Key Takeaway

Effective software license management is key for publishers and companies to prevent revenue loss and maintain compliance.


Confused about "Software License Management"? You're not alone. This term is often used in the software industry to describe two distinct solutions for separate issues. In this article, we'll explain these two types of license managers to help you find the right solution, focusing on Software License Management Tools.




What Is Software License Management?

Software License Management (SLM) involves overseeing software licenses, but a key aspect is often overlooked: who is doing the licensing? Are you licensing your software to end-users, or have you obtained licenses from other companies to use their software? 

The meaning of software license management varies based on whether you're managing licenses for your users or tracking licenses you've acquired from different software providers. These two scenarios are fundamentally different aspects of SLM, each requiring its own set of Software License Management Tools.

Basically, these two use cases are the opposite sides of the same coin.


The Two Types of Software License Management

A software license manager serves two distinct purposes:

  1. Software publishers utilize it to issue, deliver, monitor, and revoke licenses for their customers, a process known as software licensing, an area in which 10Duke specializes. This can also be referred to as "Software License Enforcement."
  2. Companies that have acquired numerous licenses from various software vendors, often in large quantities, employ a software license manager to monitor usage and facilitate audits. This practice is commonly referred to as "Software Asset Management" (SAM).

Here are some quick insights into what SAM entails and its target audience.


What Is a Software Asset Management Solution?

For companies licensing various software from different providers, keeping track can be challenging. Having too many licenses can lead to overspending, while too few can result in compliance issues with vendors. This is where Software Asset Management (SAM) solutions come in. SAM, a Software License Management Tool, aims to align actual license usage with authorized licenses, treating licenses as valuable assets.

To explore SAM options and leading vendors, visit Gartner's site. It's worth noting that some platforms, like Capterra, categorize both types of license management under "License Management Software," which can cause confusion.

On Capterra’s Buyer’s Guide license management software is described as:


“License management software helps organizations monitor and control software use and ensure software license compliance within their own business.”


You may now begin to see where the confusion comes from. The above description only applies to SAM solutions. If you’re not a large enterprise, most likely this is not what you’re looking for.

However, if you’re looking for a license management solution for software publishers - to manage and monetize the licenses you’ve issued to your customers - read on.


Software License Management Solution (for software publishers)

If you're not in need of a SAM solution, you're likely a software publisher or an independent software vendor seeking to manage the licenses you provide to customers. This entails issuing, delivering, monitoring, and revoking licenses, which define the terms for accessing and using your software.

These licenses are crucial for your business, and proper license management ensures enforcement of these terms, which is precisely what a robust software license manager offers.


What does it do?

A License Management Solution handles real-time software licensing based on your defined business rules, whether for commercial or free applications, they allow customers to access your software applications. 

A proper license management solution also allows you to know exactly who your customers are, what licenses they hold and what features they are entitled to access.


How is it deployed?

A License Management Solution can be on-premises or in the cloud, with some vendors offering both deployment options, and a few supporting both offline and online usage in a single solution.


How is it charged for?

Vendors offer various pricing models: percentages of your company's revenue or license earnings, or flat fees, either one-time or recurring (monthly or annually).


What are the core features to expect?

Core features in a Software License Management solution include the ability to: 

  • Issue new licenses
  • Edit licenses that have been issued
  • Revoke licenses
  • Issue licenses to specific features of a product or product combinations
  • Support a variety of license models (subscription, floating, term, perpetual, etc.)
  • Reconcile issued licenses with CRM or ERP systems
  • Integrate with an e-commerce engine or payment provider
  • Support channel sales 
  • Support your customers to be able to manage their own users
  • Connect to the License Manager using REST APIs
10Duke Enterprise Software License Management Solution

All these features are part of 10Duke Enterprise, our best-in-class cloud-based software license management solution

It empowers independent software vendors to configure, issue, and oversee licenses for their customers, offering control over software applications, plug-ins, embedded software, virtual machines, devices, and APIs. The solution also includes admin tools for configuring and managing licenses. 

Explore further in our product overview section or watch the video at the bottom of this article.


Benefits of Software License Management


Reduce Revenue Leakage

Revenue leakage is uncapitalized potential revenue, often unnoticed. Effective software license management tools can minimize this issue by monitoring and controlling license distribution and access.

A modern SLM system efficiently controls access, ensuring only paying customers can access the product. This is particularly valuable for software publishers relying on licensing revenue.


Software License Compliance

Ideally, every organization should provide access to needed software, but under-licensing can lead to legal risks. Software Asset Management (SAM) addresses this by matching purchased licenses with actual usage. This benefit is vital for businesses with many licenses. 

If all publishers used solutions like 10Duke Enterprise, SAM might become unnecessary. With 10Duke, publishers can tightly control access, eliminating compliance issues. As a software developer, would you prefer prevention over costly legal actions for unlicensed usage?


Software License Management Best Practices

In the past the use of license dongles and license keys were the preferred options when it came to managing software licenses, controlling access and product activation.

Yet, these solutions have inherent flaws. Using physical dongles requiring shipping can be costly and slow for customers. Dongles can break or get lost, potentially causing issues if rediscovered. License keys introduce friction into the licensing process for both customers and vendors, hindering scalability and monetization opportunities.


Cloud-Based Licensing

Fortunately, 10Duke offers a cloud-based solution, sparing you the costs, time, and effort associated with traditional license management. This cloud-based approach automates licensing, eliminating manual steps for you and your customers, unlocking revenue growth and saving internal resources.


CRM and e-Commerce Integration

To ensure a seamless customer experience from lead to payment and instant product access, integrate your CRM and e-commerce systems with your licensing engine.

This alignment is essential for efficient payment processing and revenue collection. 10Duke Enterprise facilitates such integration, even allowing license granting through Salesforce.


Single Source of Truth

Centralising your software license management is a must, if you’re looking to scale up your software business. You might want to read our blog on increasing revenue with centralized license management.

Your business systems must operate cohesively to maintain a single source of truth. Otherwise, you'll invest excessive time resolving issues, hindering scalability. Managing licenses can be resource-intensive, especially with diverse software applications and mixed product suites. 10Duke provides a centralized control hub for licenses, entitlements, customer, and end-user administration. To achieve this, we offer two admin tools.

SysAdmin, a web-based admin tool can be used to configure product licensing, manage users, connect applications, and handle licenses in real-time for 10Duke Enterprise.

For larger customers, 10Duke OrgAdmin enables self-management of licenses, user onboarding, and access control, saving admin time.

Using these tools is another way for you to scale up your software business.


Customer-Centric Advantage

Other vendors provide SLM solutions somewhat similar to ours, but the clear advantage that comes with 10Duke Enterprise is that there is a Customer Identity solution built into the product.

A Customer Identity solution enables you to always know exactly who your customers are (and what they have licensed from you). In this unique method called Identity-based licensing, access control is tied to the authenticated identity of the user.

In addition, modern software license management tools should also give you a view into the license usage in real-time, and record product usage data so that it can be queried.

This gives you a clear view of your customer. Once you know who they are and how they use your product, you can use those insights to drive product innovation and extra revenue.

By now, it should be pretty clear that license management can be turned into a competitive advantage, as long as you have the best systems in place.



Software License Management encompasses two distinct scenarios. Some equate it to Software Asset Management (SAM) for large companies, managing licenses purchased from various vendors to ensure compliance and optimization.

Conversely, it also denotes a solution used by software publishers to configure, monetize and control customer licenses. Robust SLM solutions like 10Duke Enterprise enhance revenue generation for these publishers.

We hope this article will help you determine what type of solution you’re looking for!

We also hope that if you’re looking to improve how to license your software product you’ll get in touch and schedule a product demo, where we’ll talk you through everything in more detail and you can ask any questions you may have.

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