Managing licenses might be one of the most challenging tasks within IT management. It’s not part of the primary process, so delaying it for a day (or a week, month, etc.) doesn’t necessarily pose an immediate issue. Additionally, it’s often unclear who is responsible for accurately maintaining license counts, and not just the purchased amounts, but also the ones in use. As a result, due to the lack of urgency and clarity regarding responsibility, application management remains in limbo within organizations, with nobody stepping up to tackle the problem. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, as, in practice, many more licenses are often used than paid for. Investigating this can lead to significant unexpected expenses, while IT departments already struggle to stay within budgets.
Moreover, license administration is challenging due to the numerous license types, each with their specific properties. Service desk systems (ITSM) or Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) usually have fields to track licenses, but the staff working with them often lack adequate knowledge of application and license properties. Technical administrators are generally more informed, but they work with their lists and don’t concern themselves with licenses. While several commercial systems can automatically scan license usage, they often only tell part of the story, no matter how fantastic their promises sound.
SparkleFlow can solve a significant portion of the aforementioned problems. It is essential to note that it can address a substantial part, not all, of the issues, as the most critical factor is IT management structure. Without clear responsibility for managing applications, license management will continue to float. A possible solution is introducing a new role: “Application Availability Manager.” This manager bridges the gap between departments involved in managing or provisioning applications, encompassing not only application administrators and the helpdesk but also the entire process, including license management, application packaging, application distribution, software asset management, and so on. This process varies across organizations, but the core issues remain the same.
Where SparkleFlow comes into play is by gathering and structuring information about applications and licenses. By connecting SparkleFlow with existing systems, it can collect and contextualize all information about licenses and usage. This prevents errors and saves manual labor. Subsequently, this information can be stored where it is needed, such as in a CMDB. Furthermore, SparkleFlow provides real-time reports on the Dashboard.