There are various ways to implement a software monetization solution for licensing and entitlement management. A majority of the time the decision is between purchasing a commercially available solution or building one in house. When making this decision it is important to understand the unique benefits and challenges associated with each approach.
License delivery can either be on-premise or through the cloud with each having its own set of complexities. There are obviously pros and cons to each type of solution. R&D is likely to recommend that they build it themselves, but is that really the right direction to head in? Recently I heard a Product Manager refer to their homegrown solution as their “science experiment”. Most of the time, R&D likes to build solutions. They like to select the latest, greatest and coolest technology available to build upon and in this way they get to “play” while creating their very own customized solution against a set of business requirements. While this sounds great, it can be short sighted and may not deliver the best results.
During the development of the homegrown licensing solution, newer, faster and better technology is released on a regular basis. Better Shareware, Freeware and Open Source become available and naturally RD feels it’s necessary to add more “functionality” to the initial design criteria.
However, what seems simple and straight forward during the white boarding sessions can turn into a monster!
As time passes and the business evolves, the original solution design struggles to scale and is unable to provide the flexibility to adapt to the many new business requirements. When the homegrown licensing solution is finally released to Product Management it fails to provide much needed scalability and flexibility because since the original start of the project, the market has continued to grow and change. This version of the new homegrown licensing solution already struggles to meet even the minimum initial requirements, but there will always be some newer and cooler technology that R&D can implement to solve the latest challenge. So what happens? You guessed it, the cycle starts all over again.
Let’s just talk about customer experience for a moment.
Today, companies are increasingly expected to provide an enjoyable and consistent user-experience to their customers across all business lines, regardless of device, language and level of technical sophistication.
Forrester recently claimed that “The Race from Good to Great Customer Experience hits the Gas Pedal in 2015”
As technology evolves new requirements and organizational changes force licensing and entitlement systems to transform. During the course of transformation, it is likely your original design will be altered and forced into something that doesn’t ideally fit all of your needs or your users’ expectations. In these cases, providing an enjoyable user experience tends to be an afterthought because the existing licensing solution (built in-house) was not build on a flexible foundation, or with the flexibility required, to support today’s standards for a consistent and enjoyable customer experience.
There are other things to consider too:
- How will your current solution scale in today’s on-demand, post-sale, attention economy?
- Does it offer a mechanism to deliver licensing on a subscription or pay-per-use basis?
- Will it ensure the security of your product and your Intellectual Property?
- Can it track software license compliance, audits and notify you of entitlement misuse?
- How will it automate business functions?
- Is there integration of the “quote to cash” process?
Countless amounts of money, hours, and resources are spent on developing and administrating licenses, and even more is spent mitigating risks and making sure licenses are compliant. Why not spend that time, resources and money to deliver what you do best to your customers- the right products at the right time!