I have a running debate with some of my Project Managers. I contend that a software licensing and entitlement management project will require involvement by more of the company and touch more people than an SAP project, and furthermore, that it’s more vital to the business success of a company.
While the traditional SAP project may be larger in scope of work, adoption of a software licensing and entitlement management project also has the added impact of directly affecting your customers beginning with and prior to the initial sale, continuing throughout use of your product and the entire product life cycle. Software licensing and entitlement management projects also more directly affect the revenue generation capability of a business by enabling new pricing and licensing models to be rapidly deployed.
Whereas most SAP projects focus on “Quote to Cash” business processes, our strategy consulting refers to the business process touched upon by an entitlement management system “Prospect to Support” (P2S) – indicating the broader and more customer-facing business use cases that need to be considered.
Done well, your business will be efficient, and more importantly, your customers will focus on what your product does and the value it brings to them.
But, if implemented poorly, then your customer’s first experience with your products may be a bad installation or an incorrect license and they’ll never even get to your product’s functionality. In addition, many manual processes may be required to address problems.
Cross functional participation is critical to the success of adopting and implementing a software licensing and entitlement management solution. This includes participation from Marketing, Engineering, Operations, Legal, Support, Sales, Sales Operations, and even direct customer feedback. Reaching across the organization, you have to solicit input from and participation by each department. You can involve these teams by creating an extended project team and gathering their requirements in a systematic way, vet the use cases and validate the solution. It will also be important to solicit input from trusted customers and end users. Their input will help to validate the solution and avoid rework.
It is amazing to me how many vendors assume they know what their customers are thinking, only to be surprised after a deployment.
Another goal is sustainability. You will need to keep a part-time cross-functional team as part of your organization – this ensures that ongoing enhancements and improvements are implemented in a balanced and coordinated fashion. Software licensing and entitlement management systems require timely enhancements to meet changing market and customer demands (e.g., new license models, cloud computing, virtualization, etc.). Keeping the cross-functional team in place also provides the benefit of having a “go-to” team whenever license and entitlement management issues arise in a company.
We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Your software licensing and entitlement management project will take the whole company as your solution matures into a world-class solution. It will take keeping everyone involved as well as updated on your progress, involving your customers and recognizing that everyone has a role in ensuring an ongoing and productive solution.
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 led the engineering efforts to create a common software licensing system for Cadence and Synopsis and spent the last four years working as a Project Manager for Flexera Software Global Services, leading the implementation of FlexNet applications for its largest and most complicated installations.