Last year Microsoft announced the end of support for XP as well as changes to its volume licensing model. Adobe also introduced a cloud-based subscription licensing model for businesses.
This year I believe that software vendors will increase the number of products they expect to be sold through a cloud-based subscription model.
This change has been rippling across the entire software industry, and we expect this to continue and accelerate. As vendors look for recurring, predictable revenue, many on-premises products from Adobe, Microsoft, and others are moved to a subscription model.
A great example is Adobe, which has made subscription payment through its Creative Cloud offering the only way to buy new versions of its full software suite -- just a year after launching a £38-per-month annual contract.
The channel will need to reinvent itself to ensure it does not lose out on these opportunities. And increasingly, channel partners will need to be involving themselves in the technology decision process, providing services and advice to customers.
Software vendors will be using the subscription model to enforce compliance as well, shifting some of that burden away from IT asset managers.
Control over the way a product is used has become a by-product of subscription licensing, with products incorporating license validation features via cloud.
This is a big deal.
The down-side though is that, unlike in the perpetual model, they don't own and cannot use the software if they stop paying for it.
Additionally, while companies may be more confident they comply, they still need to be vigilant in tracking license consumption, to ensure they are not paying for licenses that they do not need.
Here, the channel can help customers to identify areas of waste and under-use. This can help build a trusting relationship with customers.
Multiple device access to data makes traditional one-licence-per-device software expensive and difficult to manage. Virtualised datacentre services are expanding too. Over the next five years the licensing may be done per user, rather than per device.
However, we can expect vendors to further complicate and confuse the licensing environment in 2014 as they try to keep customers happy as use patterns change and diversify. So learn about new licensing options and know what to recommend.
By assuming the role of trusted advisors, the channel will be able to insert itself back into the technology buying process as well as establishing a dialogue about future customer needs. Take a proactive approach in license negotiations.
Martin Callinan is country manager at Express Metrix
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