How do SoftWatch’s services work?

SoftWatch transforms every desktop, laptop or server – real or virtual – into a self-monitoring platform to deliver an aggregate view of actual software usage. SoftWatch maps software, monitors actual usage and analyzes end-user interactivity.

First it generates software inventory, usage and functionality reports by performing in-depth usage metering across internal and cloud environments. It identifies running applications and focused applications, and analyzes end-user interactivity to determine exactly how users are using software. SoftWatch is very easy to use and requires no ongoing maintenance to accurately map corporate software licenses and monitor users’ actual usage without adversely affecting productivity.


What value does SoftWatch bring to a corporation?

SoftWatch enables organizations to create plans that are based on actual usage levels and measure the success of new business applications by comparing usage levels and how they shift in real time. With SoftWatch, IT managers can make informed, educated and fact-based decisions regarding software purchases and decommissioning unutilized software.


What are the SoftWatch services?

SoftWatch services are a collection of SaaS solutions that help companies effectively move their business applications to the cloud by uncovering real business application usage patterns and effectively manage and optimize licensing. By analyzing real software usage data SoftWatch services provide unprecedented data to organizations and are the only SaaS-based solution that enable corporations to:

  • Assess the magnitude of moving business applications to the cloud

  • Examine real working patterns of groups and individuals

  • Track transition management

  • Optimize licensing


Can SoftWatch help me to decide which users to move to the cloud?

Yes. SoftWatch’s Assessment Modules automatically map applications and collect usage data. Based on this data, SoftWatch’s services identify group working patterns, classify users as either Heavy or Light, based on their individual working patterns. Heavy users are those who used a certain application more than X minutes per time period. You can configure value of X, and the time period is flexible, i.e. per day, per month, per quarter. Light users are those who did not use local applications at all; or only used viewing or editing functions for less than X minutes per time period.

The default threshold for becoming a heavy user on Word and Powerpoint is 12 minutes per day, while the default threshold for becoming a heavy user on Excel is 18 minutes per day.


How is the service different from other solutions in the market?

  • SoftWatch performs actual usage analysis vs. regular inventory or asset management

  • SoftWatch services are deployed quickly and easily

  • SoftWatch is focused on managing the transition to the cloud and helping managers make decisions


Does the SoftWatch service eat up valuable storage resources?

No. The service uses the SaaS (Software as a Service) model. This means that Whatever solution you choose to use, the associated data will be hosted in the SoftWatch’s cloud.



The Chrome Extension

Our lightweight agent supports Internet Explorer(IE), Firefox(FF) and Google Chrome. IE and FF don’t require anything but the agent, but Google Chrome analysis requires installing a simple Chrome extension.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by using a group policy that will enable you to gain control over several Chrome settings, including pushing out Extensions and making sure they stay enabled on the users’ browsers.

If you are just testing the Agent on several machines and would prefer to manually install this Chrome extension please do so from this link.


Proxy configuration

The SoftWatch agent (called CollectIT) is the same agent no matter which one of our services you choose. In every different service the agent will receive a new configuration package from our servers so you don’t have to worry about that, but as far as the way it works and the addresses it will connect to on the web – they are all the same.

There is one thing that we expect you to take care of and that is providing a working internet connection to the agent.

The agent sends out information to the cloud using the system account. You can configure it to work with a different account than the system account but we advise against that. Once you install the agent you need to make sure that the system account is able to POST to (to port number 443). If your organization uses a proxy server please make sure that the system account can access through the proxy.

We understand that this is sometimes quite difficult to change proxy configurations so we suggest that you bypass the proxy for our address altogether. If you can – that would be the easiest option. Simply add to the exclusion list and the connections to that address will not be proxied.

If you can’t do that, please note the following points:

  • Once configured to work through a proxy, the agent will not detect when the user is outside the proxied environment (e.g. the user took the laptop to work from home) and will always try to connect through the same proxy. If that proxy is not available the reports will be purged and data collected while outside the proxy will not reach our servers.
  • The agent can detect the proxy configuration automatically during the installation only if a user is logged in on the machine that’s installing the agent and the credentials for connection will be the user’s only. If there will be other users logging in to that machine chances are that the authentication will not work for them.


Can SoftWatch track Lotus Notes usage?

Yes, our agent can track usage of the Lotus Notes client by monitoring whether or not this executable is actively running on a machine. If the Lotus Notes client is detected as running, the agent will automatically track whether the Lotus Notes client is being looked at and whether the Lotus Notes client is being interacted with.


Is there an agent for Mac?

Yes, we do have a version of our agent that can run on iOS.
The Mac version will report back on the installed inventory and the running executables.
However, the way we analyze user segmentation on Mac is different than the the way we do it on Windows. For Windows users we provide segmentation to light and heavy users based on their applications actual usage while for Mac we provide actual usage simulation based on our worldwide benchmark (over 400,000 users) that enables you to get an accurate idea on  the Mac users  segmentation to light and heavy users.
At the moment, the Mac version will not be sent to you automatically when you resister via the website, so if you need a Mac agent please contact us and we will send it to you.


How do the services compare with other metering solutions available on the market?

  • SoftWatch generates real usage analysis as opposed to a simple inventory, or open/close information on MS Office applications.

  • SoftWatch distinguishes between four categories of users:

    • Those who never ran the application

    • Those who ran the applications but used it for viewing purposes only

    • Those who use it only for very light editing

    • Those who are heavy users

  • SoftWatch is a standalone tool that doesn’t require, or rely on that Active Directory, such as SCCM and SMS

  • SoftWatch is deployed very straightforwardly and quickly

  • SoftWatch collects usage data through a non-intrusive software agent


Why is it better to use a software agent?

The only way to track real software usage is with an agent. It is the only way to successfully track focus, keyboard and mouse activities.


How much CPU capacity do agents require?

On average, the thin client’s CPU’s usage is ~0.00001%.


What data does the agent collect?

The agent collects:

  • Inventory of installed software

  • Data running applications:

    • Application name and ID

    • CPU and memory values

    • Mouse activity

    • Keyboard movements (no key logging)

    • Window focus information


How does the agent record this information?

  • The agent does not scan the registry. It reads a set of specific keys. This dramatically reduces network load.

  • Running processes are constantly monitored and are reported on every eight minutes by default

  • Hardware and software inventory is reported every 24 hours and only if the agent detects changes


Does the agent affect end-user PC systems, storage or network performance?

The agent has minimal interaction with the operating system. This ensures virtually no adverse effect on performance. The average report size is only 10KB once every 8 minutes. All the reports, analyses and calculations run on the server. Nothing is done on the agent side in order to keep the client as thin as possible.


Can the agent be installed on terminal / Citrix / Cockpit servers?

Yes. The agent’s unique inner topology consists of two elements. One will run on a system level, once per machine, and will provide data on all the running processes. The other will run once per logged on user, and provide data on usage, such as mouse, keyboard and focus information. This means that no matter how many users are connected to a single machine every session is monitored separately. Once the information is parsed by the SoftWatch server, it will be broken down according to user for each individual process.


What do “Active”, “Focus” and “Interactive” mean?

  • Active – The amount of time the application was running

  • Focus – The amount of time the application was the active, front screen

  • Interactive – The amount of time that the user interacted with the application using the keyboard and/or mouse


Is the data-transmission encrypted?

Yes. We use SSL encryption to secure the data in transit and we offer optional MD5 encryption for data at rest.

Here’s how the data encryption works:

To encrypt the data (username, machine name, domain name) we:

1) capitalize the data (so User and UsEr == USER)
2) MD5 the capitalized string and send that data to the system from the agent. The result is that instead of username / machine name  / domain name we will have some encrypted string and the web UI will show that string as the username / machine name / domain. No one will be able to make sense of it.
Now all the data is encrypted even before it leaves the agent.
In order to make sense of the data the customer can create a spreadsheet with a list of usernames in column A and then another column with an MD5 on the capitalized data from column A. The customer can download the data from our web UI to a spreadsheet and run a vlookup to cross-match based on the MD5 strings that should be identical in both Spreadsheets.