Deciding to upgrade your software licensing and entitlement system is never an easy task, but it’s one that will provide tremendous operational savings and revenue growth. These projects are typically driven from one of two groups, either product management has decided that a new software licensing is needed to manage the growth and security of their Intellectual Property (IP) or IT has decided that the current Entitlement and Software Licensing System is too outdated, can’t scale and requires too many manual steps to handle the current or planned workload.
Getting these two groups together to see the “vision” of a common Entitlement and Software Licensing Management System and how the two systems are intricately tied together is no easy task, as product management and IT do not typically collaborate on projects. Each group is driven by different motivations and has differing views of what is needed. This is reminiscent of the blind men standing around an elephant who each describe a completely different view of reality. No one is wrong; they just don’t have the complete picture.
So how do we get these groups to work together? This is where enlisting senior management for each organization is key. It’s imperative that product management provides IT senior management its view of the future world, while at the same time IT shares the value of a new and more automated system with product management. The thought leaders from each group need to band together and create a common vision for what the Entitlement and Software Licensing Management System program is and how it will improve operations as well as the impact to customer facing products and services.
Once this combined vision is established, showing both impacts and improvements to IT and product management, it’s time to get the rest of the company involved. To do this, IT and product management need to establish thought leaders to reach out and engage the organization. This includes communicating on the vision established by product management and IT outside the traditional sphere of influence to ensure that the common vision for the Entitlement and Software Licensing Management System program is communicated across the organization.
If you stay only within your chain of command or comfort zone it will be hard, if not impossible, for others to understand why an Entitlement and Software Licensing Management program will benefit them. This organization evangelism is crucial to the success of any Entitlement and Software Licensing Management project; and without it, too often, the “great idea” is lost in other priorities. The thought leaders must reach out to other departments, including sales, operations, legal, and marketing to get consensus and buy-in.
Just incorporating licensing into your product won’t be effective. You must have a system for managing the activation and entitlement of your software licenses. Similarly, if you have a flexible and automated Entitlement and Software License Management system but your products are limited by the license technology, you won’t be able to take advantage of the market or business opportunities available. Bringing both organizations together and reaching out to other departments across the company will ensure you are able to realize the benefits and synergy of the collective solution and see that the benefits far outweigh the cost to any one group.
Customers don’t buy your products because of your great software licensing technology or because your Entitlement and Software Licensing Management System is easy to use, but providing your customers with a great licensing system and an easy-to-use Entitlement and Software Licensing Management System will ensure you are always focused on your product features and functionality which is your key differentiator in the market.
The key to making a successful software licensing & entitlement management project a reality – reach out and get alignment across the organization, if you get that buyoff early on you will be able to realize the benefits and savings from a great Entitlement and Software Licensing Management System.
Victor Hoisington is a PMI Certified PMP and an ITIL Service Master and has worked with software licensing and entitlement management systems for over 20 years. He has led the engineering efforts to create a common software licensing system for Cadence and Synopsis and has spent the last four years working as a Project Manager for Flexera Software Global Services leading the implementation of FlexNet applications for our largest and most complicated installations.