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Review: 1E AppClarity & Shopping

This independent review of AppClarity and Shopping from 1E is part of our 2012 SAM Tools Review. See all participants and terms of the review here.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch AppClarity – Plug-in for SCCM for automatic reclaim of unused software. Shopping – Enterprise App store using SCCM
Strengths Most of the SAM market is focussed on reporting and accounting; 1E are focussed on taking action. Auto-reclaim and end user interaction very smart
Weaknesses SCCM only. Microsoft desktop o/s only. Price.
Primary Market Focus Volume desktop license savings for large enterprises

Commercial Summary

Vendor 1E
Product AppClarity & Shopping
Version reviewed Version 3.0
Date of version release 12th March 2012
Year founded 1997
Customers ‘We have 20+ Customers’
End points managed ‘Approximately 300,000’
Pricing Not disclosed.
License Options Subscription, perpetual and shared savings options

Independent Review

First of all, it should be noted that 1E doesn’t offer an all-round traditional SAM tool. You could quite easily compliment all of the other SAM tools in this review with what 1E have to offer. The company has a different approach to most SAM vendors and their tools in that it doesn’t offer a comprehensive multi-territory license ledger as such, but I wanted to include 1E in the 2012 SAM tools review to recognise their innovation and unique approach to managing software efficiency.

See also SCCM Plug-ins Review from February 2012 and ‘1E Launch SCCM Plug-in to Target Software Waste’ from April 2011.

Not Just License Counting but Taking Action!

If you are managing your software assets effectively you’ll recognise that SAM is not just about running reports and declaring your position, it is also about taking action and rectifying discrepancies and removing waste.

Not much is spoken in the SAM market about interaction with users and customers once we’ve calculated our license position.

You might have to:

  • Contact a user or department head regarding unlicensed or unused software
  • Negotiate or discuss requirements and alternatives
  • Follow up with them or their manager
  • Talk to the Ops guys to get it removed / changed
  • Check the inventory to ensure it is removed and so on

In short, lots of email back and forth and updating spread sheets.

The 1E offering seeks to automate this process. ‘AppClarity’ is a tool to be used alongside SCCM that offers policy-based auto-reclaim of unused licenses from desktops. ‘Shopping’ is an enterprise app store which allows users to select and download software with a quick and easy approval process.

Preventing License Hoarding

This combination of license reclaim and deployment is a good approach.

Software Asset Managers looking to push forward a license reclaim project should seriously consider their license approval and deployment processes. Companies wishing to claw back licenses are much more likely to succeed if they involve the end user in any efforts to reclaim software. Users are more likely to relinquish software if they know the company has an efficient way of requesting and delivering new software.

I.e. Users are much more likely to part with their licenses if they know they can easily get them back again or can easily request free or cheaper alternatives. If it is a lengthy bureaucratic nightmare to request a piece of software they are more likely to hoard it.

Efficiency by Design

Software can be assigned to different groups within ‘AppClarity’ based on rules and policies applied. The groups can be based on operating units, vendor or application names. Decisions and policies can then be made based on the different groups.

Software policies can be configured to act based on usage information (Used, Used Rarely, Not Used) and remove software accordingly. Software removal may be a ‘stealth’ mandatory removal or by sending a proactive message out to them, which can be fully customized to appear to be from the CIO, reminding them that applications cost money, so if the given applications are no longer needed, they can authorize AppClarity to remove them.

E.g. If App X is used in department Y – just remove it. If App A is not being used in group B – liaise with the user. (See a screenshot of this liaison here).

The primary focus of these tools is volume desktop publishers such as Microsoft and Adobe – and with good reason, there is lots of waste to aim at here. However it would be good to see 1E apply their innovation and logic to some datacenter software publishers in the future. Although delivering this with SCCM as the primary inventory source will be a challenge.

Addressing Consumer Driven Demands

According to 1E research

“Two thirds of users have to wait up to a week or more to get the software they request”.

This lag presents a real hurdle to productivity and collaboration. After all, when your colleague sends you that special file to edit during your project, you probably want to look at it today or tomorrow, not in two weeks time when the app is finally installed. Companies typically have anything between a 7 and 21-day SLA for new software.

In stark contrast, employees at home are using their own pcs and smart phones and enjoying instant downloads on demand. This is not about lock down or licensing but speed of delivery and smooth execution (for example the Apple App Store is a locked down and strictly licensed channel – it just appears slick and effortless due to speed of execution).

Shopping from 1E is a portal for all software and services. 1E is not the first company to offer an enterprise App store but their tight integration with SCCM combined with license approvals and reclaim via AppClarity is a real differentiator.

A big business motivator for SAM is cost saving but combining software efficiency with a software request platform allows for big gains in customer satisfaction. Users get what they want, when they want it whilst the company meets its governance goals.

Shopping also has a clever feature for managing Windows 7 deployments. Users can choose when they wish to begin the process, rather than having it forced upon them. Once the transition has begun, users can walk through the upgrade process and transfer, review and swap their apps at the same time (see screenshot below).

1E’s success to date appears to be in large enterprise accounts. It would be good to see 1E address the SME area of the market – many organizations may wish to build in this sort of efficiency into their operations as a pre-cursor to a formal SAM practice.

The user driven Windows 7 upgrade process using 'Shopping' from 1E (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

5-Minute Video Overview

Resources

1E Customers

  • 3M
  • ERM
  • Aptar Group
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Arup

From The 1E Brochure

AppClarity enables you to make immediate reductions in software costs, analyzing all your applications and providing you with actionable results. AppClarity financially quantifies all software waste and initiates user centric software reclaims. It leverages Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager to help you reclaim, recycle and reuse your software assets. Compliance is achieved at a much lower cost.AppClarity helps you:

  • Find Unused Software by leveraging Microsoft® Configuration Manager to instantly obtain an accurate picture of all deployed applications. Irrelevant records are filtered out and variances in publisher and product names are normalized. The remaining installations on each PC are classified according to their usage.
  • Financially Quantify Software Waste by providing reports with actionable results. All unused software is collated into one report financially outlining the total waste and potential savings. The Unused Software Report is a business case detailing the waste and the steps to take action.
  • Reclaim Unused Software Licenses by using our user centric software reclaim to automatically reclaim licenses from unused software in order to reallocate or reduce liability.
  • Report Savings with a built-in Software Reclaim Savings Report, which offers a breakdown of savings by publisher and product.

1E ShoppingTM and AppClarity work together to provide self-service software provisioning and complete license visibility and control. Users are more likely to return unused software licenses if they know they can easily regain the applications in the future through a corporate app store.

Further Information

This independent review of AppClarity and Shopping from 1E is part of our 2012 SAM Tools Review. See all participants and terms of the review here.

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

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