In a recent white paper from software licensing leader Flexera Software, entitled “Software Licensing and Customer Satisfaction New Strategies for Enhancing Customer Relationships and Revenues with Entitlement and Compliance Management,” officials from Flexera Software address the issue of software licensing and Entitlement and Compliance Management, or ECM.
While there is far too much good stuff in the paper to adequately summarize here, the major points are outlined below.
It’s fairly ironic, isn’t it, that software companies selling products to help users establish and maintain strong relationships with their customers generally do such a poor job with customer relationships themselves? Silos of duplicate information, non-integrated processes and other sins abound among such vendors – the old “children of shoemakers don’t have shoes” syndrome.
The paper contends that traditional licensing practices simply don’t work anymore. Traditional software licensing models are plagued by inflexible systems and rigid internal processes that keep publishers from offering more practical pricing and packaging options and all the M&A action inevitably resulting in “disjointed processes, lack of clarity and a poor customer experience.”
Then on top of that, regulatory issues are complicating licensing. Government is taking more of an interest in the software industry, and with increased government interest comes more regulations. Software vendors have to waste much time now on reviews of their policies, with very little to show for it in the way of increased productivity.
So what’s the good way forward? As Flexera officials say, that’s where Entitlement and Compliance Management comes in. ECM defines what customers have the right to use, allows users to download and update and the status of those rights, permits users to keep track of versions, expiration dates and business polices and gives the right to obtain updated software in the form of patches or updates along with new product versions.
What Flexera is selling is a way to get a holistic view of software entitlements, simplify and streamline software and updates and the ability to ensure compliant usage.
If we break it down by general grouping, Flexera’s software offering has the following components:
- Entitlement and License Operations Management: it gives users a Web portal to keep track of all existing enterprise systems
- Customer Intelligence Reporting: it lets the user know what products the customer owns, what versions and support incidents they’ve had
- Compliance Management: this lets software publishers keep their customers in compliance with licensing agreements with simple, comprehensive views of the state of software entitlement
- Electronic Delivery Management: this lets software publishers communicate with customers about specific, exact topics, instead of spamming them with general product communications
Obviously the benefits in productivity and efficiency of software to fulfill such tasks are clear, especially since, as company officials say, the software can “readily scale to meet software producers’ changing needs. It satisfies simple and complex entitlements, software delivery and compliance requirements.”
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.