The Ten Step Process: Step 7 – Designing “Prospect to Support” (P2S) Software Licensing Business Processes – Converting Your High-Tech Company into a Thriving Software Company

To effectively sell and deploy software licenses, it's important to define and design all of the associated business processes required to support the business to market, sell, and support products. These processes will form the foundation of the deployment of subsequent ERP, CRM, and entitlement management systems that will be used to perform most of the business processes.

In most companies, the name for the collection of these business processes is often called something like "quote-to-invoice" (Q2I) or "quote-to-collect" (Q2C). This is a good approach when working with business processes that define the supply chain for the delivery of physical goods.

When we work with customers in the world of software licensing, we call the collection of these business processes "Prospect to Support" (P2S). This may sound like simply another name for the same collection of processes, but it includes additional business processes required for deploying software that may not be required for marketing and delivering physical goods. It also underscores how many high-tech device manufacturers design business process that fail as they move to deploying software or software up-sells in their supply chain.

Business processes for software (or the software up-sell) start before the quoting process. Software is often made available to customers as part of an evaluation or demonstration process. This may include hardware as well. Also, after invoicing occurs, there are still many business process use cases that need to be defined – these are the business processes that make up the software license lifecycle activities described in the previous blog. These business processes define the ongoing support, and upgrades/updates to software that occur over time.

All of these processes are important for managing the ongoing relationship with your customer, from the time they are a prospect in the opportunity management systems (CRM), through all of the lifecycle activities that occur after the initial sale. This includes customer-facing use cases, as well as internal administrative use cases. The importance behind all of these processes is to maintain an accurate view of customer activity and the customer configuration, while enabling effective product delivery and financial account (revenue recognition process and schedules).

We group these 60-70 use cases into 9 groups that include:

  • Non-Revenue Entitlement – these include pre-sales demonstration and evaluation processes
  • Revenue Entitlement – these include all revenue generating entitlements including new product sales, conversion sale of try-before-you buy to production, add-on product sale, upgrade sales, license and maintenance renewal, etc. This includes variance to adjust for channel method, or type of customer.
  • Administrative Entitlements – these business processes are usually designed to enable other revenue bearing entitlements. An example is creating an entitlement for a software update if the customer has purchased a support agreement), or the processes for adding new customers and products to CRM and ERP systems
  • Entitlement Administration – these business processes usually include the effect of managing customer changes (e.g. change of address or name due to M&A or divestiture)
  • License Fulfillment – these business processes refer to the different ways that customers receive their software and any associated software licenses for a variety of conditions (e.g. connected to internet, sometimes connected to internet, "black sites", etc.)
  • License Lifecycle – these processes define how customers can manage their software license assets (in an automated fashion)
  • Customer Support – these processes define how to support the customer for different situations
  • Business Intelligence – These are less about processes, than about the different types of information the business requires about the various "Prospect to Support" activity
  • Transition Planning – these are the processes and methods that involve approaches to simplify the acquisition of another company whose processes and methods need to be consolidated with the existing processes

Once these processes are identified, they can be mapped out and designed into systems. Going through these use-cases are enlightening, and can help identify where change may be required in order to effectively deploy software.

Next Time: Step 8 – Empower Customers with Software Licensing and Entitlement Management Self-Serve Capabilities

Categories: Entitlement Management, General, High-Tech Manufacturers, Software Licensing, Software Updates

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