SafeNet (News - Alert), a data protection company that specializes in software monetization and SaaS licensing, has released a white paper discussing the importance of customer usage data in relation to software in the cloud. The paper compares the traditional role of customer insight in the software industry to how that role has evolved dramatically over time, especially as more and more software applications move to the cloud.
In the case of on-premise offerings, the processes are strictly linear. For example, the risk management process starts with the creation of a business plan, and then moves on to risk assessment, investment and tracking. The same linear model holds true for the development process, which moves along from planning to development to testing and finally release. Even the support process is a one-way chain of events, from implementation to fixes, support packs and upgrades. Nowhere in these processes is there room for customer data or feedback or alteration of the course.
When dealing with SaaS (News - Alert) offerings, though, the process is cyclical and continuous by nature. Revenues are streaming and investments are made on a continual basis, as the cycle shifts from innovation to development to licensing, deployment and support, with the feedback from the final step informing new modes of innovation, restarting the process all over again in a new and better iteration.
Customer insight, of course, plays a key role here. It can help independent software vendors build better offerings and develop new ways to do business, which in turn will lead to improved customer satisfaction and improved sales relations.
Recently, I spoke to Michelle Nerlinger of SafeNet and she explained how a good entitlement management system can enable independent software vendors to track usage and use that data to enhance its offerings. “Once implemented, you can use your entitlement management system to track what’s being used, by whom and how often.” With the entitlement management system, Nerlinger says, companies can track several important metrics to inform their decision making: compliance reporting, in which user data can provide transparency between the end user and the software publisher; end user insight, which allows software publishers to collect specific information about end users that can tell publishers exactly who is using their products and which features they can focus on in the future; and finally, using the above data, ISVs can optimize software packaging, eliminating bloatware and optimizing popular features.
But the most important element of this process is the collection of the user data. In order to do so, ISVs need a strong entitlement management system. Companies searching for such a solution should look no further than SafeNet, which provides award-winning services through its Sentinel line of products, including Sentinel Cloud, the first and only software licensing and entitlement management solution delivered in the cloud, for the cloud. With Sentinel Cloud, ISVs can get all the user data they need to make informed decisions to continue and strengthen this circular process.
Edited by Stefanie Mosca