Software Self-Service – The ‘connected’ AppStore

In 2010, British trade publication Computing printed research stating that 73% of new software requests had to be initiated via email or telephone.  It went on to highlight that 40% of software users had to chase-up outstanding requests and that as much as 15% of all requests effectively disappeared into a black hole.

Three years on and has much changed?

Yes and no. As consumers, we are all now familiar with the concept of self-service – whether it’s filling up with fuel, withdrawing cash, dispensing drinks or buying goods online. We do it because it’s faster, cheaper and (often) more satisfying.  This same approach is increasingly infiltrating our working lives as well, for much the same reasons. 

An increasing number of organizations are investing in self-service technologies such as Service Catalogs. But one area that remains largely untapped is Software Self-Service.

What is Software Self-Service?

Software Self-Service comprises a mix of technology components (AppStore, Approvals Management, License Management and more) plus automated processes and workflows that enable each stakeholder involved in the management and procurement of software to play an effective role.

Software Self-Service components:

AppStore – The AppStore (or web shop) is a single online resource where end users can view a list of approved software applications that can be requested for deployment to their device(s).

Approvals Management – Submitted requests should be routed to the appropriate line manager for approval or rejection. A good self-service solution will centralize this function into an ‘approvals management’ section of the AppStore, accessible only to authorized managers.

License Availability Checking – Solutions like SAM Director from License Dashboard, which integrates automatically with the License Manager solution, enable SAM managers to instantly view license availability.

Procurement triggers – Depending on the desired level of sophistication, a good software self-service solution will include the ability to trigger the procurement process depending on license availability.

Deployment triggers – Once all the necessary steps are in place, the solution can notify deployment staff to go ahead with full authority.

Stakeholders and roles

Software Self-Service typically encompasses the following stakeholders and roles:

End Users can browse approved software titles and request deployments via online web shop or ‘appstore’

Line Managers can view all software requests and costs in a single console, approve or reject requests instantly with full audit trail SAM Managers can instantly allocate available licenses or trigger procurement processes for approved requests

Procurement staff know that new license purchase requests have been fully approved and license availability checked before they action

Deployment staff are assured that all deployments have been fully approved, accounted for, costed and licenses allocated

With its ability to drive cost reductions, risk avoidance and productivity gains across the organization, software self-service is essentially a no-brainer. But Software Self-Service must have at its heart an effective license management practice. Without it, the solution can never hope to drive the desired business benefits. And that’s why software self-service is rarely a job for the incumbent ITSM solution.

Building the business case for Software Self-Service License Dashboard has recently published a new white paper exploring the benefits of Software Self-Service and the core components of a successful solution. Download this free document now.

Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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