If you’re not overly familiar with entitlement management, you’re not alone. However, it’s a crucial concept for organizations looking to create, sell, or give access to various pieces of intellectual property.
Entitlement management is about securing, distributing and validating the intangibles of our commercial world. Simply put, entitlements represent what a user has rights to, and they’re everywhere. Entitlements control what software keys get created to unlock new features. They validate which users can receive updates or support, and they can also record who has installed software on what devices.
When a product or service has been activated, entitlements are updated with device and user details, keys and dates. Determining which users have what, how much they have and when they can use it is important in the centralization of entitlement management. Why? Because it provides a shared view with customers and channels, reduces support calls, lowers the costs of multiple systems and provides 24/7 access to users, amongst other benefits.
Perhaps most importantly, entitlement management offers organizations safety and compliance. It serves a key role in an authentication, authorization and access control application security model, as it authorizes users and confirms what they have, what they can see and what they can do.
Entitlement management also offers safety and compliance to organizations leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT). The hypergrowth of IoT that we’re currently experiencing is requiring all hardware and appliance original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to incorporate software, which makes licensing and entitlement management technology key to protecting the intellectual property of these “smart” and connected devices.
Once organizations understand the concept and business value of entitlement management, it behooves them to leverage on-premises or cloud-based software that can manage the thousands of entitlements they generate every day and the commerce those entitlements represent. Software publishers and service providers, in particular, can greatly benefit from such technology, as it can reduce costs, improve quality of service and make products or services available for customers to use in as many ways as possible.
For organizations looking to leverage entitlement management software for greater financial and operational efficiency, ensure that the software you select includes the following capabilities:
To make it easy for customers to access their orders and properly install their purchases – and for organizations to be able to assign and manage multi-license agreements – entitlement management software should offer the use of multiple license key generators. The software should also be able to manage complex product configurations and initiate support calls to remote or third-party key generators. Additionally, it’s important that entitlement management software can generate license authenticity codes for partners, as well as handle batch process activations, re-hosts, upgrades and returns. Finally, the software should be able to manage activation validation rules such as required products, quantities or combinations.
A big benefit of entitlement management software is that it can simplify the process of software upgrades, giving customers a high level of personalized service, while also decreasing support and maintenance costs. Seek out entitlement management software that provides support for complex product mapping and changes during an upgrade process, gives options for targeting individual companies or machines for upgrades and has automatic new key generation. The software should also have the ability to push out critical patches and determine the number of affected customers prior to an upgrade.
Flexible Usage Tracking
As the IoT continues to proliferate our current business landscape, the ability to capture and report on the data generated by “smart” devices will be increasingly critical. Luckily, entitlement management software can collect and report on “smart” device usage. In fact, such software can receive usage information and associate it with individual devices – and it can also connect devices to customers through registration processes. Organizations should implement entitlement management software that can track usage against entitlements, report on usage by devices and customers and support pay-as-you-use and other usage-based business models.
Content Download Control
Effective entitlement management software should be able to control access to online resources and downloads and ensure that only entitled customers gain access to restricted files. The software should also provide content producers with a secure way to deliver electronic data via out-of-the-box integration with a leading content delivery network (CDN) provider or via URLand FTP-based downloads. Entitlement management software should also be able to track download initiations and offer the ability to limit the number of times a file is downloaded by any one customer.
Along with flexible usage tracking, reporting is one of the key benefits of entitlement management software. Organizations should implement software that provides detailed insights into which customers are activating which products on what platforms, what is purchased versus deployed, how often products are re-hosted or returned, who is requesting temporary licenses and who is eligible for renewals and upgrades. Entitlement management software should offer the ability to run such reports in real-time and also have the ability to create additional, custom reports. Lastly, the software should have its own, siloed database to ensure its reporting doesn’t slow down transaction processing.
Given the continued momentum of the IoT and an increasingly competitive market for software publishers and service providers, now is the time for organizations to prioritize entitlement management and leverage dedicated software to help them do so. Entitlement management software should support the full lifecycle of license and entitlement management functions, including perpetual, term and trial licenses, maintenance and support. It should offer key capabilities including multi-license management, streamlined upgrades, flexible usage tracking, content download control and real-time reporting.
Don’t underestimate the power of entitlement management. Having a scalable and robust entitlement management capability is essential for managing and securing pieces of an organization’s intellectual property. By leveraging entitlement management software, organizations stand to gain critical business intelligence when and where they need it, giving them the power to reduce production costs and maximize their revenue. For more information, please contact us to discuss how ModusLink can help your company implement and effectively leverage entitlement management software.