Self service, a must-have in End User Computing

Last week I wrote a new post on my company’s blog about End-User Computing and all of the recent acquisitions that VMware did. As you may have read, all of these acquisitions had a purpose.
The purpose is called Project Enzo, or what it’s future name might be..

I also mentioned that the one missing piece in the End-User Computing puzzle is Self Service.
So why is that, you would think?

Until a few years ago, there was a big difference in IT-related knowledge between IT staff and their co-workers. That difference is one of the reasons why most companies haven’t adopted Bring Your Own Device and Self Service yet.
Imagine having to explain to your grandparents how an iPad works. Could be challenging, I know..

The workforce of the future, is completely different.
Like I explained in last week’s post, children are adopting technology at a young age.
Initiatives like Tynker let children learn how to code at middle school age.

The near future isn’t that different though. People like my dad (who is 58) are really used to using Apps. And if you could enable BYOD by delivering IT through an app store, employees would use it intuitively.

So why add Self Service? Well, it’s quite easy.
Besides being skilled enough to run the business apps from an app store, people are getting used to working with Self Service portals too.
Think about portals like the ones from your bank, your utilities company or your internet provider. Those portals make it possible to change services or add new ones. Or simple stuff like change a password or add an email alias to your account.
On the one hand, the customer of these companies is very happy because he doesn’t need to call or even go to the bank for services. On the other hand, services can be automated at the company side. And we know it’s all about automation these days.

What’s important when adding Self Service to a company, is that it needs to be:
– user friendly
– intuitive like an app store
– able to interact with existing software and services
– easy adaptable to changes in the business
– workflow based

And this is where I’d like to tell you about Provisior.

Provisior is a Self Service portal and one of the first IT stores around. It has a variety of customers in financial, health care and industrial sectors. The biggest scaling over 20.000 end users.
Provisior combines a smooth looking user interface with workflow based self service and automation of repetitive tasks.

Provisior's main UI in the latest version (F release)
Provisior’s main UI in the latest version (F release)

As shown in the above  screenshot, the user interface is simple. It can be branded into your company’s own theme.

Provisior's IT store with all items that can be requested by the end user.
Provisior’s IT store with all items that can be requested by the end user.

One of the best features in Provisior is the workflow based self service. Imagine a user having the need for a new piece of software. He needs to walk to the department manager to request it, the manager calls/emails with the IT department to arrange it and after a couple of days/weeks the deployment of software is executed.

With Provisior, an end user can request all sorts of items (like Microsoft Visio or services like a new desktop phone) from the IT store.

The end user's request needs to be approved before executed.
The end user’s request needs to be approved before executed.

When requesting a service, the end user answers a couple of questions (like “What is the reason for this request”) and a request for approval is sent to his manager. The manager receives an alert with a pending request. After the request is approved, Provisior communicates with solutions like SCCM to actually have the software deployed.

So automation is also one of the key features of Provisior. The previous example is just the tip of the iceberg.

Wondering what will happen if a new user is added to the HRM system? No worries, Provisior makes sure the account is added to the Active Directory and provisions all necessary services like file shares, AD groups and permissions, mailboxes, etc. How cool is that?

As a sysadmin, that would definitely make my life easier. That will make sure I am able to focus on stuff I would like to do instead of what I have to do.

Another cool feature is the insight in usage of both software as well as services like a printer. Ever got a request by a manager how much a user prints in color? I did. Still have the headache..

Get insights in printer usage.
Get insights in printer usage.

Again, imagine getting all usage data by a simple click. They can be specified on end user level.

I hope I gave you an idea of what self service could do for your company.

When going back to the subject of VMware’s End User Computing proposition, the only product that has a bit of self service is vRealize Automation (former vCloud Automation Center), but it isn’t sufficient. A tool like Provisior would be a great addition to the best End User Computing proposition available. I’m wondering if VMware is already cooking something or will acquire a product like Provisior in the near future.

Johan van Amersfoort