Monday, 09th December 2019

Helping ISVs really monetise

The latest version of SafeNet’s Sentinel Cloud gives software vendors a cloud-delivered service that watches all the pennies they might make, and secures the process as well.

There is money in the cloud for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) but building the tools needed to manage all the revenue-generating options available can be an issue that makes the effort not worth the return. For many, a flat-rate subscription model ends up as the safest, most convenient option, though other alternatives, capable of generating more revenue, do exist.

This is the market that SafeNet is now going after with a cloud-based solution that can help ISVs not only monetise their output, but also closely track its use and limit its availability to users. These come in the latest update of the company’s Sentinel Cloud offering.

Sentinel Cloud emerged from SafeNet some two years ago with the objective of helping ISVs monetise their code. This was the culmination of a process of growth and bifurcation in the company, which started life as a data security business specialising in data protection, encryption and user authentication.

Out of this side of the business, which is still very much in operation, came a Software Monetisation Division aimed at helping ISVs protect their software using firmware dongles. This moved to securing downloadable delivery using software dongles. Finally, it moved into the cloud and managing the provisioning process. Finally, it was re-branded as Sentinel Cloud.

The recent enhancements to Sentinel Cloud will enable software publishers to leverage cloud-based, user-centric licensing, management and reporting techniques to monetise both on-premise and hybrid software portfolios for the first time. It provides ISVs with the ability to redefine or refine their business models as well as gain deep insights into how their products are being used.

This translates into two significant high-level benefits—improved end-user experiences and reduced expenses.

This cloud-based approach to software monetisation is for all software products, regardless of whether they are being delivered as a service or for installation on premise. It allows software publishers to support usage-based pricing by introducing consumption-based business models. ISVs can use these to win new business and stay competitive for on-premise and cloud-based applications.

It also introduces the notion of licencing the users, not the hardware. Associate licences and entitlements with users as opposed to machines, provide far greater end-user mobility, resulting in a better user experience. It also provides ISVs with real-time remote control over licences. This means they can improve customer support capabilities and accelerate marketing and sales activities.

It gives ISVs control over usage by using detailed feature- and product-level usage-trackinginformation. It also means they can learn from usage levels to drive product and business decision-making processes.

Software can be deployedwithin completely virtualised environments without fear of duplication or misuse, and it means that ISVs can eliminate the need to install and manage local licence servers, cutting IT costs and shorten implementation times.

According to Shlomo Weiss, vice president of Cloud Services at SafeNet, The cloud is rapidly changing software licencing. “There is now a shift to user-based licencing, and it should no longer matter how the software gets delivered,” he said. “We are also seeing ISVs becoming more concerned about, and interested in, licencing issues as they start to publish larger elements of content as part of their products, rather than just pure code.”

There is also growing collaboration with the tools of the company’s security division, as well as increasing levels of partnership with complementary third parties. For example, Weiss indicated that it has already integrated the user authentication tools from that division,; but has no plans to take it that one step further and offer single sign-on capabilities.

“But we do make the APIs available,” Weiss said, “so users can easily link it to any of the popular single sign-on tools that are already available.”

By the same token, he indicated that SafeNet had no plans to move into what some might see as the next logical step for a monetising specialist, the management and delivery of billing and payment services. This is also an area for working with partners rather than developing its own solution.

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