I recently found a blog post on software licensing and virtual environments that reinforce our position on software licensing and virtualization. It reflects on the challenges in software licensing in virtual environments, and how IT and innovation are being hampered by monolithic licensing practice in this space.
Here’s my reply to the original post:
“We sure are glad to know this problem is getting more understanding in the IT community! For exactly the reasons you describe in your article we have adjusted our solutions and strategy to match, and we are the first and only technology solution in this space.”
Virtually every company is operating a hybrid cloud strategy today. In fact, they have been for some time so it’s not really anything new. At SafeNet, a hybrid cloud means that you have some technology and infrastructure that you operate and manage in house, and some that you rely on 3rd parties to operate and manage for you. Payroll functions have, for many companies, been handled and processed by 3rd parties but other HR functions have been kept in internal IT systems.
HR 3261, or the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is currently being considered in the US congress. Like most legislation that deals with the Internet, it comes with a certain amount of controversy.
At its heart, the bill is designed to help prevent the illegal distribution of intellectual property – music, movies, software, books, periodicals and so on. Even today the notion of copying media is still somehow not perceived as stealing by many people. While walking in to a bookstore or music store and taking something without paying for it is clearly understood to be stealing, many people don’t consider the download of the same material to be illegal. It is. Regardless of the legality – when people stop to think about it – they realize that it is morally wrong.
I have always talked about how important it is for software vendors to include technology with their solutions to help manage their licensing policies. This can be anything from outright enforcement and anti-piracy measures to tools to measure and monitor compliance with license agreements. The great thing about putting this kind of technology in to a software solution is that it eliminates doubt, misunderstanding and audit.
Today, there is a wide array of technical solutions that allow software vendors to implement a licensing solution that removes ambiguity and allows flexibility, seemingly solving the primary issues for both the vendor and the customer in a licensing relationship. Companies like mine provide solutions that do that in pretty much every software delivery mode – i.e. online, packaged and embedded. The internet provides additional opportunities to ISVs and their customers, not only for the delivery of the license, but also now for maintaining, measuring, updating, and publishing compliance to both parties. This allows for an entirely open relationship and one that can virtually eliminate the issues faced between vendors and their customers.
Ever since software systems have been around, people have been working to connect them together to get added benefit. Sometimes that leads to large integrated all-in-one systems, sometimes it leads to efforts to standardise API’s and communications protocols and it almost always leads to lots of professional services.
In the cloud though, that’s changing. One of the most innovative companies I have seen is Boomi (now Dell Boomi). Their website does a better job of explaining their value proposition, but essentially it translates communications between systems – kind of like the Babel Fish (from HHGTTG), but for software.
Great companies consider and plan for the whole user experience – the product, its price, how its purchased, updates through its life and the service and support provided.
In the days when products were purchased up front – and the monetary relationship came to a close – all the burden was on the buyer to research, plan and hope that, after parting with their money (monetization ends), the product will have met and continued to meet or exceed their expectations. Because the customer experience often falls below this mark – and yes, sometimes with enterprise software – the dynamics of the buyer/vendor relationship are changing.
In March we officially released Sentinel Cloud Services, the industry’s first and only software licensing and entitlement management solution delivered “from the cloud for the cloud”. In prior issues I have discussed some of the growing trends toward SaaS-based applications and the shift away from on-premise software from both an internal perspective and end user experience. At this moment, I want to assume that a large percentage of our customers have already embraced the benefits of SaaS and are beginning to think about transitioning some of their offerings to the cloud.
Monetization of Software continues to innovate in the buyer-seller dynamic creating more competitive options for vendors. Nowhere is this dynamic more active than in the cloud. SaaS vendors, true to the nature of their offerings and the culture of their organizations and missions, are offering more ways to consume their services and are updating and tweaking these at a hectic pace.
We believe that in the end, software consumption will be more a function of the customer – but for now and for the vast majority of the software industry it is a function of the supplier side of the equation (ISV, channel partner, means of distribution, revenue recognition etc…).
I just completed the last two stops in a multi-city tour of full day educational sessions on best practices for rolling out Software as a Service (SaaS). During the past couple of weeks I have had the privilege to present to and learn from audiences in Boston, Santa Clara, Tel Aviv (a hotbed of startup activity), and London. I was also privileged to be able to call on the tremendous presentation skills and knowledge of some experienced people that live the business of cloud services day to day. For anyone interested, all the presentation material is available on slideshare.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank:
There were some key themes that emerged at these events…
Some recent articles I found online got me thinking about a post I made a little under a year ago – One Man’s License is another Man’s Poison. When I looked at it again – it took me a minute to figure out the chart.
Charts that take more than a few seconds to figure out are not very good charts.
So I decided to re-do it.