5 Reasons Why Web Applications Need a Software Licensing Engine

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5 Reasons Why Web Applications Need a Software Licensing Engine

 

If you have a simple web application serving all of your users with exactly the same product or service on exactly the same terms, then the need for a sophisticated entitlement/licensing engine may not be that significant.

But, as soon as you offer a SaaS product that offers users access to different features, functions, or data, managing these access rights can quickly become quite complex to define, configure and manage.

This is where a dedicated entitlement engine provides significant value and is your best option to overcome all of this complexity.

In this blog we dive deeper into the complexity involved, to hopefully help you make a more informed decision on how you sell your web applications.

 

1. Managing User Access Becomes Complicated

Most web applications offer end users access to different features and functions. For example, a simple subscription based website may offer access to Bronze, Silver and Gold packages of features.

But even in such simple scenarios, there are many aspects specific to each user, to which access needs to be defined and controlled. This may include user activity data (for example, personal information), data the user creates (for example, public vs. private comments or posts) or the content they upload.

How access to this data is controlled for each user is typically taken care of by the application itself. In other words, access control sits within the scope of responsibility of the web application itself.

However, as the complexity of the web application increases (i.e. more variations of features and functions are offered to end users, or if the web application is part of a suite of other web applications offered by the same company), defining, enforcing and managing the specific user entitlements/licenses can also quickly become very complex.

So much so that it makes sense to externalize entitlement and licensing decisions to a dedicated authorization service.

 

2. Your Team Should Focus on the Product Instead of Solving Licensing Problems

This makes sense for three reasons.

First, architecturally, it allows each client application to focus on its own features and functions, without the need for worrying about the added complexity of license management.

Second, externalizing authorization decisions provides a software publisher more flexibility to define and offer access to users to its product, in the manner best suited to maximizing revenue and customer satisfaction for their target market.

Third, there is the opportunity cost that you should consider as well. Developing or maintaining a less-than-ideal system takes time and effort that your team could have used on your core product.

You wouldn’t build your own CRM software, and the same should be true for licensing systems.

 

3. Flexibility is Key When Offering a Product Suite

If a software publisher is publishing more than one application and authorization decisions remain within the scope of each application individually, offering a combination of applications as an ‘integrated’ suite becomes very difficult to do in practice.

Flexibility is the watch-word when using an externalized, back-end authorization engine that is in charge of user entitlements.

Products, product suites and feature sets that are sold commercially or provided on academic or trial licenses can be defined and configured centrally, with enforcement of these entitlements left to the client application. Authorization decisions are the responsibility of the externalized authorization engine.

This approach enables a vastly improved user experience in terms of the end user being able to license, view, and access a suite of complementary products.

 

4. Get a Single View Into License Usage in Real-time

An additional benefit of a dedicated licensing engine is that license data - relating to license usage, license assignment, license sharing and more - is stored centrally, and therefore it is much easier to gain a summary dashboard view of what is happening at any given time within the system.

By contrast, if authorization is defined and enforced within the client application, then it becomes much harder and unwieldy to easily access and view this information, particularly if there is more than one client application being licensed to customers.

These problems have given rise to entirely separate license monitoring applications like OpenLM and indeed the Software Asset Management industry more generally.

 

5. Selling a Mixed Product Suite Is Much Easier With a Centralized Licensing Engine

In the context of a mixed suite of applications (desktop, web and mobile), a centralized entitlement service becomes even more critical.

From a license management perspective, it allows the products provided by a software publisher to be defined and managed centrally.

Similarly, customer access to those products can be configured from the simplicity of a web application (see 10Duke SysAdmin), rather than having to manually issue license keys.

Without a centralized entitlement engine, you will be using different authorization technologies and methods to try to do the same thing as you can with a centralized entitlement service.

Unfortunately, this approach will be:

     a) less flexible

     b) more costly to run and manage

     c) limit your ability to create a seamless user experience and

     d) not be able to offer a centralized view on license data.

 

Conclusion

The advantages of using a centralized entitlement and authorization engine to both grant and manage customer licenses are many. It will help you:

     a) solve complexity

     b) gain flexibility

     c) manage user access

     d) gain a single source of truth regarding licenses

     e) easily offer mixed product suites

      f) focus on your core product.

If you’re considering new approaches to help better monetize your software applications, using an external license management and entitlement management service could be a good option.

To learn more, read our blog on how centralising your license management will increase your revenue.

Learn more about the capabilities of 10Duke Enterprise here.

 
 
 
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