At the beginning of every year, your team reflects on what made the previous year successful so you can plan for greater success in the following year. Many teams look at staffing, sales development strategies, and operations as keys to continued success, but there are often other contributing factors.
One of these contributing factors is your organization’s licensing. Gone are the days where licensing is as simple as you have it or you don’t. Now there are multiple tiers to consider, and to further complicate, there can now be various user groups – all with their own specific licensing requirements.
Annual licensing reviews can be as complicated or as simple as your organization can handle. The most important thing is that your organization is having them.
Here are 4 key points to consider when planning for your annual license review:
1. Divide and conquer
Today, few organizations have only one license to manage. It is much more common to have separate licenses for the telephone system, CRM, customer engagement platform, ERP system, etc. Although administratively there may be a point person to manage all of these licenses, it is important to understand the impact every decision is having on each individual license and its respective product. To this point, we recommend that a member of each business team be a part of the licensing conversation. This will help to accomplish two things:
- They can support the license admin’s license management efforts.
- They can provide operational insight as to which licensing features are mission-critical and which may be expendable, allowing for better optimizations of licensing during each renegotiation period.
2. Stay focused
With all the bells and whistles being presented as “features” of licensing, it can be easy to get lost and carried away when it comes to licensing. Before reviewing your licenses or discussing it with your salesperson, be sure to capture your organization’s key, non-negotiable feature requirements from the business team. Armed with these requirements, it will allow you to stay focused on what is important for your team and to select the licensing that best supports those requirements.
3. Be Creative
Often when discussing licensing, you find that your team will share requirements and the salesperson will come back with his quote, many times with little discussion about how he arrived at his number. CPI looks at this part of the process as a perfect time to be creative. There is no reason you should not be able to collaborate with your salesperson to come up a solution that is a perfect fit for your organization’s needs. Being creative in coming up with your licensing solution will also help you gain additional insights in the licensing model, which you may not otherwise discover.
After sharing your creative licensing solution with your salesperson, the worst thing he can say is that he may not be able to fulfill your solution exactly as it was presented. But on the upside, this approach has sparked an important dialogue.
4. Plan with today in your sights but with tomorrow in mind
During conversations about licensing, there is a balance between your needs today and any known future needs. Sometimes you see additional licensing slipped in just because it may have been brought up during initial discussions. CPI suggests you have a clear idea of what the current (next 6 months) plan will require, versus the medium term (6 months to 18 months) and the long-term (18 months+). There may be similarities, but often there may be additional functionalities you will want once your team is prepared but not necessarily before. Once you have these plans documented, you will be able to plot out exactly how you would like to approach licensing. There may be a discount for securing multi-year licensing for a feature. But if you aren’t planning on implementing and using that feature until the last year of your licensing agreement, you may end up paying for a feature for 3 years that you only utilize for 6 months. There may be more benefit for your organization to secure 2 years of licensing with less discount in the current agreement, adding the new feature in the next agreement.
The key to any of these licensing conversations is that there really isn’t a right or wrong approach. It is more dependent on what makes sense for your team. With these tips, you will enter any licensing conversation coming from a position of knowledge about what you have and also about what you’re going to need for future growth. You will feel like you’re making a decision that’s the right decision for your organization rather than hoping what the salesperson has given you isn’t too far off the mark.
Do you have questions about putting together a licensing review? CPI can help. Reach out to me if you’d like to start the conversation.