We recently discussed the relatively new concept of the software supply chain. Today, we’re going to focus on a crucial link in that chain: licensing, and some of the top issues that can arise by failing to automate the distribution of your software.
Automate Software Licensing to Move Forward
Automating previously manual processes has improved industries and processes around the world for decades. From Netflix to Uber, we feel the effects of automation in our everyday lives. When you look at a hardware supply chain, you see automation taking over every step of the process. In the software world, however, this revolution is still fairly new, which gives you the opportunity to be at its forefront.
Given the complexity and ever-changing nature of software licensing, it makes sense that problems can arise along the way. But the truth is, many of the largest issues can be solved by automating previously manual processes in your licensing.
From our experience working with all kinds of software companies, these are the four most common problems you could face if you don’t automate your software licensing:
1) Manual Licensing is Expensive
Your employees’ time is valuable, and that’s especially true for your developers. You hired them for their skills and expertise in coding. When they’re forced to spend time on manual processes that could be done automatically, such as creating individual software licenses, they are wasting precious time and resources. Manual operations demand a level of manpower that automation doesn’t, and employees are expensive.
This inefficiency can quickly add up to a significant cost. Forbes estimates that when companies automate distribution of software, that process could save a company with 500 employees as much as $4 million per year. If you have a licensing team that could be drastically reduced, it's not hard to imagine how.
Just as elevator operators no longer send elevators to your desired floor, you don’t need to pay someone to manually license your product. Automating your licensing enables you to minimize employee time wasted on activities that would otherwise be required to manage these processes, and instead lets people focus on higher-value activities to help your business innovate and grow.
2) Lack of Automation Leads to More Errors and Slower Development
In addition to its direct cost in terms of headcount, manual work leads to more errors. There’s no way around the reality that license automation solutions are designed to avoid the types of human mistakes that are often unavoidable in large-scale manual operations. But perhaps most importantly to a growing company, not automating processes can also slow your development process.
Your top-tier developers may be forced to spend time away from their next big project to focus on easily avoidable issues and mistakes, such as licensing that was issued incorrectly or figuring out which entitlements have or haven’t been used.
Manual processes create extra work and inefficiencies at every stage in the software supply chain. Is your sales team manually writing down, tracking, and contacting all of your sales leads? Or are they embracing the automated age with one of any number of effective CRMs?
When it comes to optimizing your operations, licensing should be no different.
3) Servicing Channel Sales is Challenging
Channel sales are a great way for you to expand your business’ reach and increase your revenue, but they are far from perfect.
A crucial issue with channel sales lies in your inability to communicate directly with your customers, giving you less visibility on end-user details and a slower feedback cycle.
With advances in software licensing, you’re able to gain business insights into your customers and end-users in a way you’ve never had access to in the past. Capture these interactions, automate the process of fulfillment and delivery, and keep end-users up to date with the latest version of your software – regardless of what channel they come to you through.
4) Today’s Customers Demand a Modern Experience
It’s a reality that in today’s world, customer satisfaction drives better results. Keeping your clients happy is no longer optional – it’s essential. And one of the best ways to reduce your churn rate is to give your customers the self-service experience that they’ve come to know and love in the modern digital era. When you offer a cloud service experience, your customers can instantly purchase, download, and activate their own licenses – on their schedules. Keep them informed with automatic updates on product releases, bug fixes, renewal reminders, and more.
Manage customer communications, track entitlements, and notify your customers of changes quickly, easily, and without employee intervention.
With automated licensing, you can increase customer satisfaction by giving your customers what they want – a superior self-service experience.
It’s Never Too Late to Automate
No matter where your company is in terms of your growth, automating your licensing is a crucial step to grow your revenue and improve your customer experience.