User Self Service

Use an Online App Store to Increase User and IT Staff Productivity

Transforming the Business of Government

Severe budget constraints in the public sector are forcing IT organizations in government agencies to simplify desktop management, cut costs and adopt innovation-enabling technologies. In addition to cost-containment pressures, public-sector IT organizations are now grappling with a new trend: the consumerization of IT.

Consumers are expanding their use of desktops, laptops, smartphones and slates at home. This experience is changing expectations for access to services in the workplace. Government employees are demanding the same consistent self-service access to work-related IT services from wherever they are, on whatever device they're using. As a result, public-sector IT organizations are 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 meet the challenge, 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.

As public-sector IT professionals make this shift, they must look more closely at how IT handles one-off software requests. In many government agencies, employees have to fill out forms and wait for requests to work their way through manual approval processes. It may take weeks for the process to be completed and for IT to install the software. Users want a simpler, faster approach.

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 government IT organizations are finding that software self service helps them overcome the challenges related to fulfilling one-off software requests. Using a software self-service solution, IT can create an online app store that allows employees to browse an online catalog and order applications by adding them to a shopping cart. Once checkout is complete, fulfillment occurs automatically, without any additional effort on the part of the IT staff.

Best Practices for Software Self Service

Best practices for software self service center around three key areas: software request management, user self service and software asset management.

  • Software Request Management
    Maintaining an online catalog is greatly simplified when administrators can leverage templates to add, edit and delete content. Templates offer high productivity for the IT staff. Flexibility in controlling the approval process is also essential. For example, the ability to specify approval by everyone in a list, by one approver in a list or by one approver at each level of a list gives government IT personnel the flexibility to configure a solution to align with agency policies. 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. This information also provides management insight for improved decision making.
  • User Self Service
    Best practices call for ensuring a robust self-service application catalog through customizable workflow and approval management. Ordering online should be simple and straightforward for employees. Completing an order 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.
  • Software Asset Management
    Access to software asset data is essential to optimizing software utilization. Information such as application cost, total license count, the number of in-use licenses and software metering data helps public-sector IT organizations contain costs. For example, access to software metering data enables IT to conduct license reclamation and recycling campaigns to avoid overbuying. Additionally, it can enable the staff to generate notifications automatically when the supply of unused licenses for an application needs to be replenished.

Taking the Leap

For government agencies that are struggling to find a better way to deliver desktop applications, an online app store may be the answer. An app store meets user expectations for a familiar, consumer-like experience in accessing IT services in the workplace. What's more, it saves hundreds of hours of IT time that was previously spent preparing applications for delivery in response to one-off software requests.