The company I'm employed with needs to get an accurate picture of exactly what systems they have out in the wild, what operating systems they're running, what patch levels are they at and what are the specs of the hardware. We also need these details to be easily checked again in the future, so that manually doing an audit "just this once" isn't a good plan.
So in steps SCOM 2012. Here's the promo copy which MS use to explain what operations manager does:
Businesses, small and large, are typically dependent on the services and applications provided by their computing environment. IT departments are responsible for ensuring the performance and availability of those critical services and applications. That means that IT departments need to know when there is a problem, identify where the problem is, and figure out what is causing the problem, ideally before the users of the applications encounter the problems. The more computers and devices in the business, the more challenging this task becomes.
Using Operations Manager in the environment makes it easier to monitor multiple computers, devices, services, and applications. The Operations console, shown in the following image, enables you to check the health, performance, and availability for all monitored objects in the environment and helps you identify and resolve problems.
I'm currently reading through the SCOM 2012 survival guide.