Entitlement Management Unlocks the Value of Your Support and Training Offerings
Sentinel EMS has long established itself as the leading Entitlement Management solution. At its core, entitlement technology helps you monetize software by managing customer rights to use software features. But many providers are looking for ways to monetize non-software value. Now you can. With Sentinel EMS, you can grow revenue by easily monetizing support, training, and other valuable parts of your offering.
Read on to learn how EMS can be used to manage these service-based offerings alongside more conventional product entitlements.
What are support and training entitlements?
In simplest terms, a support and training entitlement is a non-software entitlement. It is an entitlement that is not bound to any form of license enforcement or activation process, and is used to define a service contract based on duration, quantity, and also any individual sub-components of the contract such as SLA times or RMA period.
Extended Offering Supports
Professional Services Billable Hours
Software Entitlements for Maintenance Contracts
The first thing we will look at is how entitlements can be used for product maintenance contracts, where a customer subscribes to additional services related to the type of product support coverage they can receive.
In this example, a vendor offers their products on a standard annual subscription basis.
In addition to the subscription, they also offer tiered product maintenance packages:
- Bronze Maintenance provides access to technical support
- Silver Maintenance provides same as Bronze, plus patch updates
- Gold Maintenance provides same as Silver, plus version upgrades
To enable this, the customer would receive two entitlements, one for the product and another for the maintenance package they have purchased.
The entitlement defines the base attributes of the contract such as duration, but it can also leverage additional attributes to define more fine-grained components of the maintenance offering. This very similar to the way a more traditional product entitlement would leverage features.
Extended Support Offerings
Now let us look at how different support offerings could be included alongside a conventional product license.
In the below example, the customer has a subscription license which is valid for 1 year. This is their first year as a customer, so they also purchase 6 months of access to a Technical Account Manager (TAM) to help them with initial rollout, onboarding, etc. They also purchase Premium Technical Support to run alongside the product subscription, but since they have access to the TAM, they want the start of this to be delayed by 3 months.
This is where the flexibility with these entitlements starts to become much more apparent, since co-terming of support contracts and license subscriptions is not always the preferred way of doing things. Whilst co-terming is often the more conventional approach, there are valid scenarios where independent terms would be needed and the system supports both options.
Software Entitlements for Training Packages
This is a fundamentally different use case since in this example the entitlements are consumable in an incremental manner. Here, the customer purchases a fixed number of training modules that they are free to use as they see fit.
Each time they access a training module their entitlement is decremented and the number of remaining sessions is updated to reflect what the customer has left to use.
In the next diagram, we will look again at the interactions between components in a more typical real-life scenario. Here, the customer would receive an entitlement for the training session, which they could then present to a training portal when they request access to a training session.
As before, the training portal will interact with Sentinel EMS, only this time, the training portal is consuming the entitlement by decrementing the count as training courses are accessed.
It is assumed in this example that the vendor has an existing training portal in place, and this portal can leverage a web service connector to facilitate the communication to Sentinel EMS.
- As part of an order process, customer receives an entitlement for their training bundle.
- They log into their corporate training portal and request access to a module.
- The training portal will communicate with Sentinel EMS via published REST web services and request that the entitlement is decremented.
- Provided the entitlement has sufficient quota, EMS performs the decrement and confirms back to the training
- portal (again via web services) that the entitlement has been decremented. The training portal uses that conformation to grant access to the training module.
Software Entitlements for Professional Services Billable Hours
The last example is very similar to the training example above, only a Professional Services engineer will be working with the customer to mutually agree the number of hours used, and will perform the decrement actions to EMS themselves. But as with any of the cases, both vendor and customer are able to query Sentinel EMS and determine how many hours have been consumed versus how many are left to use.
Bringing it all together
The value of entitlements for support and training becomes even more apparent when entitlements are used as a tool in a robust monetization strategy. By leveraging Sentinel EMS for product license entitlements as well as support & training entitlements, both vendors and customers are offered a single pane of glass view for their products and the additional support services related to those products.
Customers benefit from a consistent experience, and you benefit from being able to efficiently monetize all the value you provide.
© Thales - December 2022 • BBv1