By Carl Siva
When we go to the movie theater, we essentially pay for access to a cozy seat. It’s the same every time we purchase a plane ticket. We’re receiving a (not-so-cozy) seat for our trip.
Businesses spend considerable time and effort monitoring “capacity management.” The reality is it’s not easy. In the case of the airlines, we’ve all had the experience of potentially getting bumped because a flight was oversold. Conversely, we’ve had that joyful feeling when a flight is undersold, and the middle seat in our row goes unoccupied.
Managing a fixed number (seats) when you’re unsure about demand (people sitting in them) is a constant struggle for any company. It’s rarely a perfect one-to-one equation.
And that brings us to software licenses.
Our daily work lives depend on them. They allow us to log into all the many systems required to do our jobs, whether it’s access to work computers, email, or any other digital business tool. It’s probably not something most people think about, either.
But trust me, IT teams – and, by extension, finance teams – care a lot about licenses. That’s because there’s a cost associated with each license. That expense can add up fast when not managed wisely. An untamed license explosion can even blow up the budget. It also carries the potential of creating additional security risks.
People in IT roles like mine are trying to contain “application sprawl” as companies add more and more technology tools to their infrastructure to operate their businesses.
At Boomi, I ensure we have enough licenses for our people to be productive, but not so many that we’re wasting unused seats. Striking that balance is incredibly challenging when you’re a high-growth SaaS company and your headcount is a moving target. You can’t just snap your fingers to add or subtract seats because it often involves a protracted process through procurement.
My colleague Tarakam Peddada has written about how we use our integration and automation platform internally. We call it Boomi on Boomi. One of my favorite use cases is how the platform saves time and money by optimizing licenses.
Boomi technology allows us to stretch fewer licenses over our entire employee population based on usage, in a couple of different ways.
Boomi connects all systems within our digital architecture. One huge benefit is that it gives us 360-degree visibility into our systems.
For instance, when Dell Technologies sold Boomi to a pair of private equity firms in 2021, we needed to implement an entirely new tech backbone for our independent company. Boomi was fantastic in helping us identify all the different technologies we were using.
It turned out that many teams had similar tools for things like project management. Boomi helped us identify what applications might be duplicative and allowed us to make decisions about eliminating some of them to streamline our new infrastructure and save on big-ticket costs.
At a more granular level, Boomi enables us to monitor whether the licenses people do have are getting used.
Asana is a valuable project management tool for our marketing team. We’ve begun seeing other employees in the company want access when collaborating on marketing efforts. While we have an Asana administrator, that person has a job with a lot of responsibility. That admin shouldn’t have to keep up with changing roles at the company and deciding who does and doesn’t need access.
What Boomi does is monitor usage through workflow automation. It checks systems more often than a human can and identifies inactive licenses. It essentially says, “Hey, I see a license assigned to this person, and there’s been no activity for a lengthy period of time.” Then, we can unassign that license to make room for someone else who does need it. If the inactive user still requires Asana access, we can always turn it back on for them.
The key here is that license assignment is dynamic – not static. We’re always getting value for our investments.
Collaboration Through Integration
New hires typically received access to most major systems when we were part of Dell. The result was people might have licenses to systems they didn’t use as part of their regular jobs. In other words, those licenses collected dust. During the divestiture, we became much more selective about who had access to what systems.
For example, sales and support teams depend on Salesforce, but engineers prefer to work in Jira. So, why make our support team use Jira to request help from engineers or ask those technical experts to go into Salesforce to scope out the issue? We faced two choices.
- Give licenses to both systems to everyone in multiple teams
- Use Boomi
Our Salesforce-Jira integration now allows employees to create a support ticket in Jira directly from Salesforce. Engineers no longer need access to Salesforce. Everyone can work in the systems where they feel comfortable, improving accuracy and productivity. The best part is we also save money by vastly reducing the licenses people need for both systems.
The result is that people have what they need to do their jobs effectively, and we’re also good corporate citizens who get the most from allocated budgets. Our seat usage is no longer a matter of educated guesses, and the cost savings are significant.
Here’s just one small example. We save $3,000 monthly after implementing automation to pull licenses from inactive users. It’s not a ton of money, but it saves the company $36,000 a year. And it probably took us a few hours to create the automation. Those smaller savings add up to something huge.
That’s the win-win that happens with Boomi.
Download our guide, “The Four Pillars of Excellence for Technology Leaders,” to learn more about the challenges facing every technology leader and how Boomi can help you overcome them.