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Oct 9 2018   3:01PM GMT

Spiceworks AI-automates the network inventory, in a free app

Adrian Bridgwater Adrian Bridgwater Profile: Adrian Bridgwater

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Technology ‘marketplace’ and collaboration platform company Spiceworks held its annual developer, customer, partner and related tech-practitioner conference this month in the Texan capital city of Austin this month.

Whichever way you cut it, Spiceworks pretty much had to call its convention SpiceWorld.

Given that the 1990s ‘girl power’ pop group of the same album name are now ancient history — and that Spiceworks was founded in 2006 (and the fact that the Spice Girls were probably never that big in a hard core rhythm & blues town like Spiceworks’ home town of Austin), Spiceworks SpiceWorld came to be.

Spiceworks itself exists to connect IT industry technology buyers and sellers, hence the firm’s use of the term ‘marketplace’ in its lead descriptor.

The wider market (and technology) proposition that Spiceworks puts forward is not just the sell-to-buyer marketplace element, but also a means of being able to collaborate and adopt, integrate, deploy and manage the software being dealt with.

Spiceworks Inventory

Key news announcements this year saw Spiceworks announce a new cloud-based Spiceworks Inventory application that integrates with the cloud editions of Spiceworks Help Desk and Spiceworks Remote Support.

The concept here is: software designed to manage technology assets and support end users from a single place.

In the same way that you can now get AI-powered clothes deliveries these days, Spiceworks is using intelligence to provide users with what is calls ‘personalised insights and recommendations’ directly within its cloud-based applications.

“Our integrated cloud-based applications are part of our larger strategy to leverage AI technologies to directly connect IT professionals with the most helpful content, tools and experts they need to drive their businesses forward,” said Manish Dixit, senior vice president of products and engineering at Spiceworks.

Dixit insists that the new AI capabilities that have been applied to Spiceworks allows the company to help users to predict the technology challenges the businesses they work in are facing. This, he says, will help them become more strategic about addressing the obstacles to success.

It’s tough to understand what a marketplace platform really is… so Spiceworks breaks it down and says that the total proposition it offers includes:

  • Applications
  • Product reviews
  • How-tos
  • Learning modules
  • Technology discussions & collaboration tools

Adding AI to this set of functions will (in theory at least) give users more automated information more quickly dependent on their use case of previous applications and data.

If Spiceworks then applies its knowledge of one customer to cross-reference that with anonymised and obfuscated information relating to other users in defined specific industries and use cases, then we all get our software delivered the way we want it more efficiently – well, in theory at least.

Technology vendors like to call this a data-driven or data-powered approach to work… but you could just call it AI if you wish.

The company says that looking forward, users can expect Spiceworks applications, including Spiceworks Inventory, to become smarter and more responsive on an individualised basis.

Working examples

For example, an application could proactively notify an IT professional when a laptop (or laptops, plural) may need replacing and, unprompted, provide a list of the top 10 laptop purchases by technology buyers. Spiceworks could also flag when a business is receiving an abnormal amount of help desk tickets about its anti-virus software and provide a list of alternative solutions that are better suited for their environment.

This product will discover and scan all IP-enabled devices on a network from laptops and servers to smartphones and IoT devices. It can provide device name and detect all open ports.

“Together, Spiceworks Inventory, Help Desk and Remote Support close the knowledge gap between the hardware and software on corporate networks and the technology challenges businesses are encountering. In the coming months, Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard will also integrate with the cloud-based applications to help ensure end users stay connected to mission-critical applications,” said the company, in a press statement detailing its latest product news.

Key features and use cases for the cloud-based version of Spiceworks Inventory include the ability to document hardware details for workstations and servers, such as the CPU, memory, disk, network and serial number.

The key functions of Spiceworks Inventory also allow users to document all installed software (including operating systems) inside a firm’s central (and extended) IT stack.

Smarter more automated individualised custom-aligned AI-intelligent services, tools and functions are being brought be bear across and along every vertical and horizontal aspect of the total IT stack. To think that inventory and asset management (for hardware, software and systems) wouldn’t be a part of that new automation efficiency would be somewhat silly to say the least, Spiceworks appears to have (very arguably) seen a defined call to action here.

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