Constantly changing business conditions mean that software has to be updated regularly, according to software licensing provider Flexera Software.
The kind of updates can vary widely based on why the upgrade is taking place. The reasons may include new features, security issues and changes started by related vendors.
Without an adequate process for software updates, a company may find it has unhappy customers, lower profits, lower market share and increased risk, according to a white paper from Flexera Software entitled “Software Updates and the Customer Relationship.”
“Every organization should invest in the optimization of its software update process,” the white paper explains. “Failure to eliminate any shortcomings in this process will almost certainly have an adverse impact on your top- and bottom-line business performance.”
But upgrades give lots of room for “error” and “inefficiency,” Flexera Software says.
And – very importantly – an organization has to be “customer-centric” when it comes to software updates. That means that new content, timing, installation requirements, and support are in keeping with customer needs, Flexera adds.
Flexera Software recommends several best practices for software updates. First, use a “structured process” to get input from customers, as well as input from technical support, sales, marketing, and executive staff.
“Without such a process, important functionality can be inappropriately delayed — while development and delivery resources are inappropriately allocated to less important items,” Flexera said.
Secondly, number software upgrades in a “consistent and logical manner.” Also, do not “overwhelm” users with “frequent updates and/or updates that require much time and energy on their part.”
In addition, consider how software is perceived by users to be essential to their business. Have simple procedures in place, too, to notify “internal and external stakeholders about software update content and scheduling.”
“Proper notification gives sales and marketing the opportunity to leverage planned new functionality to help close deals and gain a competitive edge,” the software licensing company explains.
And updates have to be adequately tested. “Inadequately tested updates cause unacceptable interruptions of service, they undermine customer relationships, and inhibit the acceptance of future updates,” Flexera said.
Even if software upgrades are first offered for free, it may make sense to charge for the upgrades later.
Similarly, figure out which older software versions the company will support. Also, base customer-centric software updates on “customer preferences and market pressures rather than on the whims and exigencies of your development team.”
Some companies may develop their own software update solution. But this can drain “IT and development resources,” Flexera said.
“In fact, most organizations realize that a best-in-class software update solution offers so much more than just software updates,” Flexara adds. Examples of benefits include: more satisfied and loyal customers, higher profits, increased market share, reduced business risk, improved productivity and increased collaboration, Flexara said.
An example is FlexNet Connect, which is a software update solution from Flexera Software. It is economical, and automates updates, patches, as well as data and marketing messages, the company said. FlexNet Connect also gives data on how users employ the software.
In other software licensing news, Flexera Software posted a recent blog about that fact that changes can be made to license models for little to no cost. As such, it makes financial and logical sense to review the software licensing portfolio on a regular basis to be sure the company has positioned itself and its offerings as effectively as possible in a rapidly evolving market.
Flexera Software's FlexNet Licensing (composed of FlexNet Publisher and FlexNet Embedded) makes it easy for application producers to monetize, secure, enhance and grow market share through the flexible pricing, packaging, and licensing of applications, intelligent devices or equipment using embedded software. FlexNet Licensing also gives organizations the power to protect IP and rein in unauthorized software use to prevent revenue loss.