Computer Associates International Inc. has some bad news for employees who like to play games on their workstations: Not only can its Unicenter TNG Asset Management Option (AMO) 3.1 tool make sure devices comply with corporate configuration settings – it can delete software not listed in those configurations.

According to Joseph Pascal, director of marketing at Computer Associates in Islandia, N.Y., one company that implemented the AMO tool discovered a significant number of its employees were dreaming of the golf course while they were supposed to be working. The AMO tool discovered a golf computer game on a number of workstations, reported it to the network administrator and deleted all copies of the game.

The AMO is an asset management and inventory tool for software and hardware on the network. It is capable of keeping track of how many licences exist for a piece of software, it can quickly generate reports listing what software and hardware is connected to the network and find discrepancies, and it can identify time usage for a piece of software.

As an example of how the AMO tool can be used, Pascal said that every day when he goes into the office and turns on his computer, as the machine is booting up, the AMO does a scan of all of the computer’s software and hardware. In five seconds, the AMO checks the machine with over 800 parameters, and the amount of information generated would take up about 60 printed pages, he said. As it scans, it makes sure the computer’s configurations meet corporate policy, and if not, it automatically modifies the configuration files to meet policy.

The AMO tool is good because it supports all hardware platforms while other similar products are platform-specific, said Mike Stevenson, enterprise administrator and computer operations supervisor of the Brampton, Ont.-based Peel Regional Police, which is using the AMO 3.0.

“The interesting thing about the new release of the solution is it really supports the extended enterprise mobile devices out there and also the Linux operating system,” Pascal said. The support includes many of the personal digital assistants on the market, including Palm OS- and Windows CE-based platforms.

One worry Pascal said a lot of customers had was that the AMO tool would have to be located on each device. But the AMO tool resides on the network and pushes out information to all of the devices connected to the network. It doesn’t leave a footprint on the individual machines.

“What we’re seeing is a real strong growth of [mobile] devices in the enterprise. And it’s real important for IT managers and network administrators to begin to reign in some of the information and the data because…it’s real critical because now there is really is mission-critical business [being done] on these devices. It’s no longer just personal information on these devices,” said Stephen Drake, a senior research analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass. “It’s now become the responsibility of the enterprise administration folks to not only find out what’s available on them, but be able to provide the ability to track and, at some point, deliver some software.”

While many companies are working on products similar to the Computer Associates’ AMO, the market leader is Alpharette, Ga.-based XcelleNet Inc., which comes from a mobile background, Drake said. Companies like Computer Associates and Tivoli Systems Inc. of Austin, Tex., are entering the arena with a LAN background and branching out, so even though they are bigger companies than XcelleNet, they are also trailing behind, Drake said.

Pricing for the Unicenter TNG Asset Management Option (AMO) 3.1 tool starts at US$2,500. For more information, visit