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.
I recently participated in the Connected Cloud Summit event in Boston that focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). There was much discussion centered on the industry disruption that is happening across diverse markets such as medical devices and healthcare, communications, industrial automation, automotive, security, and more. It was remarkable to see the pace of innovation that is happening across those industries that is being driven the IoT.
Listening to the presenters at last month’s LicensingLive! conference, I couldn’t help but think of the commonly used expression “the only constant in the industry is change.” The software market has been undergoing fundamental change for a number of years now with the rise of virtualization, cloud computing, SaaS, and mobile. What stuck out at the conference is how these changes are affecting the way software companies of all types are approaching how they do business.
The rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) over the past several years has led to an increase in the popularity of subscription software licenses. Subscription licensing pre-dates SaaS, but the cloud delivered nature of SaaS has naturally led to this increase in subscriptions.
At SafeNet we’ve seen this evolve in the past year where both enterprise buyers and software publishers are increasingly moving beyond subscription to a pay-per-use model for licensing software. We’ve seen this increasing demand for pay-per-use from our ISV customers who are delivering their software in the cloud, and from those that are providing on-premise software but who want to charge based on usage.
A few weeks ago I tried to download a trial version of a software package from a pretty well known ISV’s website. It wasn’t a huge file and should have been a relatively quick download. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. After numerous attempts and spending a frustrating hour trying to download the trial, I decided to forgo the whole thing.
I’m not the first or the last person that has had this type of experience. Yet, it continues to surprise me at how little thought it seems some ISV’s put into their Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) solution. The software download process is part of the customer experience and should be treated as such by the ISV. A good experience could be the first step in a long lasting customer relationship; a bad experience may turn away the customer completely.