There are various ways to implement a software monetization solution for licensing and entitlement management. A majority of the time the decision is between purchasing a commercially available solution or building one in house. When making this decision it is important to understand the unique benefits and challenges associated with each approach.
Twenty years ago, the idea of intelligent machines that could communicate with one another wirelessly might’ve seemed like something out of a dystopian sci-fi novel. I suppose all disruptive technologies do before their time. But there’s nothing far-fetched about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its web of interconnected, software-driven devices. Chances are it’s already a part of your everyday life.
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz recently proclaimed that “Mobile is eating the world” – and it’s not hard to see why. Demand for mobile software is at an all-time high, with Android and iOS completely dominating the mobile OS market. In fact, Android’s sizeable market share accounts for more than 80% of smartphones and 60% of tablets worldwide.
Maximizing the potential of any software product is a function of two aspects; maximizing sales and minimizing the waste investment (optimizing cost). Software publishers of cloud delivered applications don’t have to deal with the challenges of physical delivery of the product, yet their ability to reach all the market segments could be limited. Software publishers can realize greater potential from their offerings by optimizing the mix of their packages, pricing and investment in the right features.
About two weeks ago, I participated in a workshop for “out-of-the-box” thinking. The exercise included painting a beach scene. While I stressed about getting paint on the canvas, everyone around me was expressing their inner Picasso. Following the exercise, I found myself in a discussion as to what I enjoy doing to relax. The answer came quickly. Puzzles! I find 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles relaxing. Why? And more to the point, what does any of this have to do with software monetization?
The IT industry is in the midst of a massive structural shift toward a next-generation compute platform called the 3rd Platform. Interestingly, the rise of the 3rd Platform is happening alongside a customer revolution. Consumer-like expectations for simplicity and transparency are dictating pricing models and terms. Both trends are having ripple effects across the industry. We’re now seeing new business models that align more closely with business outcomes and customer experiences becoming the preferred way of monetizing software.
I recently joined SafeNet to lead the Product Marketing for the Software Monetization business unit. Many years prior to joining the SM unit, at the beginning of my career in hi tech, I worked on a product called the iPhone – yes, the iPhone. It wasn’t the iPhone of today but it was branded the iPhone and it was just as cool as Apple’s iPhone. I guess you can even say it was a pre-cursor to the iPhone of today; the InfoGear iPhone was a regular desktop telephone jazzed up with a touch screen, keyboard and happened to connect to the internet with the touch of a button. Pretty novel in those days.
The embedded market is currently in a state of change. In the past, embedded system vendors sold systems based on a hardware sales approach with a simple one time sale for the product. IP protection was seldom required as the systems were hard to copy and hack. Today, the various functionalities in embedded systems are more and more realized in software. There are many reasons for this movement toward software driven features which result in reduced time to market, production outsourcing, dealing with the lack of engineering resources, handling connected devices, preparing for the Internet of Things ( IoT) to name just a few.
How long will it take to get up and running? Without a doubt, this is the question I get asked the most as a software licensing solution consultant. Instead of simply giving you the obvious answer nobody wants to hear (yes that answer is “well, it depends”) I will simply answer the question.
Are you one of those ISV’s who think that you only need protection against software piracy or reverse engineering with no need for any kind of licensing? You are not alone – this is the common belief of most Independent Software Vendors. ISV’s believe that since they are selling their products through perpetual pricing models, their software protection and licensing needs are very simple and software protection is all they need.