EasyVista tailors asset management application to remote workersWhen it comes to asset management, most large shops either rely on existing network management tools, or opt for products from Tally Systems, Tangram and others. The trouble is, such systems rely on a client connection to the network to deliver the information collected on the PCs. What if your users are remote? Worse, what if they never connect to your corporate network?Technology consulting company Experio faced just such a problem. Of its 1,000 employees, nearly all (save for office-based administration and IT) are mobile, spending their days at client sites or on sales calls. "We're only making money when people are out in the field," says Michael Shisko, Experio's director of IT.Because many Experio employees never logged on to the corporate network, Shisko sought an asset management tool that didn't rely on a network connection to trigger an inventory. That's where EasyVista came in. A Web-based service, EasyVista is server-based, so there's no software to install on the client systems. A small server agent (or batch file) is downloaded once, then the start of each month triggers an inventory. The agent collects all system information, including hardware, peripherals and software applications. Then the next time the user boots the system, the batch file looks for inventory files, and upon finding them, brings up a Web page prompting the user to send the inventory file to EasyVista's network.On the administration side, the network executive logs on to the EasyVista Web site to view the inventory information. There, he can download inventory and change reports as PDF files and Excel spreadsheets. The inventory information is sent as an encrypted file from the user's PC to EasyVista's network. No data is sent through the firewall in real time."We use it primarily to keep track of hardware," Shisko says. Because Experio leases all its computers from Dell, it needed an easy way to match users with serial numbers and cross-reference them with lease expiration dates.Another good use of the service is to monitor which software programs are installed on remote workers' systems. The service recognizes more than 10,000 software titles, and the company adds an average of 10 to 12 new titles each day, according to Ray Hoffer, vice president of sales.Geared toward smaller companies or those with a dispersed workforce, EasyVista is very low-priced. The EasyVista Premium version costs $6 per year per PC. With it, you can download as many as 16 inventory reports via PDF. The new version, EasyVista Discovery, uses a Web-based interface that lets you conduct complex searches, view more detailed inventory, and large reports detailing hundreds of PCs without the hassle of downloading spreadsheets. EasyVista Discovery costs $12 per PC.