Benefits to Your Organization:
- Empowers business users with an online app store to access and download on-premise, cloudbased or virtualized applications at anytime from anywhere
- Enables IT to embrace the consumerization of IT while maintaining control and license compliance
- Slashes support costs by eliminating manual fulfillment of one-off requests and reducing the number of helpdesk calls
- Simplifies request management with built-in templates that permit IT to easily add software and other assets to the app store catalog
- Enhances software asset management with visibility into software licenses deployed combined with the ability to automatically reclaim and recycle software licenses
- Adapts to your environment with its support for multiple languages and currencies, and a variety of approval structures and deployment policies
The consumerization of IT is driving dramatic changes within the enterprise. People have grown accustomed to ordering music, books, games and software online, and having those items delivered immediately over the Internet to their computers, iPads and smartphones. Now they are demanding the same level of convenience at work. They want to order business applications as effortlessly as if they were downloading a favorite song from iTunes ® or the latest bestseller for a Kindle ® .
As for IT, the staff is bombarded with one-off requests for desktop applications, especially as employees change jobs and take on new responsibilities. And, while traditional software deployment tools excel when it comes to distributing new applications or bulk updates to thousands of computers, they aren’t particularly effective for oneoff requests. Industry estimates indicate that it takes the typical IT organization 133 hours to fulfill 1,000 individual software requests using these tools. That’s a lot of time to spend on routine, repetitive tasks. What’s worse, users often wait days before the new application is installed.
Business users and IT staff members alike would be far more productive if people could browse a company online store, put applications in a shopping cart, checkout and have the applications automatically delivered to their computers within minutes.
Flexera Software App Portal makes the enterprise online app store a reality. With this industry-leading solution, people can request the applications they need from an easy-to-understand catalog using a Web browser. App Portal executes the fulfillment process end to end. It gathers approvals where necessary, enforces proper licensing, delivers the software to the user’s computer, verifies successful installation, maintains a detailed audit trail and keeps the user informed of the request status. With App Portal, IT can empower users to serve themselves while still maintaining complete control of the request, approval and fulfillment process.
App Portal tightly integrates with Microsoft ® System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), leveraging the software deployment capability of SCCM 2007 and 2012 to deliver software to users. It also taps into the wealth of data maintained by Configuration Manager to enhance software request and software asset management. Support for the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager application model, which defines policies and relationship rules to evaluate user identity, application dependencies, device type, and network connection, enables delivery of each application in the most appropriate way.
User Self Service
Consumer-oriented Shopping Experience
With App Portal, IT can give business people the simplicity and convenience of an online app store. Business users can request applications for their own use. Managers can request applications for their staff members. And help desk technicians can request applications for employees. Users browse a catalog that lists all the applications available to them, and order applications by simply adding them to a shopping cart. Applications are organized by category to simplify navigation. The catalog includes attributes such as cost, delivery time and the approvals required, if any. During checkout, requesters can specify immediate installation of an application or schedule delivery for a later time. Users can check the status of their requests at any time.
Automated Approval and Fulfillment
Once checkout is complete, App Portal initiates the fulfillment process. If approvals are required, App Portal routes the request to the appropriate people. If approvers don’t respond within a specified time period, it reminds them that they need to take action. Once all approvals are received, App Portal submits the request to Configuration Manager, which, in turn, installs the application and verifies successful installation.
App Portal also supports software leasing, a model in which users request an application for a specified time period. In this mode, applications are automatically reclaimed when the lease expires. Leasing is an excellent way to keep license costs under control in project-based environments where application needs change as employees move among different projects. It also simplifies license management in environments in which contractors are brought in to perform specific functions during a specific period of time.
Software Request Management
Simplified Application Catalog Management
Templates simplify the creation and management of the online app store. Administrators use templates to easily add software, hardware and security group provisioning to the catalog. The administrator can specify a number of attributes for each application, such as the approvals required and whether deployment is to be immediate or scheduled.
System Center Configuration Manager Integration (SCCM)
App Portal takes advantage of SCCM deployment capabilities to deliver applications to users quickly and efficiently. It also leverages Configuration Manager data to help you manage software requests and software assets more efficiently.
App Portal also support the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager application model, which defines policies and relationship rules to evaluate user identity, application dependencies, device type, and network connection. As a result, you can deliver each application in the most appropriate way. This support also enhances the user experience because users see only a single catalog item for download. In addition, App Portal automatically installs dependent or related applications through Configuration Manager, further streamlining the download process. Finally, integration with SCCM reduces IT overhead and administration by allowing automatic population of application titles, descriptions, keywords and application categories, which was previously a time-consuming manual task.
Active Directory Integration
Integration with Active Directory makes additional user information available — for example, Group and Organizational Unit. App Portal uses this information to determine which applications a person is entitled to access based on the person’s role within the enterprise. As a result, App Portal can tailor the app store catalog to each user, displaying only those applications that the user is authorized to access.
Intelligent, User-centric Deployment
App Portal supports usercentric deployment and reduces IT administration by enabling intelligent deployment to the proper device based on type and configuration. Without this capability, administrators must explicitly match the proper deployment type to the proper device. Users can also associate and manage their devices within App Portal, further reducing administrative overhead and empowering business users. If a user’s computer is reimaged or the user is migrated to a new device, SCCM automatically reinstalls the latest version of any application previously delivered through App Portal. This eliminates the need for the user or a technician to request the application again.
Support for Multiple Languages and Currencies
App Portal supports seven languages out of the box and can be easily extended to more. The administrator can select the language to be used in communicating with each user as well as in the application itself based on the user’s location. Support for currencies based on exchange rates or static values are available to show costs in a way that is familiar to the end user.
Question templates allow administrators to incorporate mini-interviews into the checkout process to gather pertinent information about the request. For example, a questionnaire may ask users to enter the business reason for the request. Answers to questions can be flagged as required or optional. Question templates can also be targeted to approvers to provide budget, purchase or other needed attributes.
Automated Approval Cycle
Administrators can specify the type of approvals required for each application based on a variety of factors such as application cost and user role as determined by the Group or Organizational Unit contained in Active Directory. Examples include approval by everyone in a list, by only one of the approvers in a list or by one approver at each level of a list. Administrators can designate deputy approvers in case a primary approver is not available. They can also delegate the responsibilities to regional, local and departmental administrators, enabling them to order applications on behalf of their users.
Approver Decision-making Support
App Portal provides information to approvers to help them make the decision to approve or disapprove a request. This information may include the business case presented by the user during the checkout process, as well as license availability and the cost of the application. Approvers can also suggest alternate software if they see fit.
App Portal provides more than 60 email templates for various notification scenarios that can be tailored to align with the enterprise’s communication standards. These templates can be translated into local languages with variable fields containing the desired data elements.
Reporting and Audit Trails
App Portal maintains a complete history of software requests, approvals, installations and purchases, providing an audit trail for software license and regulatory compliance purposes. It also provides useful business data that guides the business in assessing the value of its software purchases and helps managers understand key performance metrics with respect to software usage.
Software Asset Management
Software License Compliance
App Portal has access to detailed software asset information maintained by System Center Configuration Manager. The information includes application cost, total license count, the number of in-use licenses and software metering data that indicates how the application is being used across the enterprise. App Portal presents the information in meaningful displays to help IT make optimal use of the software currently in place and to purchase additional licenses when they are needed. App Portal can even notify staff when the supply of unused licenses for a particular application needs to be replenished. This information helps IT ensure that the enterprise gains maximum value from its investment in applications while maintaining compliance with licensing requirements.
App Portal can reclaim software licenses and recycle them to avoid costly overbuying of licenses. For example, software metering data can identify applications that are installed on a computer but are not being used. The App Portal software reclamation capability can harvest those unused licenses and assign them to people who need them. Administrators can use App Portal to conduct an email campaign that sends out messages to people who have not used an application for some period of time. The message gives people the option of keeping the application or surrendering it. If they elect to keep it, they must enter a valid business reason. If they elect to surrender it, App Portal can be used to uninstall the application and return the license to the license pool.
Profiling of Target Computers
System Center Configuration Manager data provides App Portal with valuable information on target computers, such as hardware and software configuration, where a computer is located and who uses it. App Portal uses this data in a variety of ways. For example, configuration information indicates whether or not a computer is capable of running a particular application. If not, the computer user would not see that application in the online app store catalog.
IT can generate reports on software requests, approvals, installations and purchases, enabling managers to measure success and make sound decisions regarding software licensing and usage across the enterprise.
Empowering Users/Empowering IT
Savvy IT organizations are aligning their services with the expectations and needs of their customers — the business people who rely on computing systems to do their jobs. Finding a faster, easier way to deliver desktop applications is one of the ways IT is achieving this alignment. Creating an online app store with Flexera Software App Portal addresses the user need for rapid access. It meets user expectations for a familiar, consumer-like experience in accessing IT services in the workplace. The benefits in terms of higher end-user productivity and enhanced customer satisfaction are compelling.
But the benefits don’t end there. Fulfilling one-time application requests through App Portal eliminates hundreds of hours of IT staff time spent preparing applications for delivery. That time can be better spent on strategic initiatives. In addition, App Portal gives IT visibility into software assets and enables the staff to avoid overspending on licenses. Furthermore, with App Portal, IT maintains the control necessary to ensure compliance with licensing agreements, corporate policy and regulatory requirements.
For more information, visit www.flexerasoftware.com/app-portal or contact a Flexera Software representative.
About Flexera Software
Flexera Software is the leading provider of strategic solutions for Application Usage Management; solutions delivering continuous compliance, optimized usage and maximized value to application producers and their customers. Flexera Software is trusted by more than 80,000 customers that depend on our comprehensive solutions — from installation and licensing, entitlement and compliance management to application readiness and software license optimization — to strategically manage application usage and achieve breakthrough results realized only through the systems-level approach we provide. For more information, please go to: www.flexerasoftware.com.