Self-Service Portals & Consumerization of IT
The pressure to simplify desktop management, cut costs and adopt innovation-enabling technologies has intensified over the last few years as enterprises have struggled with the weak economy and global competition. In addition to that pressure, IT is now grappling with a new trend: the consumerization of IT.
As consumers have expanded their use of desktops, laptops, smartphones and slates at home, they have come to expect the same consistent self-service access to corporate services from wherever they are, on whatever device they're using. IT is struggling to adopt, manage and secure a growing number of mobile, physical and virtual technologies required to support user productivity without driving up operational costs or increasing administration complexity. To do so, IT must make a fundamental shift from static, infrastructure-based IT to a user-centric model that orchestrates services around users and their requirements at any point in time.
In making this shift, IT is being forced to look more closely at how it handles one-off software requests. In many enterprises, employees have to fill out forms and wait for requests to work their way through manual approval processes. It may take days or weeks for the process to be completed and for IT to install the software. Users want a simpler, faster approach. Enterprise self-service software is the ideal solution.
As for IT, support teams typically use traditional software deployment tools to install the software. These tools work well for distributing new applications or rolling out bulk updates to thousands of computers but aren't particularly effective for one-off requests. It takes the typical IT organization 133 hours to fulfill 1,000 individual software requests using these tools.
Many IT organizations finding that enterprise self-service software helps them overcome the challenges related to fulfilling one-off software requests. Using a software self-service solution, IT can create an enterprise app store that allows people to browse an online catalog and order applications by adding them to a shopping cart. Once checkout is complete, fulfillment and enterprise software deployment occurs automatically, without any additional effort on the part of the IT staff.
Best Practices for Enterprise Self Service Software
- User Self Service
Best practices call for ensuring a robust self-service application catalog through customizable workflow and approval management. Ordering from the catalog should trigger an automated end-to-end fulfillment process that includes: gathering approvals, enforcing proper licensing, delivering software, verifying installation and maintaining a detailed audit trail. Tailoring the catalog to each user facilitates navigation and gives IT strong controls over software access. Support for multiple languages and currencies further simplifies shopping for enterprises with employees around the world.
- Software Request Management
Maintaining an online catalog is greatly simplified when templates are available for adding, editing and deleting content. A template-based approach offers high productivity for the IT staff. Flexibility in controlling the approval process is also essential. Administrators should be able to specify, for example, approval by everyone in a list, by one approver in a list or by one approver at each level of a list. Effective software request management requires visibility into all aspects of the request and fulfillment process. A complete history of requests, approvals, installations and purchases provides an audit trail for software license and regulatory compliance as well as management insight for improved decision making.
- Software Asset Management
Access to software asset information such as application cost, total license count, the number of in-use licenses and software metering data is essential to optimizing software utilization. This information helps, for example, with license reclamation and recycling to avoid overbuying and notifications when the supply of unused licenses for an application needs to be replenished.
Taking the Leap to Self-Service Software Portals
If you're struggling to find a better way to deliver desktop applications, an enterprise app store and enterprise software deployment solution may be the answer. An app store meets user expectations for a familiar, consumer-like experience in accessing IT services in the workplace. Plus it saves hundreds of hours of IT time that was previously spent preparing applications for delivery in response to one-off software requests.