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.
Summary: “RLM offers a number of sophisticated solutions for implementing licensing strategies, and we have certainly not used all of the power of RLM. For us a key requirement was reliability and ensuring a painless experience for our end-users when having to deal with license issues. Previously, licensing was at times an obstacle to use and installation of our software. Since we made our switch to RLM things are much smoother and most importantly without pain for our end customers.”
Streamsim Technologies is a leading provider of high-end, reservoir flow simulation software based to the oil and gas industry. Companies use our products to manage and optimize oil & gas production from mature fields, specifically fields that are being produced with the aid of water and/or gas injection. Given the global nature of the industry, Streamsim supports customers all over the world.
The Switch to RLM
Streamsim’s move to RLM came in 2006, just as Reprise was launching its first version of RLM and we were facing and strong price increase from our previous supplier (SentinelLM). Two things were immediately apparent to us: a) Reprise came across as a small, nimble company that was going to support us anyway they could, and b) their pricing seemed reasonable and well tailored to a company like ours. The fact that they were the founding group were also the original architects of FlexLM was an added bonus. After some due diligence, we decided to switch.
We now have two products that are protected by RLM. The first is a numerical engine (3DSL) that has 5 modules that can be turned on & off and that run under Windows and Linux 32/64 bit environments. The second is a pure Java application based on the NetBeans platform that houses a number of options for allowing engineers to interpret results and make decisions based on results of 3DSL. RLM is our main way to turn options on and off, offering our clients an a-la-carte menu of choices.
Our clients have repeatedly demand three licensing features, all of which are extremely well served by RLM. The first is the ability to install network licenses that can be checked out by any engineer in the company and that are visible across the entire company network. The second is the ability to check-out/check-in roaming licenses onto laptops when engineers are off the network. And the third is the traditional standalone license. The ease of installation of the RLM server and its interface via a Web browser has resonated extremely well with our clients. In turn that reflects well on us. Recently, Reprise has added the ability to have a server that is platform independent, meaning that while we only support Windows/Linux a client can install a server on a different platform and our daemon will work there as well. That has given us flexibility and choice to our end-customers.
End User Acceptance and Support
There is always some pain involved when switching to a new licensing strategy and platform, and it did take us a bit longer than expected to get things right. However, the benefits have been dramatic. We receive next to no support calls for license issues or problems and our customers have extremely reliable access to our software on their networks. This allows us to concentrate on technical support of our own software as well focus on enhancing features important to our clients rather than having to field license support issues.
The odd times we do face an issue or are trying a new licensing strategy, Reprise has been extremely responsive and it is unusual if we don’t hear back within hours of email inquiry. Support has been prompt, reliable, and helpful.
RLM offers a number of sophisticated solutions for implementing licensing strategies, and we have certainly not used all of the power of RLM. For us a key requirement was reliability and ensuring a painless experience for our end-users when having to deal with license issues. Previously, licensing was at times an obstacle to use and installation of our software. Since we made our switch to RLM things are much smoother and most importantly without pain for our end customers.
Summary: Algorithmics, a leader is financial risk management solutions, replaced an older license manager with RLM because of its flexibility and affordability.
Algorithmics is a leading provider in the development and delivery of risk management solutions that enable growth, innovation and the efficient use of risk capital.
Financial organizations from around the world use Algorithmics’ software, content and advisory services to help them make risk-aware business decisions, maximize shareholder value, and meet regulatory requirements.
Supported by a global team of risk experts based in all major financial centers, Algorithmics offers proven, award-winning solutions for market, credit and operational risk, as well as collateral and capital management. Algorithmics was founded in 1989 in Toronto and since 2005 it has been a member of the Fitch Group.
Transition to RLM
Algorithmics transitioned to RLM (Reprise License Manager) from another licensing vendor because Reprise was able to match the functionality that our previous licensing system had while providing additional functionality in a cost-effective manner. Transitioning to the Reprise License Manager from our previous license manager was very straightforward to do. Reprise’s technical support has been very responsive and has provided the support needed for a successful transition.
Algorithmics supports several Operating Systems, from UNIX to Linux to Windows in both 32 and 64 bit variants, and Reprise can handle them all. RLM is simple to implement, very functional and is cost-effective.
We found that the flexibility of RLM allowed us to migrate to the new licensing scheme with minimal effort. Based on our experience with Reprise Software, we recommend RLM as a cost effective choice for a license management solution.
For more information about Algorithmics, please visit the following URL:
Thrive by making changes to your software licensing programs
Some pundits have said recently that the global economy is coming out of the recession. True or not, overall business activity is still comparatively slow. We think that a sluggish, yet growing economy presents an opportunity to exploit changes in how you license your software.
Of course many software vendors’ revenues were barely affected by the slump – good for them. But not all vendors are as fortunate. Every software vendor eventually experiences a slowdown at some point. When overall capital expenditures are declining it’s almost inevitable that software vendors will feel the effects too. In addition to redoubling your efforts to improve your core products, the key to successfully riding out a recession is to support an adaptable and creative set of software licensing programs.
Regular readers of this newsletter will already know that the best way to stay flexible is to integrate a license manager within your software. Here are some ideas for your marketing/sales teams to create new programs to help you weather the storm.
Streamline your Licensing Operations
Perpare yourself for growth by setting up a more automated licensing system can help you save money on labor costs, while improving customer satisfaction and increasing sales. When a prospective customer requests an evaluation of your product, you can send out an “evaluation key” that can be redeemed for a temporary license over the Internet that will be valid during the evaluation period. The best part of this tactic is that you know exactly when that license will expire, and perhaps when to contact the user to see if your product fits his needs. You then can either extend the evaluation by issuing a new “evaluation key” or convert the trial into a sale. For paying customers, you can allow them to self-serve their license keys using the same activation infrastructure.
New Pricing/Payment Models
Slow sales mean that it’s time to get creative with licensing. If you are now selling only permanent licenses, consider going to time-limited licenses, both to add recurring revenue and to avoid “giving away” value. Try selling annual licenses to reduce the upfront cost of your licenses. Price the annual licenses at a level that will increase your revenue over time. Also consider a pay-per-use scheme for those customers who prefer it.
Modularize your High-Value Components
Some software vendors use an economic slowdown to decouple some of their high-worth software modules from their basic product so that overall prices can be reduced while still capturing higher revenue from those customers who require the more expensive options. The lower cost of the basic version can open up new accounts and increase your market share as well.
“Productize” what you used to give away for free
We’ve talked to a lot of companies recently that are not, strictly speaking, software companies at all. It turns out that many technology companies often “throw in” software as a kind of “enabler” or loss-leader, focusing instead on collecting revenue from hardware sales or consulting fees. Let me suggest that wherever there is perceived value in these software applications, there is also potentially untapped incremental revenue.
Increase your Maintenance Subscription Rate
License Managers are very useful tools to ensure that your customers use only the software versions for which they have paid support fees. Try using the version number field in your licenses to encode a support-expiration date in the form yyyy.mmdd (2009.0531). Let a license manager compare it to the “release date” of each version so that your customers must remain current with their maintenance payments in order to access new releases.
Expand your Sales into New Regions
Use a license manager to restrict licenses by time zone or region to penetrate new markets at a much lower cost. Sales gains can be realized by charging a premium for licenses that allow use across wider geographies. Encourage additional license purchases from organizations whose software usage spans geographies.
Deepen Penetration within your Existing Customers
Often the best source of new license revenue is found within your existing customers. Not all users within a customer are the same. So try creating product classes that are specific to each different user type. A license manager makes it easy to build one binary that takes on different functional behaviors (“lite”, “basic”, “advanced” etc.), each one determined by the specific license key you issue. You can later sell upgrades by supplying an additional license key to turn on greater functionality. The pricing of these various classes of licenses should match the value that different user types ascribe to your software. Examine software usage patterns to create a balanced set of licensing options that appeal to the widest audience within your best customers.
Find a lower-cost Licensing Vendor
While you are looking for new revenue sources, you might also consider making changes on the other side of the ledger. If you are tired of paying excessive fees for your third party license manager, maybe it’s time to consider a lower cost alternative. Reprise Software is in the sweet-spot in this regard – providing a world-class license management system at a much more affordable price.
Summary: RLM has many useful features like Internet Activation, Virtual Machine detection, Node Locking, floating licenses and multi-platform support. One important requirement was the ability to support a trial version scheme for our customers to evaluate our products.
About KTC – Karlsruhe Technology Consulting GmbH:
KTC – proficient, honest and reliable
Karlsruhe Technology Consulting (KTC) is focused on the modeling and optimization of business processes and integrates the thought of sustainability into the business process landscape of the company.
KTC supports companies in the active implementation of their CSR policies. The claim of the KTC is to sensitize people and companies for the conscious use of resources and therefore beneficial influence the strategic potential. The successful implementation is continuously displayed in the “eco-cockpit” and provides potentials and deviations to make the right decisions. You can get more information on our Greentrac website, www.greentrac.de.
Instead of building our own license manager we decided to use the Reprise License Manager for our software products and concentrate on our core software functionality.
RLM has many useful features like Internet Activation, Virtual Machine detection, Node Locking, floating licenses and multi-platform support. One important requirement was the ability to support a trial version scheme for our customers to evaluate our products.
“RLM satisfies more of our requirements than other software license managers we evaluated.” (KTC-CTO Horst Wenske)
Summary: “… Our evaluation of RLM found them to be extremely responsive to questions during implementation. We also found the RLM software to be very flexible in its configuration and support of multiple platforms.”
GEDCO – an RLM customer since 2008 – delivers geophysical software solutions that offer superior value and generate proven results for hundreds of seismic survey designers, acquisition contractors, major exploration players, and data processing centers located in over 50 countries worldwide.
GEDCO’s proprietary software packages include OMNI 3D, the industry’s standard for seismic survey design and modeling, and VISTA, one of the sector’s leading 2D/3D seismic data processing tools. Both software products are complemented by legendary support services and training programs to ensure clients’ technical needs are met effectively and promptly.
GEDCO distinguishes itself by having a client-centric culture. In the day-to-day, this means developing robust geophysical solutions that are fuelled by clients’ feedback and are complemented by effective and collaborative technical support services. This also includes offering licensing options that meet clients’ needs, are reliable, effective, and easy to use.
“Before implementing RLM licensing, GEDCO was using a competing licensing product,” admitted Randy Kolesar, Manager for GEDCO Software Division. “We found the product support for this competing product to be poor and its licensing library did not support multiple platforms. Our evaluation of RLM found them to be extremely responsive to questions during implementation. We also found the RLM software to be very flexible in its configuration and support of multiple platforms. Consequently, we chose RLM for all our licensing options.”
GEDCO offers various licensing options for its software ranging from single node locked to floating multi-seat licenses running on multiple platforms. The licenses also contain multiple configurations based on the functionality purchased from the client. GEDCO uses the Reprise License Manager (RLM) to control which set of modules are enabled for the software.
The most important factors that GEDCO considered when selecting RLM were the support of floating and node-locked licenses and the ability to run on multiple platforms.
To learn more about GEDCO Software, please visit www.GEDCO.com.
Summary: “For the sake of saving our license management resources, we decided to use a commercial licensing solution. It was a key issue that a new solution should have not only equivalent functions to the prior program but also portability between various platforms, simplicity to implement, robustness in actual use, and reasonable cost.”
About National Maritime Research Institute:
National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI), Japan, is the core research institute for ship technologies. It is implementing research on technologies for safe and efficient marine transportation, effective utilization of marine resources and spaces, and marine environment protection.
NMRI delivers various software products to the ship industry. “NMRI CFD” is a major product that is a powerful suite of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software. Computational Fluid Dynamics is a tool to simulate fluid flows by numerically solving the governing equation of fluid motion (the Navier-Stokes equation). NMRI CFD can estimate various elements of ship performance, such as resistance due to viscosity, waves generated by a ship hull, self-propulsion factors, etc. It is widely used in shipyards and design consultancies for evaluating ship performance in the design stage.
NMRI CFD is composed of three products, HULLDES, NEPTUNE and SURF. HULLDES is a grid generator which can make a structured grid around a ship hull easily and precisely. NEPTUNE is a flow solver which solves Navier-Stokes equations for a structured grid and it can calculate flow fields around ships rapidly. SURF is also a Navier-Stokes solver for unstructured/structured grids which can cope with complex geometry like an appended hull with a propeller shaft and a rudder. Our customers select the proper product from the suite as the situation demands. Customers need purchase only one or two products from the suite according to their own needs.
Licensing at NMRI
We had used a license management program developed in-house using the WIN32API. The program would check TCP/IP address, expiry date, software version, and computational grid size limits. But a growing number of customers increased the burden for us to control issued licenses. In addition, some customers wanted to use 64bit computers or Linux OS. For the sake of saving our license management resources, we decided to use a commercial licensing solution. It was a key issue that a new solution should have not only equivalent functions to the prior program but also portability between various platforms, simplicity to implement, robustness in actual use, and reasonable cost.
After researching several available licensing solutions from the above point of view, we decided to adopt the Reprise License Manager (RLM). It completely satisfies our demands. We usually issue a server-client type license to customers and occasionally issue a node-locked license for temporary use such as evaluation or demonstration for sales promotion. RLM allows us to spend our resources developing the core technology of CFD software. We believe RLM can help many independent software vendors enhance their own competitiveness with a sophisticated license management system.
For more information about NMRI CFD, please visit the following URL:
Summary: RLM answered requests immediately and the investment even for a small company like AnyBody Technology was reasonable. RLM is a general solution supplying many features, putting this ISV in a better position to address the future demands that come with an extended product line.
RLM Customer Story:
AnyBody Technology A/S, based in Denmark, develops and markets the unique software the AnyBody Modeling System, which is a breakthrough invention for simulating man-machine or man-environment interaction and their effects on the human body. The AnyBody Modeling System allows users to be able to determine muscle and joint forces and other biomechanical factors. The system is an open system within which users can build their own models, or they can draw upon model resources from a public domain repository comprising a vast number of models, and an entire body model totaling more than 900 individual muscles.
Key benefits reported by clients include:
- Improved innovation of products for humans
- Improved usability of existing products
- Reduced cost for prototypes and improved time-to-market
- Improved documentation of ergonomic product benefits
- Improved fundamental or applied biomechanical understanding
The key markets for the products and services of AnyBody Technology are the global orthopedics, automotive, sports industries, and research institutions. Users of the AnyBody Modeling System are mainly involved in either university research, or R&D activities in the industries.
The AnyBody Modeling System has for many years used our own in-house-built license solution, but with latest major release we have switched to a solution using RLM. RLM was recommended to us as an affordable and flexible solution, easily implemented, and supplied with friendly and responsive technical support. After now one year using RLM, we can only support this picture of Reprise Software and its product.
Why Switch to RLM?
We had several reasons to look for a replacement of our own license control system, and naturally, we had several considerations regarding the switch, summarized here:
In general, we wanted to minimize our effort in this area, which is outside our core competencies, so a commercial package was the natural answer.
- We had immediate needs for improved handling of multiple products and a modular license structure. Furthermore, we expect these needs to increase as our core product, The AnyBody Modeling System, is extended with a product line of derived products. Products aimed at different marked segments will most likely call for different licensing structure and a flexible package, such as RLM, certainly supports these demands.
- We needed functionality to enforce our maintenance period and we now do this by the “version number” in the RLM license. Additionally, we use several of the information fields in RLM license for instance to identify the customer to the software. We believe that “accidental misuse” of licenses by honest customers is more typical and a larger problem than actual dishonest customers trying to cheat the license control. Providing information about the running license is therefore an essential part of our license control, which we also needed to strengthen when replacing our old license solution.
- We needed a better floating license solution, which was only poorly supported by our own solution. Again a commercial package better addressed this.
- We had a working solution, so, despite our extended needs, there was not a strong motivation to make a large investment into a replacing technology, neither purchase cost nor implementation effort. Rumors regarding other commercial solutions caused us to consider in particular the latter carefully and RLM has proven to be a good answer.
- Our original license control relied on several host IDs, which naturally had to be supported in the new solution as well. For instance, we had a dongle based host ID with a customized dongle. This we easily implemented into our RLM-based solution with the ISV-Defined Host ID facility.
- Moreover, we have occasionally operated with a special model based licensing for customized solutions, i.e., a license that is linked to special features in the simulation model to be loaded into the AnyBody software. This linkage easily and effectively restricts the customized solution customer’s use of the otherwise very general modeling system. This option we have not yet implemented with our RLM-based solution, but it will completely unproblematic to implement with the ISV-Defined Host ID facility.
In conclusion, RLM answered all of our immediate requests and the investment even for a small company like AnyBody Technology was reasonable. Apart from our immediate needs, RLM is a general solution supplying many features, and we now feel we are in a better position to address the future demands that come with an extended product line. RLM has indeed been the right solution for AnyBody Technology.
What's the real purpose of software license management?
Too often folks equate Software Licensing with the prevention of software piracy. That notion really misses the point. People are often surprised to find out the real reasons for software license management.
Summary: “Discovering RLM was a breath of fresh air. As it turns out, the guys who founded RLM were also those who initially worked on Flexnet. So right off the bat, this gave us confidence these folks knew what they were doing . RLM provided us with a time-limited trial version of their bits immediately. They were responsive from day one. Their technical support was flawless. It took one of our engineers half a day to integrate the RLM software with our 64-bit product. The process to generate license files was also quite simple and well documented. That, combined with an attractive price-point, convinced us to go with Reprise. We have been running the RLM licensing for half a year now without a hitch. Looking back, we know we made the right decision in choosing Reprise Software for our licensing needs.”
About XSPRADA Corporation:
XSPRADA and RLM licensing
XSPRADA is a new-breed player in the high-performance analytical database market. Our product, called RDM/x (Relational Data Miner Express Edition) is a database engine designed for strategic and tactical business intelligence work for OLAP and data mining in large data warehousing applications.
Currently RDM/x only runs on Windows Server platforms, and it presents as a small Windows Service application (and associated ODBC drivers) that people can download and install from our website at www.xsprada.com.
Given our deployment model and the types of markets we target, we wanted to be able to license our software in three different ways. One is a trial version, which is time-limited. This is for people who want to try out our software for 30 days before making a purchase decision. Another is a developer version. In this version, the software is fully functional but capped at a certain data volume (say for example, 10 or 100GB). This is more convenient for long-term proof-of-concept projects in research environments. The last is the enterprise version which is the official release and is tied to a specific machine (node-locked) via a customer-provided MAC address.
Simplicity was Key
Another requirement was for our licensing software to support multiple platforms in anticipation of our upcoming Linux release. Additionally, we wanted an easy-to-integrate product, as our engineers were busy putting our own product together, we did not want to be spending a lot of time on technical integration issues. The system also had to be extremely simple for the customer, as ease-of-use is one of our strongest value points. In other words, simplicity was an absolute must-have. Finally, beyond the technical issues, vendor support was going to be a major component of our purchase decision process.
We found only a few viable vendors
Licensing is a complex issue with potential ramifications on user experience and performance. We were not going to deal with a vendor unless support was “just-in-time.” Surprisingly, the software licensing vendor space is fairly limited. There are not too many serious players in this field. And finding them isn’t easy to begin with! In our search we looked at Agilis, Flexnet (from FlexEra, previously Acresso, previously Macrovision, also makers of InstallShield), Easysoft, and of course Reprise Software (RLM).
Some vendors were not suitable
Flexnet is clearly the big kahuna in this space. They “wrote the book.” All 500 pages of it too. They were difficult to reach and there seemed to be a lot of confusion in their sales department. Judging from the sheer size and complexity of the product, combined with lackluster customer support and follow-up, we decided to look elsewhere. We found similar issues with other vendors. Some didn’t seem viable while others had limited functionality (as in not supporting multiple platforms, for example).
RLM – Right Product at the Right Time
Discovering RLM was a breath of fresh air. As it turns out, the guys who founded RLM were also those who initially worked on Flexnet. So right off the bat, this gave us confidence these folks knew what they were doing . RLM provided us with a time-limited trial version of their bits immediately. They were responsive from day one. Their technical support was flawless. It took one of our engineers half a day to integrate the RLM software with our 64-bit product. The process to generate license files was also quite simple and well documented. That, combined with an attractive price-point, convinced us to go with Reprise. We have been running the RLM licensing for half a year now without a hitch. Looking back, we know we made the right decision in choosing Reprise Software for our licensing needs.