The sun rises in the east, water is wet and enterprises argue with their software suppliers over who owes what to whom. While the first two inevitabilities are better known than the third, most people familiar with the process of software licensing can attest to it. Unlike the purchase of office paper (for example) when a company and its supplier can count the boxes delivered, understanding software licensing is difficult, largely due to a lack of transparency and visibility into the process.
Fines for non-compliance with software licensing rules can be steep, so it’s in organizations’ best interest to invest in solutions that will allow them to stay in compliance as well as keep their software assets secure and up-to-date. A good software licensing solution can also help a company ensure it’s not paying more than what it needs to for software resources.
But as there are two sides to every issue, it’s also important to remember that software solutions providers will find it in their best interest to make every effort to optimize the supply chain to improve their relationships with buyers and clear the path to more revenue.
In a recent blog post, Flexera Software’s Nicole Segerer provides some tips for software companies create a more efficient and seamless software supply chain. First, she recommends, consolidate your different lines of software that are managed and developed in silos. The practice, once standard in the software industry, wastes time and effort.
“This [practice] duplicates efforts in development, operations and customer support, makes the software business more vulnerable to security issues and leaves customers with a disjointed experience, especially when they are using more than one product,” wrote Segerer. “As a software producer, you might find it hard to manage all customers and their entitlements across product lines, to control and report on compliance and to manage upgrade and renewal processes. This gets even harder as your software business grows -- organically or through acquisitions -- and new products are added.”
The creation of a central entitlement management system is a great way to organize, manage and monetize software better. A comprehensive software entitlement management system enables application producers to accomplish a variety of goals: enhance customer satisfaction, provide deeper customer insight and more efficiently manage the entire license lifecycle of software, entitlements and devices. It also allows software producers to cut cost by automating software, entitlement and license lifecycle processes, including software delivery and license activation through a self-service portal. It can also help companies increase their upgrade revenue by proactively tracking and reporting on software entitlements, subscriptions, version levels, expiring software licenses, and support contracts (this is the “monetization” part). Essentially, according to Segerer, it takes the headache out of the process and speeds up the path to revenue.
“New software products – on-premises or in the cloud – can be included easily which shortens the time to market,” she wrote. “And most importantly you provide a more consistent customer experience by providing enterprise customers with a central customer portal for all the products they are using.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle