We’ve been lucky enough to be around software licensing for 20 years; combined, we have over 70 years of software licensing experience under our roof. It’s safe to say that in that time we’ve seen it all, and then some. Whether it’s enterprise end users wanting the best tools to maximize the usage of their valuable software assets, or software vendors wanting that next creative approach to licensing and selling their software, we’ve been there and done that.
As we’ve said before in previous newsletters, software licensing is one of those product categories that on the surface appears to be pretty simple and straightforward. For the most part, it is. But as the saying goes, the devil is definitely in the details. While it may appear that you just need to create a library that will verify some data, put some calls to that library in your code, create a mechanism for encoding licensing data to be read by that library and some basic client-server communications for counting the usage at the end user’s site, there’s actually a lot more to it.
No, it’s not the basics that cause companies fits–obviously most anyone can do the above. With software licensing, rather than an 80/20 rule, there’s probably more like a 95/5 rule: 5% of the functionality takes 95% of the effort, both in development as well as in support.
Your License Manager must Adapt
If you’re considering writing your own license manager, or considering licensing a third-party license manager, be sure that the creators of that technology can handle both the “big picture” as well as the small details. What happens if a new license model is to be added? What about a new unique host identifier (“hostid”)? Can your internal team or potential vendor explain, in basic terms, how the licensing management technology you’re considering building or buying can easily accommodate such changes?
And those are the easy changes. What about backwards compatibility? New OS releases? Cross-platform functionality, for those that sell into that world? Can your potential internal or external supplier easily explain how the technology you’re considering will handle the above scenarios? What about extensibility–for reporting, activation, back office integration?
What’s Really Important
Again, there’s a lot to take into consideration beyond “can this stuff do floating licensing?” Obviously, being able to do floating licensing (with low overhead, across disparate network connections, dealing with license contention, etc.) is important, but we’d argue it’s not near the top of what’s most important.
No, what’s most important is what happens in that odd corner case; either a support issue with a customer, when no one can track down the bug. Or the unusual request from marketing to support the particular “Promo du jour.” Or the need for that “next” OS (the last OS you’ll port to, right!)
Reprise can help
We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how our 70+ years of combined experience and 20+ years in the marketplace makes Reprise a license management vendor who’s probably seen it all, so you don’t need to. Feel free to contact us for more details. Please contact us if you wish to discuss these issues further.