The most common reason to purchase SparkleFlow is “a lack of overview.” It sounds familiar to me every time. I can still remember being responsible for IT management (in the broadest sense of the word) of a healthcare organization. Since I was temporarily hired for the system administrator role, the overall manager decided to outsource part of the IT management to an external party. This party would also be responsible for the roll-out of applications. When this party knocked on my door for a list of applications we were using, I had to look far. “Then we’ll take a look in the software safe,” I said, but on closer inspection, there were more empty boxes than filled ones. Documentation about the applications was everywhere and nowhere, or it was completely missing. It was also not clear who was responsible for the applications. We then spent weeks trying to clarify the “application landscape.” And to think that a total of less than a hundred applications were in use. Imagine how the same scenario would play out in an organization with more than a thousand applications.
Strangely enough, this scenario still occurs daily in many organizations. They try to keep an overview by keeping a multitude of Excel lists. In addition, there are various folders with packages, documents, scripts, and other related stuff. And then, we are only talking about the technical side of application management. There is often also a CMDB, an ITSM system (for example, Service Now), Active Directory (application groups), a distribution server (for example, SCCM), contract management (often with purchasing), and sometimes even a SAM system (software Asset Management). If you read the summary back, you may get the impression that people are on top of it and that every insight or piece of information is available with the push of a button. Well…., not so. How is this possible, I hear you think. There are several reasons for this, and I will describe them point by point below:
- There is no exact working method. Requests for new applications or updates are, as it were, thrown over the fence. These requests will then be picked up and handled by someone. This usually goes without planning, registration, or process. As soon as several application requests are in process simultaneously by several technical application managers in this ad-hoc manner, the overview is understandably quickly lost.
- Not everyone knows when and where to keep track. Because administrative systems and documents are located at different locations, administration and documentation can quickly become a tedious job. Particularly in busy times, you invariably see that administration and documentation are skipped. Once a few months later and the backlog is impossible to catch up.
- Techies hate to document (with some exceptions). I see this time and again in practice. Either there is only scant documentation, or just not at all.
- Various systems must be maintained separately. This leads to duplication and a high risk of inconsistency. For example, in addition to the Excel sheets and documents here and there, I often see that the CMDB and TopDesk also need to be updated. In this way, the administration seems to be more work than packaging the application.
- Nothing is automated concerning the (technical) management of applications. All actions related to technology and administration are all (to a large extent) repetitive and often also double work. It is not for nothing that the lead times for making applications available are far too long at many organizations.
In my opinion, the biggest problem arises because it is unclear who is responsible for the application landscape. By this, I mean the entire collection of applications used in the organization by the end users. I regularly ask, “who is ultimately responsible for your applications?”. Unfortunately, I rarely get a conclusive answer. Is it the end users who requested the software? Their managers? The techies who package the applications and keep them “in the air”? The CIO? Purchase? Who? The above roles all do “something” with the applications, but nobody looks beyond that something while combining all information about applications is the only way to create a complete overview.
I’ll tell you how that works below:
- SparkleFlow first ensures that a central system is set up for managing and exchanging information about applications. In addition, the customer’s process (the working method) is secured in the SparkleFlow workflow. We optimize this process by discussing our experiences with the customer. From the perspective of technology, the most information is collected, and the most time is spent managing the applications.
- The data model in SparkleFlow is adapted to the customer’s needs so that everything that needs to be secured can also be secured. Think, among other things, of software dependencies, contacts, version control, status information, security information, license information, and so on.
- Everything that can be automated will be automated. The workflow system checks and executes these actions at precisely the right moments. Things like creating installation manuals, test instructions, creating Active Directory groups, listing packages in SCCM, updating TopDesk, sending E-mails, and so on are all done flawlessly and quickly.
- SparkleFlow is linked with all relevant systems (which contain information about the applications), so information can be exchanged. This prevents duplication of work and mistakes. In addition, it ensures that all systems involved are augmented so that the reports of the relevant systems become complete.
- When everything is in place, the Dashboards are the last to be worked on so that they can show all the desired insights in real-time. They provide the desired understanding, and information can be found immediately.
Does this sound too good to be true? Our users don’t think so. They now know very well what the software is all about and see it as an indispensable tool for managing applications and packages. During a demo, we would like to show you what SparkleFlow can mean for your situation. And given that we have built SparkleFlow from scratch in-house, additional functions can be added to SparkleFlow if needed.