Entitlement Management without Enforcement – What’s the Point?
Let’s face it – not everything can be enforced. Nor should it be. Even if we limit the discussion to software, there are scenarios where license enforcement just gets in the way of business.
Thought you would never hear that from what you thought was a licensing enforcement vendor? Well, guess what? We are all about monetization, which often times requires enforcement but also requires the ability to entitle a customer and manage their entitlements, track their usage, etc.
Let’s say you have high-end customers that buy in volume and uses your software as a standard. They want to be compliant, but the overhead of activating and distributing keys is a costly burden. They are willing to commit to a volume of licenses that will more than cover the number of licensees they are likely to consume just to avoid the complications of licensing. So, you make the business decision to offer an unenforced version of your product. Does this mean you don’t still want visibility into the business, or a record of what your customer is “entitled” to? If auditing is a part of your agreement, you still need records that define how many licenses your customers agreed to and are committed for . Wouldn’t you want those licenses to be included when reporting on the number of licenses sold or deployed?
There’s also the issue of entitlements for maintenance or support. When you sell your product with maintenance, your customer is “entitled” to receive upgrades and “entitled” to support. But that doesn’t mean that access to support and upgrades are necessarily controlled through product enforcement. More typically, you have an incident tracking system that needs to check eligibility for support.. check the “entitlement”. So, maintaining details about the entitlement to support is crucial. Similarly, in order to know who should and should not receive an upgrade is based on entitlements. When there’s a new release, it’s the maintenance entitlement that allows you to identify who is “entitled” to receive the upgrade.
All of these are use cases for managing entitlements that do not employ product enforcement. What other kinds of entitlements might not be enforced with a locking technology?
- Access to content
- Service contracts
- Training classes
- Support calls
It would be good hear from all of you software publishers on how important these various use cases for managing entitlements are to your monetization strategies! Please drop me a line with what challenges you have in this area or alternatively how you have solved these problems already.