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).
In my last blog entry (Show Me The Money, Part 1) we looked at a number of factors that play into software revenue recognition when a vendor (ISV) introduces electronic license enforcement into their product lines. Part 1 focused on the principles and mechanics behind giving customers access to the software upon order execution so that the ISV may recognize revenue. Part 1 concluded by bringing another key element into the revenue recognition equation: time. Time can affect revenue recognition in a number of ways:
I bet that made your ears perk up a bit, didn’t it?
Your CFO probably has the same type of reaction when the topic of revenue recognition rears its head. After all, it is one of the most critical elements in your business’ machinery.
Customers frequently ask me about the impact license enforcement and license key delivery can have on a company’s ability to recognize revenue. This indeed can be a touchy subject, so I should start by making a few foundational statements.
I will not suggest how your company should manage revenue recognition nor do I intend claim the revenue recognition practices are acceptable or VSOE compliant. Your company’s finance team should be the ultimate authority as to what is acceptable for your business. I encourage any business considering license enforcement to ensure your CFO is will deeply engaged in your license delivery processes.
I will, however, discuss a number of revenue recognition techniques and best practices that I have seen used by multiple successful companies with revenues over a half billion per year.
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.
Customer experience, revenue protection, and resource optimization is top of mind for all organizations, including software vendors. SafeNet and Akamai have teamed up to provide software vendors with a user-friendly, secure solution for automating electronic software delivery (ESD).
By combining the back office licensing fulfillment and automation features of Sentinel EMS, SafeNet’s web based entitlement management platform, with Akamai’s industry-leading Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) solution, customers are able to improve the end-user software purchasing and activation experience while protecting revenue and reducing internal operating costs.