Aesop’s fable The Grasshopper and the Ant teaches us to “beware of winter before it comes”, meaning that we should anticipate probable outcomes and plan accordingly. Unfortunately for the titular grasshopper, he lacked such foresight and was doomed to spend the harsh winter months without any food. Planning ahead in business might sound glaringly obvious, but all too often, organizations get so caught up in the development of their products, that licensing becomes something of an afterthought to their product development cycle. It’s usually only when a problem occurs that due consideration is given, and even then, it tends to be a cut-and-paste job. This is a rookie mistake, as licensing, when implemented as a software monetization program, can bring tremendous value to an organization.
Oftentimes, product managers recognize the need for a comprehensive software monetization solution and take it upon themselves to drive the program within their organizations. However, as licensing cuts across a number of departments, the product manager needs executive support to truly succeed. Thus, executive buy-in is critical to the success of any software monetization initiative.
This raises the inevitable question: Why would an executive support and prioritize such an initiative? One reason might be that the customer experience is not running as smoothly as it could or, indeed, should be – for instance, if the customer is complaining about implementation, activation, or any other stage of the licensing lifecycle. Another reason might be that an organization is spending too much time dealing with licensing issues, placing an unreasonable load on the support team. Even if an organization isn’t currently dealing with the aforementioned pain points, an executive might want to jump in early to preempt them.
So how does one go about pitching software monetization to a C-Level executive to get their buy-in? You could use the typical ‘build versus buy’ rationale to explain how a new licensing strategy would be an improvement over the existing homegrown system. Perhaps the organization is leaving a ton of money on the table because its current business model isn’t flexible enough or it’s not enforcing licenses. The pitch shouldn’t be about competitive replacement, but rather maintaining your competitive edge; whether that involves improving the customer experience and reducing support calls, or streamlining your back office. Whatever business challenges your organization is facing, there’s a good chance that they can be resolved – and even turned into opportunities – using licensing technology.
You will need to convince your executive that software monetization represents excellent business value. The fact that it enables you to retain and attract new customers, and reach valuable new market segments, while simultaneously safeguarding existing revenue, is a pretty solid argument. But we can take it a step further and say that truly agile software monetization minimizes the risk of obsolescence, helping to future-proof your business.
Be prepared for some pushback, though, as the benefits of a software monetization program may not be immediately obvious to every executive. Start out by focusing on the short-term business benefits. You might argue that if you wanted to release a new product on a subscription basis, without proper licensing, you wouldn’t have the means of tracking or enforcing it, which would be a wasted revenue opportunity.
In fact, there are numerous reasons to entrust your licensing requirements to a licensing specialist such as Gemalto. Firstly, years of industry experience and ongoing support ensure a smooth, hassle-free back-office integration with minimal impact on your IT department. Secondly, you get to choose from a wide range of licensing and software monetization solutions that best suit your business needs. Thirdly, you are spared the costs associated with a homegrown solution – from initial implementation through ongoing maintenance management – allowing you to focus on your core competencies.
The key thing to remember here is that software monetization isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition: you can start monetizing one product and, over time, expand it across your entire portfolio. As long as you plan broadly, mitigate risk, and measure success, you won’t share the fate of the proverbial grasshopper.