You Cannot Afford to Compromise on Your Licensing Solution
2020-10-28 Terry Gaul
Enterprise cybersecurity experts and experienced software developers are in high demand. Unfortunately, the current high-tech talent pool is insufficient to meet the demand.
A recent blog post published by the RSA Conference notes that the cybersecurity skills gap “is swelling at a frightening pace.” The article points to the latest annual cybersecurity worker survey conducted by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), an independent industry analyst firm, which reveals the cybersecurity skills shortage has worsened for the third year in a row, impacting nearly 75 percent of surveyed companies. Making matters still worse is the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporate lockdowns have been driving many cybersecurity workers online, and skilled trainers have been slow to respond.
The picture is not any prettier for experienced software developers either. According to ncube, a technology outsourcing firm, there are currently 500,000 software developer jobs available in the U.S. alone. They estimate that another 500,000 software developers will retire in the next few years. That means that there will be a shortage of one million software developers in the USA. Furthermore, they estimate that by 2021, there will be a shortage of 1.4 million software developers and only 400,000 software developer graduates. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but tech outsourcing firms are touting the availability of their offshore technical resources in Ukraine, Vietnam, and elsewhere, to fill the tech gaps.
The dearth of seasoned software engineers is not a new phenomenon. Gartner reported in early 2019 that the global talent shortage is now the top emerging risk facing organizations, and that includes Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). ISVs are caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they need a creative business development team to stay ahead of the market and anticipate their dynamic customer needs. On the other hand, they need their developers to continue to innovate and enrich their software features on an ongoing basis. Both efforts take significant resources, and therein lies the long-term challenge. If resources become strained, often unwanted compromises are made that may have a significant impact on the business.
Software licensing is one aspect of the business that cannot be compromised or overlooked. Today, software licensing is at the core of a dynamic landscape that can make or break a business. ISVs need to understand their customers’ preferences and have the ability to package and repackage their software in innovative ways that meet their customers’ needs. The key element here is the licensing engine. If you are currently using a home-grown system, you are more likely than not to divert valuable resources attempting to make it fit to your desired business strategies. It would be a rare occurrence for that to happen efficiently with a legacy system. Now, more than ever, it makes more sense to look at licensing system alternatives outside of your office. If you are at that point, here are the features and functionality you should consider in your next generation licensing system:
Licensing Flexibility — the licensing platform of choice should enable you to create, deliver, activate, update, and manage licenses using the business model that’s optimum for your customers without any compromise, whether it is single user licenses, network licenses, feature on-demand licenses, demo/trial licenses, pay-per-use licenses, or whatever license model you dream up. This licensing flexibility gives your marketing team the tools they need to define and deliver the product in the optimal manner for each unique market segment and generate the most revenue.
License Security — the licensing platform should provide mechanisms to securely store and deliver licenses, whether it is via a hardware device (dongle), a PC-bound soft license file, or the cloud. Dongles offer the highest security and portability from PC to PC while soft licenses offer the fastest delivery and activation. Cloud licensing is the most efficient way to manage licenses in remote office scenarios. Either way, the licensing system should ensure that only authenticated and licensed users can activate and utilize the software.
Easy Integration into Your Business Processes — for ease-of-use and to reduce costs, the licensing solution should integrate seamlessly into your existing ERP, CRM, e-commerce or other business processes using industry standard tools such as SOAP. It should also be capable of accessing your existing databases, such as Oracle, MySQL, and MS-SQL. And, it should have a customer facing portal that can be branded and customized to support your end users.
License Activation Options — the solution should provide activation options that are best suited for your business model. You should have the flexibility to activate licenses online from within the software application or via an Internet web portal; or offline via file transfer from the computer with the software application to another computer with access to the portal.
Hosting Flexibility — the solution should provide you with the option to host your license server on a local web server or host and manage it in the cloud of the provider of the licensing system.
Software Monetization — in addition to licensing flexibility, the solution should provide data mining, analytics and reporting capabilities to give you the ability to make sound business decisions and the agility to shift your marketing strategy as market requirements change.
Vendor Reliability — choose a 3rd party licensing partner that you can trust. How long have they been in business? What is their business strategy — are they dedicated to licensing or do they have other interests? Who are their key customers? How good is their support?
If you have decided to integrate a 3rd party licensing solution, you have made a good choice. By doing so, you will free up your developers to do what they do best — write code, you will give your marketing team the ability to deliver the software in a manner that is most desirable for the customers in discrete market segments, and you will be able to protect and monetize your software so that you generate the revenues that you deserve from your development and commercialization efforts.
A good place to start in your search is to take a look at our CodeMeter Licensing Platform as a comprehensive and highly flexible solution with a wide variety of licensing models as well as license management tools.
Vice President Sales USA
Terry Gaul is a sales and business development professional with extensive experience in the software and technology sectors. He has been involved with software protection and licensing technologies for more than 20 years and currently serves as Vice President of Sales at Wibu-Systems USA. When he is not helping customers with software licensing, Terry typically can be found coaching his daughters' soccer teams or camping with his family on the Maine coast.