

It would be so easy to give your boss access to the Callisto Device Modal, and he’d be off your back for 90% of the questions you get asked time and time again. Tempted yet..?

3. What is our compliance state for last month’s software updates?

Ok, this is perhaps the most frequent question of all. It’s possible to report on software update compliance with SCCM, but it’s certainly not quick or painless. Go to – Monitoring / Security / Software Updates Dashboard. The dashboard has five separate sections.

  • Devices Compliance Status
  • Missing Updates by Category
  • Critical Alerts
  • Last Successful Synchronization Time
  • Devices Missing Updates

To see which devices are missing updates, you can guess which part you need! But the process is frustrating, update results are missing as you can only see 10 results in the dashboard, no matter how many updates are outstanding.

Clearly, this isn’t a process you want your team or your boss to be doing themselves.

Callisto’s top-level dashboard for software updates, however, is a thing of rare beauty. Ok yes we’re biased, but take a look for yourself.

Callisto Software Updates Dashboard

It gathers data from multiple areas, presents it in one intuitive data-rich dashboard that anyone can use and interpret. It even delivers in-depth data with quick and easy click through of all components.

It means you, your teams and your boss always know your updates are working in the way you expect. Or can take action quickly if they’re not.

So, could your boss answer these three questions himself?

Clearly, the data you need to track compliance and inventory is there in SCCM, but it is difficult to consume. Even more so for a busy IT manager pushed for time and looking for simple answers quickly. The SCCM console is simply too unwieldy for wide adoption.

With Callisto, you can save a huge amount of time answering these questions, deliver better information to your organisation and ensure software updates are working the way you want and need them to.

Callisto puts the data from SCCM in a usable, friendly format and presents SCCM tools via the Callisto interface so that your boss and the technical teams can achieve much more.

To find out more about transforming your data reporting in SCCM take a look at our free playbook, From Essential to Beautiful. Or try Callisto for free to see for yourself.