I recently participated in our Regional SoftSummit Briefings in Cambridge, MA and Houston, TX. At both events I asked for a show of hands of Producers who share entitlement information with end customers using a web UI and much to my surprise, there were none.
In my experience, there is immense value for Producers to provide entitlement information to their customers online, easily accessible with downloadable reports, available 7×24.
What is an Entitlement vs. a License?
Before I list the benefits, let's all make sure we are using the word "entitlement" the same way. ISO 19770-2 defines an entitlement as: License use rights or rights to a service, as defined through agreements between a software licensee or user (and recipient of service) and a software copyright holder or service provider
I don't think that's quite right. I would add:
- A recording of a license use right or rights…
Instead of worrying about academic definitions – perhaps we can agree on the definition by using an example:
- Sales person has a special end-of-year sale – buy 1000+, get 50% off
- Customer purchases 2000
- Customer then takes that 2,000 and gets a license key for a number of departmental servers:
- 100 for Utah
- 500 for California
- 500 for 北京
- 300 for Europe
- And the remaining 600 to be used later
The entitlement is the record that says:
Customer A has rights to 2000 of thing X
The licenses are the 100, 500, etc. that are installed on various license servers.
The Value of Sharing Entitlement Information Online
By providing entitlement information and making it available to customers and/or partners, consumers of this information can answer questions like:
- Producer sales person: Does Customer A have rights to this feature/product?
- Channel partner: An upgrade is coming up – who is using the current version a lot so I can do training campaign?
- Channel partner: Which of my customers have maintenance or subscription licenses expiring in the next 90 days?
- Customer/enterprise IT manager: Wants to a plan next year's license budget - pulls a report to get feedback on use from all his constituents.
- Customer/enterprise IT manager: Wants to plan next year's maintenance budget – pulls a report of all expiring maintenance entitlements.
- Customer/enterprise IT manager: Is running out of licenses and wants to see which departments might have some under used licenses.
- Customer/enterprise IT manager: Is planning that a division is going to be spun out as a separate company and wants to determine entitlement and license impacts.
Besides data mining advantages, there is one "unspoken" value:
- It's much easier to hold a customer accountable to keeping compliant – if you (as a Producer) tell them what you think they have and make that available anytime they want
The Value of Not Sharing Entitlement Information Online
I can't think of a reason…. Are there any reasons you can think of?
Related Software Entitlement Management Blogs:
- Software license compliance – Who is responsible for it?
- Consider How Software is Deployed to Drive Adoption of New Licensing and Entitlement Models
- Integrating Entitlement Management into Your Existing IT Infrastructure
- Best Practice: Publishers should provide software entitlement and maintenance information to customers and channel partners 7×24
- Supercharge your Software Licensing Revenue & Digital Goods Revenue Streams
- Can you quickly and accurately determine your installed base?
- Maintenance Deserves the Same Respect as Your Software License