By Jamie Longmuir
Jamie Longmuir, director of software monetisation at Gemalto, explains how start-ups can get an advantage in today’s competitive market
We are entering a new age of technology where devices speak to each other autonomously, cars drive themselves, people attend meetings virtually and 3D printing is commonplace.
Thanks to the power of the cloud and the increasing adoption of smart devices, the technology market is growing at its highest level since the dot-com boom. Successful start-ups are bursting out of tech hubs all over the world. The latest figures show over a million new technology companies emerged in 2014 alone, resulting in an overwhelming amount of competition among start-ups.
Those of you that manage to get your feet on the ground have a long way to go before you can succeed in the tech industry.
Particularly for start-ups with software or apps at the core of what you do, making the right choices from the start can mean the difference between failing and becoming market leaders. Not only do you need to decide about packaging, pricing and usage tracking, you also need to ensure you protect your intellectual property from licensing infringements.
Consequently, though you devote most of your attention to product research and development, ensuring that your software monetisation and protection strategies are up to standard is also key to your business success.
Building a comprehensive software monetisation strategy
Many start-ups aren’t aware of the importance of separating business decisions from the R&D (research and development) and of protecting their programmes. Others opt to invest valuable time and resources in building their own security solutions instead of focusing on their product’s key offerings. In both cases, you run the risk of not fully monetising your products and missing out on revenues that could ultimately put you ahead of your competitors.
Successful businesses have proven to be those that understand the vulnerabilities they face and plan and implement a software monetisation strategy from the start, rather than building it in later, opting for third party solutions covering their security and intelligence gathering needs.
By implementing third party techniques, you can centre your attention on developing your core product, easily embedding the software monetisation code within your APIs. In this way, you can guarantee that your software programmes are being used as per their licence, and are being marketed adequately, while collecting valuable data about who is using which software features, when and where. When time comes to create new versions of existing software, you can use that information to plan your R&D strategy.
Growing a customer base
The main goal for any start-up is to sell as many products to as many customers as possible and quickly gain market share. The possibilities of this occurring are directly related to how effectively you can package, control, manage, and track, your offering(s) and to how you are able to continuously identify and satisfy R&D, business and engineering needs and make relevant decisions in a timely manner.
Contrary to popular belief, software packaging and pricing are not one-time events and one size doesn’t fit all. Flexible packaging, pricing and licensing models need to be tailored to different types of customer in order to appeal to a wider audience and satisfy their constantly evolving needs. This means having the ability to track product and feature usage so as to provide multiple versions of same product by adding paid for add-on features that can bring in extra revenue, optimising investment and resource allocation based on actual end-user behaviours.
Securing the road to success
Recent reports show security teams face an increasing number of threats. With a vast amount of intellectual property and revenue lost to piracy each year, you simply cannot afford to assume that once a certain application is protected and distributed it’s immune to tampering, reverse engineering, theft and licensing infringement.
Instead, specialised solutions can constantly update software security and increase its protection against attacks, giving you control and visibility into how applications are deployed and used. The adoption of software management and protection techniques can prevent the unauthorised use or distribution of your intellectual property – your software – avoiding software piracy and ensuring software license compliance.
Staying competitive in a constantly evolving market
Early decisions about how to optimise packaging and pricing so that different features can be catered to different customers, what licensing model to use and how to protect software from infringement can mean the difference between utter failure and long term success. By implementing third party solutions, you can fully focus on R&D, using the data you obtain from tracking solutions to adjust your offering to customer demands. Ultimately, software monetisation strategies help ensure that you don’t waste your time and money on developments which might not be of interest to customers.
Not thinking about maximising products and making your business profitable from the start can come at a high price. By optimising your business model and strategically packaging and pricing your products, you can – and will- get ahead of competitors who don’t and become a market leader.