Among the steps in your software supply chain, licensing stands out as a crucial, yet complicated link. Finding a software licensing management platform which enables your business to grow, is as important as picking the right CRM or ERP.

The ideal software licensing tool can help you increase operational efficiency, capture revenue opportunities, gain business insights, and improve customer satisfaction.

But finding the right system for your needs can be complicated. When you’re searching for the right software licensing tool, which features and capabilities should be your top priority

These are the top five essential elements to look for when choosing your software licensing management solution:

1) Simplifies Licensing Operations

From creating, maintaining, and renewing licenses to supporting new business models and products, licensing is complicated. It’s traditionally one of the most challenging and least understood steps in your software supply chain. As a software licensing company, our goal is to simplify this difficult process and give your end-users a seamless experience.

According to Sreedhar Tatavarthi, our Director of Product Management, “Ideally, licensing should stay in the background and out of everyone’s way. The best licensing is the licensing that the end-user is not even aware of.”

When looking for a software licensing tool, you want to try and find one that makes your life easier.

An issue many large and successful enterprise software companies face is the astronomical number of software product SKUs in their system. One way to keep your sanity in check is to reduce the SKU explosion with version-less products and entitlements. Due to many mergers, acquisitions, splits and offshoots, companies can often run into the problem of having many individual product SKUs for offerings that are essentially the same. Corporations can have tens of thousands of unique SKUs that they need to track and understand separately. Version-less products allow you to constantly upgrade your offering without having to create new entitlements for your customers. This can drastically cut down on the amount of SKUs you need to track, making operations more successful with less work.

When HPE switched to their new Sentinel entitlement management system, they were able to reduce the number of their active software product SKUs by nearly 70% — from 73,000 to 22,000. “We left a lot of products behind when we did this initial transformation and it made life a heck of a lot easier,” said Dana Whitmore, Software Supply Chain Strategy, Technology and Capability Enablement for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Trying to manage data migration for 22,000 products is a much different animal than managing data migration for 73,000.”

2) Integrates Smoothly with Existing Systems

You already know that licensing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, it’s a crucial link in your software supply chain. When you’re looking for the right software licensing management tool, prioritize finding one that has a rich API and integrates easily with other systems in your backend. This will make it much easier to begin using it, make your team more likely to get on board, and increase your chances for success.

You also need your licensing platform to eliminate manual inefficiencies in favor of automated processes. This concept pairs perfectly with prioritizing systems that will integrate easily with your existing network. When you automate your processes, you can fully integrate with your other systems, databases and platforms along your software supply chain.

It’s important to note that no matter how much you automate, some tasks will always need to be done manually. For example, creating products and updates can be done manually, but every step of your software supply chain after an order is received should ideally be automated. From storing customer data in your CRM to delivering automated software updates, create a smoother and more integrated process by automating as many links of your software supply chain as possible.

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3) Helps You to be Future-Proof

Heraclitus once said that the only constant is change. While that’s true in any business, it’s especially accurate when it comes to software. Businesses like yours need to be agile, flexible, and have the ability to introduce new business models quickly.

Whether you’ve settled on offering subscription, usage-based, or any other type of software licensing model, you need the ability to be flexible and change your pricing structure as often as necessary.

At the rate that the market has shifted recently, there may already be software pricing models that your customers want and you haven’t heard of. And whatever business models you’re currently offering, you can be confident that it won’t be the same a year from now, as new business models are introduced to the market.

When you’re looking for a software licensing vendor, you need to focus on finding one who will enable the flexibility that’s necessary to protect your business against whatever the future might hold.

4) Enables Your Successful Transition to the Cloud

SaaS and cloud adoption are growing more and more each year, in many cases even disrupting on-premise software.“The increasing adoption of SaaS applications and other cloud services impacts the management, dissemination and exploitation of Enterprise content,” according to Craig Roth, Research Vice President at Gartner. “Organizations are steadily — but not exclusively — shifting their content environments to SaaS.

Gartner also predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market, estimated at $206 billion in 2019, will exceed $278 billion by 2021.

Whether you’re fully ready to migrate to the cloud, or like many independent device vendors (IDVs), you need a hybrid model of cloud and on-prem software, you need to find a licensing management solution that is capable of meeting the market’s evolving demands.

When your licensing is managed in the cloud, you also have the ability to offer your customers crucial options such as Named User Licensing, enabling them to connect to your software on any device they need.

Software license management in the cloud offers a wide range of advantages over on-premise options, but the common theme is simply that the cloud grants you the flexibility you need to keep up with the evolving market.

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5) Reduces Risk and Increases Business Agility

Last, but most certainly not least, you need a service provider that delivers a secure, resilient, and highly available service built for the cloud.

A licensing system delivered as a service reduces your risk by implementing ongoing compliance programs based on industry standards like ISO 27001 and SOC 2, to achieve data privacy and compliance with the strictest regulations such as GDPR.

As you grow and scale your business, 24×7 support becomes critical, and this includes licensing. A software licensing service built for the cloud, will be resilient and highly available ensuring licensing operations are available on demand. This is usually accomplished with an SLA (Service Level Agreement) of at least 99.99%, redundancy and a platform that can scale to support your business.

A world class service provider will reduce your risk and enable you to focus your investments in strategic areas that drive growth. A secure, resilient, highly available and cloud-native software licensing service, can reduce risk and increase business agility, fueling faster innovation and increasing your competitive advantage.

No matter where your company is in terms of your growth, automating your licensing is a crucial step to grow your revenue and improve your customer experience. Don’t allow manual inefficiencies in your software supply chain slow your scale.

Licensing is a Critical Step in Your Software Supply Chain

When it comes time to choose a software licensing management tool, there are many considerations to keep in mind. Ultimately, licensing is a complicated but crucial link in your software supply chain, and finding the right tool to help you generate revenue, increase operational efficiency, improve customer satisfaction and gain business insights, will have a major effect on your bottom line.

(Source: Thales blog)