“We Don’t Need Software Intelligence Because We Already Collect Data”

One of my favorite scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is when King Arthur invites the French to join in the quest for the Holy Grail. Sadly, his request is dismissed with disdain and a total lack of interest:

French Guard: “Well I’ll ask him, but I don’t think he’ll be very keen – he’s already got one, you see.”
King Arthur: “What??”
Sir Galahad: “He says they’ve already got one!”
King Arthur: “Are you sure he’s got one?”
French Guard: “Oh yes, it’s very nice!” Whispers to other French Guards: “I told him we already got one!” (Laughter)

I’ll pause here while software sales reps around the globe shake their heads at how familiar this feels. Sometimes when we talk to prospective customers we hear a similar initial objection: “We don’t need Flexera – we’re already getting data from our applications.” Of course, our conversations never devolve to the level of taunting dished out by the French Guard.

This objection actually paves the way for a better understanding of what data the prospective customer actually has, and whether it can be used to convert unpaid use into license revenue. Many vendors receive telemetry from their applications (often in the form of activation data and sometimes from the actual use of the products,) but there is a significant gap between that data and actionable intelligence.

Software vendors that collect data should consider these questions:

  • What types of data are you actually collecting? Vendors should only collect the data they need to identify unpaid use of their software and usage data that product management will use to improve their products. Vendors also need to be wary of collecting personally identifiable information that can run afoul of privacy laws.
  • When are you collecting the data? Activation data presents a brief snapshot at the beginning of a deployment, while usage data tells a much richer story about how the software is actually being used (how often, how widely deployed, etc.)
  • What can you do with your data? One of the biggest problems we see is vendors with huge XML data files that are not easily parsed or analyzed. Is it possible to use this data to generate license compliance leads? Can the data be visualized on a heat map to identify problematic regions and see how quickly software is being adopted and used without a license?
  • How is the data shared? How easy is it to generate reports? Is there a dashboard view for executives? Do workflows exist to pass software intelligence from investigators to a compliance or inside sales team? Can you leverage federated data from other software vendors who have already identified who is misusing their software?

There are plenty of software vendors collecting data. Compliance Intelligence is more than just telemetry and data. Its value to software vendors comes from taking that data and turning it into actionable intelligence that will helps drive new license revenue. Unless your data can be easily presented, analyzed and shared, there’s limited value in collecting it in the first place. Our customers understand that difference and have used actionable intelligence to generate more than $1 billion in new license revenue since 2010.

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