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Software Tapas – Licensing To Fit Your Appetite

By Stephen White | August 15, 2022 | 0 Comments

licensingIT Cost OptimizationDriving Cost Optimization Across the EnterprisecloudIT Cost Optimization, Finance, Risk and Value

Last month we published Maverick* Research: It’s Time to Fire Software Vendors With Complex Licensing! which confronted the notion that CIOs are particularly tolerant of software vendors licensing, commercials and contracts. Whilst complexity in software licensing and contracts isn’t a new concept, their constraints are being felt all the more now that organizations pursue agility and flexibility, with complexity a costly impediment. 

When cloud computing was emerging expectations for flexibility. Elasticity by definition provided for a flexible future, with consumption economics and aligned commercial offers enabling Opex alignment, a dramatic cut in the cost of shelfware and enhanced value.

Ten years on, however, a tension between customers begrudgingly paying for shelfware and vendors pursuing all the benefits of legacy models for revenue predictability leaves most enterprises rich in the redundant asset that is shelfware. This is not necessarily a surprise. Gartner coined the phrase ‘Shelfware as a Service’ way back in 2008

Readers of Gartner research will be familiar with Composability, Composable business and Composable applications. Modularity, scaling up and down, integrating, taking apart, switching on and off, repeatedly, in order to address constantly varying dynamics of business are key characteristics. Case studies demonstrating application thereof are emerging month on month:

Case Study: Composable Platform Strategy to Drive Business Agility (Nike)

Case Study: Hyperautomation and Composability for Higher Education Innovation Solutions 

Case Study: A Business “Middle Platform” Helps Achieve Composability and Digital Success

Capacity to broadly adopt a composable approach leveraging COTS software could be considered as dependent on software vendors willingness to adapt, or as we suggest in our research, extent of CIOs demands that software vendors adapt.

Arguably, CIOs can leverage modern software market dynamics as an ally. Whereby, the SaaS revolution has led to a far broader set of applications, many from emerging vendors free from legacy approaches. The array of options from these vendors may be considered the Tapas menu, an alternative to ‘big plate’ suites, providing enhanced capacity to contract for requirements in a more precise fashion. 

To what degree will the future menu of applications be comprised of ‘Tapas’? Perhaps its inevitable ‘Big Plates’ will evolve and persist, sustaining their prime billing on software menu.


The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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