Licensing Challenges

software licensing

Licensing of software from vendors is really getting complicated and hard to understand.  It has just been a slow move in this direction for a decade led by some of the big software companies.  Now it seems to be happening everywhere.  We have:

  1. Licensing at the enterprise level or at the individual user level or at the application level.
  2. Licensing is done when clients access services on a server.
  3. Products that you license probably require other licenses to use all the  features you see in the demonstrations.  The person doing the demonstration might make a statement that you’ll need X in order to do this collaboration feature, which is not included in the demonstrated product cost.
  4. Companies now have licensing experts to help sort all this out (hint, that is a sign that licensing is getting too complicated).
  5. Companies changing and revising their licensing methods every few years supposedly to help customers but more than likely to help them restructure agreements, void things that didn’t work well in earlier license schemes and restructure agreements to generate more profit.
  6. And we are seeing more audits by firms.  The licensing is more complicated, so we better do more audits…

If you have a complicated work force with mobile and office users, power users and casual users, a global work force and a mix of vendors on different platforms then this can be very challenging to manage.  Companies have to add more people just to manage their licenses and vendor relationships.

If you are a vendor, consider simplifying your licensing.   Help your customers be successful.  Make their lives easier and you’ll win longer term customers.

4 thoughts on “Licensing Challenges”

  1. Affordable enterprise licensing is the only reasonable and manageable approach. My attitude toward Microsoft would take a 180 if they had a rational licensing approach that wasn’t ignorant of how people access servers from the web and terminal services.

  2. Simplifying licensing is ideal, but as you mention, contracts and terms are often getting more complicated to address new usage models such as mobile computing, virtualization, remote terminal services, part-time usage, and others. The goal is to provide value to customers and license the software the way customers want to use it, but ensure that the pricing and reflects the value received from the usage.

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