Software licenses have evolved far from their humble origins as smart tools to beat the threat of piracy. Today, they are one of the driving forces of any business in the digital, software-powered economy. Cloud computing has given this evolution another shot in the arm, as it has broken the traditional supremacy of monolithic permanent or temporary licenses with a plethora of ingenious service models to match the rapidly changing needs of users and the agile business strategies of vendors. Subscription-type models in particular are becoming more and more popular, including in industry: Users can get access to state-of-the-art technology for a small and manageable fee, and vendors benefit from predictable income streams and the opportunity to adjust their offerings to go with the flow of the market. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
This is where companies like WibuSystems come into their own. Their CodeMeter technology supports no fewer than 20 licensing models, ranging from traditional licenses to custom options for even niche requirements.
• Features-on-demand: It might be tough to admit, but it is very rare for a user to utilize every single feature and function of their software, at least when starting out. A feature-on-demand model allows users to pay only for those parts they genuinely need, and to power up their software by activating add-on features remotely when and where they require them.
This needs no complex logistical underpinnings, and it works perfectly even for hardware devices: With the capabilities already built into the device, a license will activate the dormant functions.
• Pay-per-use licenses: Usagebased models are a favorite for many users, especially for those that rely on a feature only sporadically to cope with peaks and troughs in demand. Desoutter Industrial Tools has added an extremely creative twist to this basic concept: The company allows users to buy credits for using their tools’ features, giving them unparalleled freedom in return for their investment, as they can spend the credits whenever a function or service is needed.
• Volume-based licenses: A common choice for industrial and institutional clients, licenses can be bought by the batch to match the number of seats or users. With massive numbers of licenses typically changing hands in such scenarios, the vendors and clients have considerable leeway in negotiating the unit price, depending on the type, quantity, and prospective use of the licenses, and the ability to audit their correct use.
• Leasing and borrowing: Users can also choose to not buy an application or device outright, but to rent or borrow a license for using it for a defined period. The taken license is flagged and not available for other users until the term ends, the local license expires, and the license on the server is freed up again.
For added freedom, licenses can be returned early or renewed before the time is up. This is a boon for smaller enterprises, as they can buy a pool of licenses to hand out to their users when they need them out and about, for maintenance services in the field, visits to clients, or working from home.
Modern licensing models can give businesses the winning hand in their market, if they stay on their toes and find the right response to what their users truly need.