Cloud initiatives, SaaS, subscriptions, pay-per-use, and a bevy of new, customer-centric licensing models are wreaking havoc with some ISVs who are struggling to keep up with their own antiquated licensing engine or are unsure as to how to adapt one of these new models and best satisfy their customers. One thing is for sure - when the dust settles, the most competitive ISVs will be those who have employed a flexible license management system that enables them to easily evaluate, implement, and tweak their licensing model to keep pace with ever changing consumer preferences, while at the same time, profiting from creative software monetization strategies that are optimal for their business.
What’s holding back some ISVs is the perception that the migration process from their existing “build your own” licensing system or legacy 3rd party system entails a prolific, resource-intensive and costly effort. And the most efficient migration path is not always crystal clear. Hence, the chasm. Among the many challenges ISVs face is the migration of existing data, especially if they still have to support an existing customer base while undertaking the migration. In most cases, there will be two licensing systems running in parallel for a defined period during the transition.
It has been our experience that the most important factor in a successful migration is for the ISV to be most diligent upfront to gain a thorough understanding of the short term migration issues and the market dynamics and associated licensing requirements that will support long term business objectives.
There are many questions that need to be considered during the due diligence phase of the migration effort:
Make vs. buy: What are the pros and cons of implementing a home-grown solution vs. buying an off-the-shelf licensing system? Are there enough resources and internal expertise to perform the transition most efficiently?
Migration scenarios: Patch an existing system or convert to an entirely new system? Run the old and new systems in parallel for a transitory period? For how long?
Protection: How should license protection be built into the process to protect against IP theft, reverse engineering, and software piracy?
Licensing: Are different licensing models required? Is the licensing process and activations the same for all products? Will there be hardware or software activations, or both? Is there need to create new licenses for older versions of your products? Is there a long term strategic product development plan that includes a roadmap for entering new markets?
As confusing and daunting as the migration process may seem, it should be comforting to know that there are established best practices available that provide a roadmap to efficiently cross the chasm and ensure a successful migration to a modern, flexible and robust licensing system.
For starters, you can read an article that appeared in our KEYnote magazine that describes in detail several different paths that have proven successful in real-world migrations to our CodeMeter protection and licensing platform, or spend an hour in our pre-recorded Webinar, Streamlining Licensing Migration from 3rd Party Systems, and see a live demonstration.
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.