When is it Time to Upgrade Your Software License Management System?
23.11.2021 Marcel Hartgerink
Flexibility, scalability, and interoperability are key ingredients for any successful business solution. Flexibility means that the solution can be fine-tuned to adapt to dynamic market shifts as customer preferences and expectations change and evolve, and perhaps, require a dramatic shift in the existing business model. Scalability ensures that the solution does not hold you back or be rendered obsolete as the business grows with new products and customers. And interoperability means that the solution can be integrated easily into existing business process rather than clumsily force fit into the established backoffice business model, akin to trying to force a square peg into a round hole. These three tenets are especially true for ISVs when it comes to their software licensing solution, whether it is home grown or an out-of-the-box solution from a third-party licensing vendor.
Take, for example, the case of TVPaint Développement, a market leading bitmap animation technology company in Metz, France. TVPaint has served the art, animation, and design community since 1991 and has undergone remarkable growth. The company is now regarded as one of the industry standards for 2D animation. As their business expanded, they realized that they had outgrown their software licensing system, as logistic challenges began to overwhelm the company’s resources.
The company originally relied on different generations of dongles for simple copy protection and software distribution by DVD. However, the physical distribution of dongles with license assignments eventually became an inefficient licensing model.
“We started working with dongles for copy protection,” said Thierry Cantet, Customer Support Manager at TVPaint Développement. “In the early days, we worked with dongles for the parallel interface and later switched to USB dongles. The basic idea stayed the same but offered little flexibility or scalability. We had to purchase dongles, add the right licenses, and then mail them to the customer. This was often very complicated, because we had several types of dongles. For example, someone who bought our software for fourteen users received five dongles: one for ten users and four for one user.”
Dean C, Technical Sales Agent, echoed the sentiment about the burdensome logistics of the dongles: “We have a very large number of users, all of whom had to receive DVDs with the software and dongles with the licenses. The logistics required more work year after year.”
Recognizing that they had outgrown their licensing system, TVPaint began their search for a new IP protection and license management system that could scale with their growth, flexible enough to make it easier for them to implement behind the scenes, and more user friendly for their customers. Ultimately, they chose Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter software protection, licensing, and security technology. The CodeMeter license management system is used by global software publishers and intelligent device manufacturers to protect their IP and leverage creative licensing strategies to monetize their businesses.
Switching over to the CodeMeter licensing system turned out to be the commercially and operationally best choice for TVPaint and a seamless implementation experience. With initial support for the company’s legacy dongle system and assistance with realigning TVPaint’s IT landscape, the technical switchover was finalized in a matter of hours, and CodeMeter’s license distribution and management processes quickly integrated with a rebuilt ERP system using Odoo. TVPaint’s products are now sold and licensed in a cleanly integrated and efficiently automated online process, leaving the company the time to concentrate on what it does best: Creating exceptional animation software.
“There’s a benefit for everyone", said Dean C. “A customer who purchases our software online can start using it in a matter of minutes. That way, we do not just save the time and effort to ship thousands of dongles, but also realize significant savings on shipping costs, customs, and taxes.”
Using CodeMeter solved yet another legacy issue. “Our software is available in two versions: Standard Edition and Professional Edition,” Dean C. explained. “Customers who purchased both versions used to receive two dongles that could not connect on one server. With CodeMeter, they can now run different versions on the same container.”
CodeMeter’s web admin capabilities also allow TVPaint’s users to manage their licenses themselves. “Customers have far fewer questions about their licenses,” Cantet concluded. “That also saves us a significant amount of time.”
General Manager of WIBU-SYSTEMS NV, WIBU-Systems BV, WIBU-SYSTEMS LTD and WIBU-SYSTEMS SARL
Marcel Hartgerink studied electronic engineering and developed his first software protection system for Atari-ST computers in 1988. He was later involved in developing biometric authentication systems for large corporations. In addition to his technical background, Marcel is also an expert in marketing innovative solutions.
He is currently general manager of WIBU-SYSTEMS NV, WIBU-SYSTEMS BV, WIBU-SYSTEMS LTD and WIBU-SYSTEMS SARL, and is in charge of marketing, sales, consultancy and support in The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Baltics.