By Jim Berthold
Software vendors and intelligent device manufacturers incur significant costs distributing software
releases, updates, patches, etc. through physical shipments (can be on the order of $50/ea.). Not
only is it resource intensive (release, burn, package, ship) it also introduces significant delays with both revenue recognition as well as customer availability. Managing customer access to software based on existing maintenance contracts is non-trivial.
Simple ftp-based software delivery systems require significant overhead to manage as each end customer will either need their own file directory structure or will have to navigate a large library of available products to find their desired products. Alternatively customers are provided access to ALL products/versions which can lead to confusion and downloads for products they don’t own licenses and entitlements to. Update notifications are very difficult to manage with such approaches. The resulting customer experience is typically quite poor and the software company is not only spending a lot to manage such a system but is losing out on revenue by providing customers access to software they aren’t entitled to.
What’s needed is a simple and effective means to electronically deliver entitlement-based software and updates to the end customer. Use of electronic software delivery can result in immediate revenue recognition and increased customer satisfaction since they are now in control. Entitlement-based access eliminates the need for managing complex ftp directory structures and also helps prevent downloads of incompatible or unlicensed software.
With such a system in place, customers receive order notification emails that include a link to your electronic software delivery site. From there, they see a listing of all the software products they own entitlements to. They can download their software and see accurate records of what they’ve downloaded. Better yet, as a vendor you can automate communication about upgrades/updates to the right customers through your entitlement management system. Customers that are current on maintenance will be eligible to receive and download the upgrade while customers whose maintenance has expired prior to the release date will not have the ability to download and use the update.
Physical delivery of software adds a significant cost and unnecessary time delays in getting your customers their entitled software. Basic ftp sites are cumbersome to manage on a per-customer basis and do not lend themselves well to providing a high degree of customer satisfaction as they are not designed to provide this functionality. An entitlement-based electronic software delivery system provides intuitive, immediate access to entitled software as well as an effective means to notify and provide immediate access to software updates. And, your customers have a common download experience for all products. You reduce costs by eliminating physical product delivery and only providing upgrades to entitled customers.