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.
The IT industry is in the midst of a massive shift toward what IDC calls the 3rd Platform. The 3rd Platform is characterized by a proliferation of always-connected smart mobile devices coupled with the widespread usage of social networking, and layered over a cloud-based server infrastructure supporting important new workloads such as big data analytics.
The 3rd Platform is not just a technology revolution; it’s also a customer revolution. Unlike the previous generation of software, 3rd Platform applications will be designed for the consumer and enhanced for the enterprise. Consumer-like expectations for ease of acquisition and access as well as simplicity and transparency will dictate pricing models and payment terms. In addition, expectations for ease of use and interoperability will also be gleaned from consumer experiences.
I can tell you with first-hand experience that being a product manager is a tricky and thankless role! On paper, your task is to understand customer needs and translate them into product requirements. You must then work closely with your R&D team to realize those requirements into a product that hits the market at the right time and at the right price.
Sounds simple, right? The reality is that its way more complex than that, with a myriad of decisions and trade-offs to make along the way. Product managers have to react to the realities of what is possible in the time and budget available, and constantly adapt to changing market conditions and competitive moves.
Recently, Adobe announced that it is moving the Creative Suite (which includes Photoshop and other graphic design applications) to Cloud-based licensing. The company will no longer distribute boxed versions with perpetual licenses. This move demonstrates a growing transition to Cloud-based subscription licensing, which SafeNet pioneered in 2010 with the introduction of the first Cloud-based software licensing service – Sentinel Cloud.
Adobe is positioning this announcement as very beneficial to its users, providing the customer with immediate access to the latest features and upgrades, enhanced collaboration, cloud based storage, and more.
In a recent study by the Business Software Alliance, the UK is the latest to throw a spotlight on the problem of software piracy. According to the study, 52% of small businesses in the UK have either bought or downloaded illegal software. In fact, the BSA now estimates that over half of all software in use by small and medium businesses in the UK is illegal.
That’s a shocking statistic – one driven according to the BSA by a combination of the current economic climate and a degree of ignorance towards how counterfeit goods propagate in the market. And we know from other studies, most notably the BSA’s 2011 Piracy report, that the situation in many other countries is significantly worse.
As pirates continue to attack, we are forced to spend cycle times of effort patching and plugging our code to defend against those that might steal it. With every cycle that passes, software pirates become more sophisticated, their vectors of attack harder to spot and defend against, with the skills required to do so ever more specialized and scarce. Are you prepared, or are you fixing your software piracy problems with duct tape?
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.
What makes the most successful Internet companies so successful? They understand that the Internet is much more than a delivery channel – it is a customer feedback channel. So they get smarter every day, and improve constantly. Software companies have yet to capture this opportunity – today the Internet is reduced to the conduit for ESD (Electronic Software Distribution), or the live application (Cloud).
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.
The build versus buy licensing dilemma is the oldest debate in the industry. After all, managing the licensing of your software is an important aspect of any commercial application, but it is not the core product you are selling.
The build vs. buy debate centers around the balance between providing the features and functionality your customers want in your software, with your need to protect access to your software through licensing systems. Developers approach this strategically and smartly, and prefer to not reinvent the wheel, utilizing libraries, previously written code, and third party services to provide the license scaffolding around the software solution.