We’ve been lucky enough to be around software licensing for over 30 years; combined, we have over 90 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, done that.
As we’ve said before in previous posts, software licensing is one of those software categories that on the surface appears to be pretty simple and straightforward. For the most part, it is. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. While it may appear that you just need to create a software routine that will verify some data, put some calls from that library into 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; most anyone can do the above. Software licensing is different. The 80/20 rule becomes the 95/5 rule: 5% of functionality takes 95% of the effort, in both development and support.
Your License Manager must Adapt
If you’re considering writing your own license manager or considering licensing from a third-party, be sure that the creators of that technology can handle both the “big picture” as well as the small details. What happens if you add a new license model? 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 comfortably accommodate such changes?
Also, those are simple changes. What about backward 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 handles the above scenarios? What about supporting licenses in the Cloud? 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?” Being able to do floating licensing with low overhead, across different network connections, dealing with license contention is essential, 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. Alternatively, 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 90+ years of combined “earned” experience and 30+ 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.