I have never been a security guy. I have always been a business intelligence guy: data, data, data, all about data. The entire BI industry preaches: data driven decision making, trust your data instead of your gut etc…
Back in 2010, after having worked for a couple of years as a consultant for a BI software vendor, I was assigned with the company’s product management. This was a completely different field requiring a profound understanding of the company, the market and the customers. I would have to take critical decisions about the development of the product and since we were a BI ISV preaching a data driven approach, I started asking questions and seeking data:
- How many customers do we have and which products/editions do they use?
- Where are our customers based?
- How many customers do we acquire/loose per month (churn)?
- How many of them are active/inactive?
- How many of them are direct/indirect (reseller acquisition)?
- Which product versions (builds) are (not) used?
- Which features are (not) used?
Unfortunately, there were no direct answers to these questions. We had no tool or solution for such questions, not even in Excel. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to come up with an idea: Our licensing database!!! Just as so many ISVs we had developed an in house licensing solution for product activation. This was my only chance to get some insights. So I started a small business (or license) intelligence project in order to extract and visualize the necessary information. Ultimately, I was not able to get everything, but a decent part of it. It was not an easy task but I managed to get through. Nevertheless, what happens to the poor CEO/Product Manager/Business Analyst that does not have a licensing database or the necessary BI skills?
This is how the first seeds of a licensing intelligence solution were born in my head… I started realizing that licensing is beyond copy protection and/or product activation, a very powerful tool for product analytics.