Spiceworks Releases Enterprise Management Software, for Free of Course
NEWS ANALYSIS: Expanding on its unusual business model of giving away IT software tools and making money on system integration, Spiceworks has introduced a free network monitoring application.AUSTIN, Texas—Spiceworks has added a significant new enterprise management application to its program of providing IT tools for free. Following an announcement at the SpiceWorld show here, Spiceworks CEO Scott Abel told eWEEK that the Windows Network Monitor application is available for download for free from the Spiceworks App Center to anyone who wants it. Spiceworks has made a practice of developing high-quality applications that it then gives away. According to Abel, the company uses what he calls the "iTunes model" in which applications are available for downloading on demand from an app center maintained by the company. Right now, the network monitor application is in beta form, but even when it's in a form that's being released to the public, it will still be free. "We monetize the integration [of other companies' products or services] but not [Spiceworks'] product," Abel said. He explained it by describing the Spiceworks community, in which IT staffs from around the world gather to provide mutual support, encouragement and general discussion. Spiceworks also encourages outside vendors to take part in the community and offers those vendors the opportunity to integrate their products to Spiceworks customers, he said. When those vendors sell their products or integration services to Spiceworks customers, Spiceworks essentially gets paid a commission.
The Spiceworks Community is critical to the company's success, Abel told eWEEK. Ideas for new applications come from the community of Spiceworks users, the necessary features are determined with community input, and major choices are voted up or down by members of the community in a process that resembles voting for articles on the Website Reddit.com. The finished software is then provided to the community for testing and comment before the application is officially released.