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I am working on the admin panel for a SaaS product. One need that has been conveyed by our users is the ability for groups within our product to reserve licenses that they have purchased with their budget. For instance, if the Engineering team has paid for 100 licenses, they don't want Marketing to use them up. It seems like without this functionality, companies need to perform some kind of audit at the end of the year to determine which departments used which licenses for each of the SaaS products their company uses, which is tedious. I don't necessarily want to reinvent the wheel with this one, but I'm having a hard time finding any examples of other companies that does this, which is surprising to me.

Within our product we have groups to facilitate the sharing of resources, but the problem with that is you could be part of multiple groups so we can't determine which group to subtract your license from (and we don't want to double bill!). One way I am thinking about it is through having everyone be part of one primary group. When you import users via SCIM or a CSV file we could automate the assigning of primary group by mapping to some attribute (e.g. department) in SCIM or just requesting a column in their CSV file to be called "Primary Group".

Does anyone know of any examples out there or any suggestions for how to tackle this?

  • Maybe you will not find an example in this specific market (what is an opportunity) but you can have a look at how big companies manage groups and permissions. On Stackoverflow I can be part of Magento group or UX group. On Slack, you can manage teams. On Asana you also can manage teams with different permission. After finding this you can make a wireframe and bring to us help you discuss the best way to show what your customer needs. – Rafael Perozin Jan 29 at 0:30
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I suggest an approval process whereby the team lead/manager must take on responsibility for consuming a license and choosing exactly which group within their own organisation a license is bound to.

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I would think having one primary group would make the issue of sharing licenses harder to manage. Instead, I would suggest taking a more proactive approach. In order to get a key, the system administrator (or whoever is responsible for installing the software) would need to generate one from somewhere inside the software. To have a key generated, they would be required to enter the user's information and pick the group from which they belong. Each group would be allocated a specific number of licenses. Doing it this way avoids the issue of groups using each other's licenses.

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  • Thanks for taking the time to respond! One thing I didn't mention explicitly is that this is for IT admins over Enterprise companies. Some of these companies have 1000s of employees spread out all around the world. Additionally, they use dozens of software products so IT admins have a strong need to automate this process so they don't need to decide for each user and then do it again for a different product. – UXguest Jan 29 at 22:35
  • That changes things a bit for sure. Thinking totally out of the box, what if the IT Admin installs the software as they normally do, but in order for the software to be fully functional, there's a final step that is the user's responsibility. When the user logs into the software for the first time, they would be prompted to enter their department's code/a special key/pass code and it would deduct one seat from that group's available licenses. This would mean that the IT admin could do a one-size-fits-all install for everyone and takes the burdeon of determing user types off of them. – Koumtti Jan 30 at 23:53

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