Software Monetization is the Holy Grail for software vendors and intelligent device manufacturers as they try to increase revenues or grow into a more profitable business.
The third component is often overlooked and usually the most complex.
The typical systems with which an entitlement management system should be integrated are CRM, ERP, CPQ, and eCommerce. These integrations will allow the entitlement management system to be the single source of truth and enable the software producer to see an integrated view of customer entitlements across multiple business units and product lines:
- A sales person selling new products or services would have easy access to valuable information, such as purchase history, quantity, date of expiration, usage, and upgrades.
- The renewals agent would have timely information about the expiration dates of maintenance contracts or subscriptions for the products and services a customer has purchased.
- The support team would now have a single system at their disposal to respond to and resolve all issues related to licensing and entitlements.
There are many benefits, including: cost savings, increased performance for different business functions, greater sales success and higher customer satisfaction.
Tips for successful integration
Each integration project is different. They are different in size, complexity, business context and drivers, critical success factors and executive expectations. However, there are common themes and best practices which will allow you to stay away from the usual pitfalls and ensure your implementation is a success.
Integration projects will usually touch upon multiple business divisions – sales, order management, support, renewals, product management, IT, etc. Hence it is essential to have strong and committed executive sponsorship. Depending on the size and nature of the systems to be integrated with your entitlement management solution, these projects can take some time. Hence, it is essential to have strong project and program management practices in place to support such an endeavor.
On the technical dimension, it is very important to have the data contracts established very firmly and agreed upon by all impacted system owners. The non-functional requirements play as important a role as the functional ones. The critical non-functional requirements need to be identified early on and a proper strategy to address and test them should be handled during the design. That leads to another important challenge – system integration testing. Multiple teams and multiple systems are generally involved in running a successful test case. Planning should begin early, and the data requirements for testing should be identified at the onset.
There is a lot to be gained
Increased revenue and lower costs are some of the benefits that may be derived almost immediately after a successful integration project. In addition to these tangible benefits, there are also some very important intangible ones. Employee moral goes up when they find their productivity goes up. Your customers will be happier when they find that their issues related to licensing and entitlement management drop drastically. Also, they will benefit from a 24x7 self-service and a significantly shorter resolution time for issues handled by your support.
With a little preparation and learning from people who have travelled the path before, the journey can be just as rewarding as the final destination.