Automating the Licensing Process – A Blessing for the Vendor AND the Licensee

As I explained in my first post, my first acquaintance with licensing came through my analysis requirements. Since we already had an in-house solution (which experienced colleagues of mine praised, considering it superior to others) and everything seemed to work fine, I naively believed that licensing would not considerably bother me. After all, product managers are supposed to be visionaries crafting new functionality and ways to sell their product, right?

Well, not exactly… Here a (non-exhaustive) list of time consuming issues I had to cope with:

  1. Hardware Migration: One of our products was device-bound, which meant that could be activated on maximum one device. While our mechanism did function, our customers could not self-administer hardware migration. In other words, we had to manually update the license database in order to register a new server name.
  2. Peaks: Very often, clients requested peak licenses in order to tackle seasonality. Unfortunately, peak licenses were not part of our in-house solution, so I had to abuse our trial licenses, which resulted in a vicious spaghetti landscape.
  3. Trials and Renewals: I had to authorize every trial license request and (even worse) it’s in many cases renewal. Since renewals were not part of our in-house solution, renewal meant a new trial license.
  4. Partners/Resellers: It is great to have additional channels, but there are several issues to consider: how to create licenses for a partner organization and its employees. How to make sure they are not (intentionally or not) abused. How to deal with expired partner deals etc.

So, I had to learn the hard way, that the licensing could be indeed optimized. Not only in order to save internal resources, but above all in order to improve the end-user (Licensee, partner or reseller) experience.

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