Most software producers already have systems in place to address Customer Relationship Management (CRM), financial management (ERP), and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). The PLM system assists the senior vice president of products in creating and bringing to market new products and product releases. These product releases become available within the CRM system to address the needs of the sales organization and leadership to track accounts, opportunities, and campaigns all in an effort to generate bookings. The financial management system turns the bookings information into revenue and balances the revenue against expenses to meet the needs of the CFO capturing entitlement information at a point in time.
All of these systems are very good at doing what they were designed to do but none of these systems is responsible for capturing and managing the lifecycle of a software entitlement. For example, the purchase of additional quantities of software licenses or units is only ever captured in the financial system as an add-on event and is typically not correlated to previous purchases. Likewise, trial software entitlements are often only originated from the CRM system without close ties to what has already been purchased and the conversion of the trial is not captured in the financial system—only the fact that the sale has occurred. Similarly, the PLM system tracks products and the relation to specific releases of the product but not what versions of the product a specific customer is entitled or the relation of those versions to a customer's maintenance payments.
The right Entitlement and Compliance Management solution brings together the information from these three systems into a central location to help producers:
- Speed revenue recognition – the right Entitlement and Compliance Management solution supports the distribution of products and software licenses in an automated and seamless manner so that products and software licenses can ship until the end of the quarter, expediting revenue recognition via integration with the financial system.
- Reduce customer support costs – your Entitlement and Compliance Management solution should centralize the management of customer products and software licenses, regardless of the underlying software license generation technology, allowing customers to self-manage product versions and the associated licensing of the versions reducing the need for customer support intervention. This is typically accomplished via integration with an existing customer support portal.
- Increase sales conversions – the solution should seamlessly integrate with CRM systems such as salesforce.com to facilitate the downloading of trial products and proactively facilitating the exchange of key data between the prospect and account manager during the trial period.
- Improve renewal rates – your Entitlement and Compliance Management solution should centralize and track the order information from the financial system creating a holistic view of the customer's software entitlements and subscriptions, allowing the renewals team to become proactively aware of expiring licenses and subscriptions.
Managing software entitlements is difficult. There is a lot of information that is constantly changing as applications move through their natural lifecycle. An Entitlement and Compliance Management solution integrated into your existing IT infrastructure brings all of the relevant information together across this lifecycle to both enhance revenue generation and streamline internal operations.