Inventory reports with stale records have been one of the pain areas for Administrators. The poor client health with no auto-remediation and inefficiently configured maintenance tasks are major reasons behind it.
Configuration Manager 2012 is going to be the true friend of IT administrators and managers when it comes to address these challenges. Here I'll talk about some key strengths of CM 2012 to improve your reporting accuracy when it comes to inventory reports, deployment status reports and other reports.
System Discovery: System Discovery settings now have a new tab with some new options to exclude inactive machines. You can include last logon times and last computer account password update parameters to be checked before a machine is placed into the SCCM database.
To find the option: go to Administration Wunderbar > Overview > Hierarchy Configuration > Discovery Options
Client Status Settings: After clients have been deployed you need to ensure that these clients remain managed as long as they are part of your environment. Client status settings help you to define evaluation periods for client activity based on which you can flag the client as Active or inactive. Also you can define for how long inactive client data should be retained by configuration manager from this settings box. If client performs any of these actions it will be considered active.
Here is a TechNet article which talks more about how to monitor client health in CM 2012: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682128.aspx
Site Maintenance tasks: Site maintenance tasks are still going to help with clearing CM database of inactive, obsolete and old records.
A client will be marked inactive based on client status settings as well as if its marked obsolete. You can setup your site maintenance tasks to timely clear inactive/obsolete and old client records.
Client Auto remediation: Clients in CM 2012 run a local client health check and attempt auto remediation if needed. The ccmeval.xml file under C:\Windows\CCM defines ideal health state parameters and if anything deviates from this expected state, it is automatically fixed by the process. Additionally a report is also sent to the site server if there is any change in the health state of the client.
If you would like to see logs related to client health evaluation and remediation check inside C:\windows\CCM\Logs for ccmeval.log
Note: All the screenshots and the topics discussed here are based on SCCM 2012 RC2 and it might change in RTM release.