Firms are still unprepared for consumerised IT management

Organisations at a loss as to how to balance app stores with licensing responsibilities, research finds.

The introduction of self-service IT into the enterprise means companies need to take more care than ever to ensure they have the correct software licenses in place for all workers, or risk incurring fines.

So claims research carried out by analyst firm IDC and Flexera Software. While most companies (79 per cent) have at least some form of software license management in place, the majority were not prepared for a consumerised IT environment, the study found.

The report revealed that over half of the 750 respondents do not have a plan to balance employee self-service via an enterprise app store with software license compliance and optimisation.

More than one third (35 per cent) said they did not know how they would strike that balance, while 24 per cent said they had no plans to do so.

This, according to Randy Littleson, vice president of product management at Flexera, flies in the face of increasing audits by software vendors, which can see businesses penalised harshly if they do not have the right volume and type of licenses for all users.

"There's a conflict here between the 63 per cent of people who said they are going to deploy a self-service, enterprise app store within the next two years and the small number who have a management plan to go with it," Littleson told IT Pro.

"Software is a very expensive asset that needs to be constantly managed, not just to make sure you have enough licenses, but also that you don't have too many, for example," he added.

According to Littleson, the problem is not that the message around software management is not getting through to IT professionals and to the boardroom, but that they do not know how to deal with these new problems.

"Enterprise app stores can solve a lot of problems, but they have to be implemented in a planned way, or they can create a whole lot of new problems," he said.

Patrick Gunn, Flexera's vice president in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) gave an example of where an enterprise app store has, he claimed, been successfully deployed with a license management system built in.

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which serves North Manchester, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham, as well as surrounding towns, has purchased Flexera's App Portal and Admin Studio offerings to act as "the centrepiece of its consumerisation of IT and BYOD initiatives."

"The Trust was struggling to meet the demands of users wanting to get a better service from IT, get applications quicker and so on in a controlled environment," Gunn told IT Pro.

By putting an enterprise app store in place tied to license management, they were able to ensure proper control over the software used in their organisation.

"This means they can avoid overspending or being left with a hefty fine, and no public sector organisation wants to end up on the front pages over something like that!" he concluded.

In a statement, Christine Walters, Associate Director for IM&T at the Trust said: "We want to empower our clinical professionals to request, obtain and consume business applications and services quickly and reliably, in an environment that's as easy and intuitive as downloading an app from iTunes.

"[I believe] Flexera's App Portal solution will help the IM&T Department to deliver its services to its [consumers] in a faster, more efficient and safer manner."

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