Implementing some form of licensing control inside of your software will help protect against theft, increase sales, reduce labor costs, maintain control of your software, and help satisfy varied customer licensing requirements. Today’s market demands this!
Whether you are a software developer or manager, one of the first questions you will face is whether you should buy or build a licensing system.
Ultimately this is more of a business decision than a technical one, and the total cost of ownership (TCO) should be considered when making your choice.
This article provides some considerations to help you in your decision making process.
You or your development team may be thinking, “We are smart. Shouldn’t we just build our own licensing system?” While it may be quick to prototype a simple licensing and activation algorithm (after all, that’s how the first version of SoftwareKey Protection PLUS was born!), it can also be a troublesome distraction for your software development team in the long run. So choose carefully!
Building your own custom licensing system can provide:
A licensing system has many considerations, such as hardware, maintenance, and industry updates… you don’t have time for it all! Even enterprise level companies with home-grown technology are choosing to take advantage of the benefits offered by third party solutions. The companies behind the commercial solutions often have decades of experience, and full-time staff who can look after their licensing solution, including keeping up with new platforms.
Using a commercial licensing system provides:
Here are some questions to consider when deciding whether to buy or build a licensing system for your software application:
How important is it that my core resources be free to focus on the central operations of the business rather than innovating in other areas such as licensing?
Buying a solution saves significant time and resources you would otherwise have to invest in writing your own solution. Beyond that, having the resources to maintain the software is often the deal breaker in a fast changing technological climate. Don’t forget setting up and managing the server infrastructure as an additional ongoing task.
How important is it to me to have access to a licensing expert to help navigate and recommend the best ways of licensing?
There are many ways to license your software. An outsourced licensing provider often has years of experience to draw upon when seeking the right solutions for you.
Do I want to potentially implement a wide variety of licensing models from the start or is it ok for my development team to build them over time? How much flexibility in a licensing solution do I want for my customers?
A commercial licensing solution has already developed code to handle flexible licensing models and can accommodate:
Do I need my licensing solution to be scalable to handle fluctuations?
Five licenses one day, twelve million the next? Maybe your software is used seasonally and usage rises and falls dramatically throughout the year? Be aware that some licensing solutions have minimums and maximums and can charge for licenses that you never use.
Do I want to be able to support my customers beyond the initial sale by easily being able to offer updates and upgrades, transfers or other changes?
Third party solutions typically offer much more sophistication than in-house solutions.
When a customer can’t run my software because of an operating system upgrade, security patch, software conflict, or proxy server, how much value do I place on having someone to contact to figure out a solution?
Sometimes the support behind a software product or service is more important than the actual features it provides.
There is no doubt that implementing a licensing system for your company’s software has many benefits. Throughout this document, we tried to be impartial in helping you choose between building your own and buying a commercial licensing system. We believe, however, that the SoftwareKey System offers the best commercially-available licensing system backed by countless testimonials of excellent support. Check out this testimonial from a satisfied SoftwareKey customer after 9 years of use:
“I would certainly recommend SoftwareKey to others on the basis that their support is second to none. Other suppliers I have dealt with sometimes take days to respond to a support call. Every e-mail I have sent to SoftwareKey – and there have been quite few – has always been answered straight away with good sound advice. Each support analyst is very familiar with their product and provides excellent, precise support.”
– Mark Fonseca, 3000AD Systems
We know you have many choices when evaluating commercial licensing systems. The SoftwareKey System offers the best technology, experience, and support at prices that are far cheaper and much faster than building your own solution:
The big advantage of buying the SoftwareKey System for your application is that you get a lot of functionality ready to go at a far cheaper price and much faster than if you were to build it yourself. Plus, you have our experienced licensing resources to help and support your team, allowing you to focus your efforts on your core product line.
Mike Wozniak is one of the co-founders of SoftwareKey.com and responsible for marketing, content and product strategy. When he isn't plotting new ways to help customers solve licensing and business automation challenges, he likes to travel and entertain guests who come to visit the Orlando area. He also writes most of the licensing tips here.
Licensing Plug-ins for Other Applications: 5 Tips
Why Software Licensing is a Smart Move
What you need to know about distributing and updating licensed software
Licensing for non-visual software and services
How to Protect a Web Application with Licensing Controls
7 Ways License Automation Increases Revenue and Saves Time