by Cody Crider, Reprise Software, Inc.
We have written many articles about the benefits of software licensing to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and how to implement various features within RLM. Of course this is the target audience for Reprise Software’s product, right? That might be where we make our living, but there is a whole other world of software licensing that ISVs should examine more closely, from their customers’ perspective.
I recently had the opportunity to make a presentation to a number of end-users of enterprise-class software products that utilize software licensing including the Reprise License Manager (RLM). These end-users represent some of the largest companies in the world. It was very enlightening to hear about software licensing from the perspective of the folks involved in the day-to-day management of hundreds of applications, and thousands of licenses. The special value of software licensing to this end-user community is one that needs to be continually addressed.
There were the discussions about what end-users commonly want, such as the following:
- Better control over when/where/which users can access software assets
- Unfettered access to usage data and tools to track and allocate costs
- Improved license administration tools
- More predictable and consistent licensing models across vendors
- Transparent policy spelled out in the license key
- Auto-maximized license utilization
- Better control over license queuing
- Better performance measurement tools to plan for and deploy new licensed applications
- Better diagnostic tools
- Simpler Internet-based activation and license installation
We had an opportunity to discuss how RLM address many of the needs outlined above and that the majority of the innovations in RLM are in support of better value for end users while simplifying implementation and deployment for ISVs.
The discussion then shifted a bit when the question was asked, “Does RLM do a good job at ensuring software compliance?” Sure, we talk about a benefit of RLM is to ensure that ‘honest users stay honest’, but this is from the perspective of the ISV who wants to maximize revenues by eliminating unlicensed usage. A light came on to remind me that this is also a critical issue for our end-user community. From their perspective, it is one of the benefits they value most from software licensing. Let’s face it. There are a lot of things that end-users don’t like about software licensing, but it is one of the ‘inconveniences’ that they can tolerate for all the extra benefits derived from it.
The software end-user has a management mandate to stay compliant with their software licensing agreements and to have the information they need to prove this during audits. Software compliance can be less costly for these customers if the software they license includes the proper built in license compliance tools, like RLM.
RLM provides the flexible licensing models and features that can match what is being sold to software end-users. ISVs who support license models matching those described in their software licensing agreement can go a long way to help ensure compliance.
RLM provides the administration tools to monitor and support license compliance reporting. The tools are built into RLM so that the end-user can easily control how the software is utilized in their organization and determine who has the rights to use it. RLM provides detailed license usage report logs that can be used to track and monitor usage across the organization. The RLM Reportlog uses an open and authenticated format that can easily be read for reporting purposes. Reprise works closely with 3rd party vendors such as License Tracker, OpeniT, and RunTime Design Automation that provide tools to help maximize the usage and monitoring of software assets.
All of these features and efforts can help assist the end-user community to ensure that they are in compliance with their license agreements.