Back-office software technologies are an integral part of the back-bone that supports business. However, when the “enterprise” using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software happens to be a software company, back-office systems fall short of providing critical flexible support. Manual workarounds for processes such as recognizing subscription license revenue, reconciling entitlements, and dealing with a contract paper trail have been nearly good enough in the past, but fixing operations is a key requirement for many software companies.
The international Embedded World conference, which took place at the end of February 2013 in Germany, provided a strong indication that the traditional embedded market is changing. One theme run like a red thread through the show activities of many exhibitors: software monetization.
What is the reason behind this new focus? Vendors no longer concentrate on hardware development only; instead, the application feature side comes to the fore. With devices becoming more intelligent and connected through the Internet, the software required to enable a single device as well as a combination of devices is becoming quite complex.. For example in the automation space “intelligence” is becoming even more important, as it is “connectivity”. Both requirements are currently driving the demand of embedded software. Considering the fact that there are many more devices out there than people, the market potential is huge.
In the last 10 years we have witnessed a shift from hardware-driven (60-70%) sales cycle where software was provided for free, to manufacturers seeking to leverage the software assets embedded within their devices in various ways, including monetization as well as using software to protect and control the feature set delivered to their customers.
The software protection business has matured at a slow pace over the past decade. The industry has gotten better at developing improved customer experiences through more sophisticated web portals and web services, but ultimately the model’s foundation relies on license file transfer between the vendor and the end customer.
The improvements in the area of cleaner customer experiences through web services has allowed some vendors to minimize a fair amount of the friction this style of license enforcement has introduced into the traditional delivery and deployment model.
One of the most apparent advantages of hardware keys for software licensing over traditional software-based solutions is the ease of transferring a key, with its contained licenses, from one computer to another.
To prevent the use of illegal software copies, licensing systems typically use a mechanism called a ”fingerprint”, which holds unique hardware identifiers of the end-user’s computer hardware. The fingerprint is used to ensure that licenses bound to one computer cannot enable the software on another, or worse – on multiple computers.
Guest blog post by Amy Konary, Vice President, IDC
For decades, success in the software business required executing on the following:
1. Make a Killer Product
2. Drive down Marginal Costs
3. Sell as many Units as Possible
4. Repeat Steps 1-3
Traditional software monetization models have been built to support this approach. However, today’s software customers are focused on using what they have, rather than buying more.
Over the last several weeks, I have been doing a fair bit of traveling. I found myself in the unfortunate situation of not having the use of my laptop for a few days while traveling internationally. Fortunately, I was traveling with a few key gadgets: my iPad, a cool iPad keyboard from Zagg, and my cell phone. I had almost everything I needed to get my job done and was able to get by well enough for the remainder of my trip. Although I am an avid iPad user both for business and personal use, this experience reaffirmed just how close we are in many ways to really being able to decouple ourselves from the traditional PC for many of the office- based work functions that most of us manage on a daily basis.
It’s easy to confuse authentication with authorization. The two are frequently used interchangably in conversation and are often tightly associated as key pieces of web service infrastructure. But the two are really two different concepts which often are completely divorced from each other. Authentication is the process where by an individual’s identity is confirmed. Whereas authorization is the association of that identity with rights and permissions.
LicensingLive, the software industry’s premier licensing and software monetization event, was held last week in Cupertino. Now in its 5th year, this two-day licensing event was bigger and better than ever before, featuring prominent speakers from various industries all coming together to share their experience and expertise about software monetization with LicensingLive’s nearly 100 attendees.
Here is a little secret – I love shopping. Yes, I admit it. I like shopping for clothes, shoes, wines – you name it. But I hate malls, stores, and I especially hate being followed around by a pushy sales rep!! When it comes to shopping, I have my own routine and associated expectations. I research my options, look at competitive alternatives (brands), seek a good deal without having to bargain, try to have it shipped to me (if possible), and should I need to return it, I want to be able to ship it back and get a replacement. My favorite online retailer meets all of my expectations, whether I am buying clothes or shoes for myself, and yes, jewelry for my lovely wife when I have messed up. This raises the question, why shouldn’t I enjoy the same experience when it comes to licensing software?