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.
The SentinelCloud team has been working hard to build and launch the latest addition to SafeNet’s family of Sentinel Software Monetization Solutions, Sentinel Cloud Services. While the service successfully made the transition from Beta to GA earlier this year, the team remains hard at work focused on customer evaluations and getting new customers up to speed, while at the same time planning and developing the roll out of new functionality over our quarterly release schedule.
Getting back to our interactions with customers … feedback has been nearly universally positive. We have heard from customers of all types and sizes. . Sentinel Cloud has appealed to SaaS startups, transitioning on-premise software vendors, and equipment manufacturers large and small. I would like to highlight one prospect who has completed their evaluation of Sentinel Cloud.
“It works, but it is old school”. That is how I’ve heard many business leaders describe their longstanding licensing implementations lately. So what is next for this space? As a long time software licensing business and implementation consultant I have the opportunity work with some of the industry’s leading minds in this area and can confidently say that I have seen the future of software license enforcement and it revolves around, you guessed it, the cloud.
Next Wednesday, Chris Holland, Vice President of Software Rights Management for SafeNet will present at the Software and Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) All About the Cloud Conference in San Francisco. Chris’s presentation, Understanding and Avoiding Four Common Pitfalls of Cloud Service Monetization, will take place on Wednesday, May 25 at 1:30PM PDT. SafeNet will also showcase Sentinel Cloud Services, the industry’s only software licensing and entitlement management solution delivered in the cloud for the cloud at booth #8.
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…
There has been a lot of dialog about how cloud computing is changing our industry, yet at the core one could easily make the argument that the trend we are witnessing is just another entry in the long history of attempting to reach one, simple goal: reaching your target audience in the most accessible fashion. For many software publishers, the target audience is either the CIO or somebody who reports into that office, and the confusion and consternation we are watching unfold with the emergence of cloud computing is the classic case of trying to predict reactions to change.
However, as IDC analyst Amy Konary recently wrote , the issues really haven’t changed all that much. While her article was really directed at private cloud implementations, the implications for software publishers are really the same as they were in the antiquated pre-cloud era. How do you bring your offering to market in the cloud? What are the “right” ways to sell it? Do you have a platform and offering that allows you to a) scale, b) manage and c) adapt? Moreover, within the public cloud the scalability responsibility also shifts somewhat. The opportunities available to a startup publisher in the cloud vs. an established player begin to look startlingly similar as Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels recently mentioned at Cloud Connect. To use one example, he mentioned that some services which would have historically only been available to large enterprises in an on premise world are now available to company’s of all size in the cloud, such as encryption and security . An inability to scale can no longer be attributed to lack of resources when you are in the cloud, but must now come down to more fundamental questions of ensuring that your offering can secure appropriate monetization through its own value.
Software companies that start life in the cloud (pure plays) have advantages over those established in the on-prem world. One of the most important advantages is the ability to know – at any time – exactly how the service is being and has been used. And, arguably more importantly, how that has changed. On-prem ISVs don’t have the same advantage.
This knowledge can be used to drive a number of activities. All of which are available to on-prem – but are just harder to get and are always less real-time. “Harder to get” and “less real-time” translate to more expensive and less competitive.
Today SafeNet announced the release of Sentinel Cloud Services, the industry’s first and only software licensing and entitlement management service delivered from the cloud for the cloud.
Sentinel Cloud Services make it quick and easy for SaaS and PaaS vendors to build and manage their service offerings, ensure service agreement compliance, and simplify all of the operational processes associated with cloud service contract provisioning, authorization management, and usage tracking.
“SafeNet Sentinel Cloud Services provides a viable alternative to traditional billing and payments services because of a catalog-driven licensing and entitlement management solution that integrates with back office ERP, accounting and installed base billing solutions, either in the Cloud or on premises,” said Mike West, VP and Distinguished Analyst, Saugatuck Technology.
It is no secret that the preference towards consuming software as a service via the cloud is growing rapidly. According to Saugatuck Technology, in 2010 the purchasing preference for all new ENT software was cloud-based, and is projected to hit nearly 50% by year end 2014.
Software pricing and packaging is an art form and perfecting it is an ongoing battle. Add cloud services to the mix along with your on-premise offerings and you have a recipe for disaster. I have spent the last two years working with ISVs who are in the midst of planning and migrating all or a portion of their product portfolio to the cloud. A significant obstacle is how to price and package their offerings to build a customer base, prevent cannibalization, and ultimately increase profitability. I have decided that their stories and the successful approaches are certainly worth sharing!