Last time I outlined the Characteristics of a Successful Software Licensing Program. However a licensing program is only as good as its entitlement management program. Dedicated entitlement management is described as follows:
"An Entitlement Management Program is the loosely coupled but highly cohesive partner to the Successful License Program. This dedicated system should be completely separate from any existing ERP or CRM system. These systems are dedicated to financial and customer driven responsibilities, respectively, and make poor substitutes. Entitlement Management for licensing should be a "hub" of all operational activities and license-based business process. "
Entitlement management should be operational model driven. Operation models are driven by means of several business drivers that encourage new revenue models, streamline operational costs and improve the customer experience. These drivers help define the corporate business goals, customer needs and competitive business practices required for a successful operational model. Once these goals are determined the business level process can be developed within but not limited to the following categories: revenue based entitlements, non-revenue entitlements, entitlement administration, license fulfillment process, license lifecycle, customer management and transition planning. Each of these categories will typically have several business specific use-cases that will need to be supported.
The operational model based entitlement management program is manifested through the ideology of an entitlement hub. The entitlement hub is the container in which one can pour their business hopes and dreams to maintain a competitive edge. The entitlement hub defines the business level interfaces for the operational model to function. The entitlement hub is service oriented architecture broken into several distinct modules that control the functionality required for each of the operational model categories. For instance, the module responsible for the policy and management of revenue-based entitlements is the entitlement hub Order Manager. This module is loosely coupled but highly cohesive with the business level interface that will integrate with external financial systems that contain order data.
Once each of these modules and business level interfaces have been defined a premier entitlement management and license fulfillment engine such as FlexNet Operations should be leveraged to maintain a system of record of entitlement and license fulfillment data. This system of record should also have a template to easily define new license models and metrics. There should also be a mechanism to allow license fulfillment of legacy or homegrown license technologies. The ease of being able to add new license platforms and new integrations to external systems through well-defined business level data contract will result in a sophisticated merger and acquisition platform. This allows companies to grow both organically and in-organically (through acquisition) with minimal overhead to merge heterogeneous business process.
Another characteristic of a successful entitlement management program is providing a self-service portal built on top of the entitlement hub ideology. This will provide customers with a place where they can self-manage their licenses and entitlements. Also it makes a great place for customer to manage their lifecycle operations for such things as entitlement moves/transfers, license returns and re-hosts of their entitled rights. The self-service portal should not be limited to just customers, internal users can also benefit from a dedicated self-service portal. A sales and support team will gain much insight on their customer base from a self-service portal that provides visibility into their customer's entitlements. Affiliates and distributors can also benefit from a dedicated self-service portal for their needs providing visibility into complex organization hierarchies for their largest partners.
What characteristics are critical to your entitlement management program?