It’s been some time now since I’ve had to worry about such things, but today companies are faced with the declining economies all around the globe and fight for ways to save money that comes straight of their bottom line. As these companies reach out to outsourcing companies they are shifting the responsibility and requirement of software licensing onto the outsource partner. Great plan! But we are now seeing that our outsourcers are becoming more up-to-date that our own businesses…. How can this be, I mean every year our departmental heads have to submit a budget and it should come as no surprise to them the release cycles of the major software manufacturers; Adobe every 18 months, Quark around 2 years, Font software annually etc, etc. So just why are our business not up-to-date?
Why is it we tend to find design agencies rushing out to buy the latest releases, yet our larger pre-media organizations lag so far behind – these are organizations with procurement teams and large accounts departments, departments so intent on saving money that they burn it by not planning ahead.
And why is it so few pre-media companies take advantage of the maintenance plans that the Adobe’s & Quark’s of this world offer; plans that would bring their total cost of ownership down by 50% let alone the amount administration that is then involved in writing business cases for the upgrades to justify to the board why the company needs this software. Is that not just the price of staying in the game, the cost of supplying the key tools to the business vertical you are in?
You wouldn’t dream of not covering your enterprise solution or server based solution with maintenance that provides you with support and upgrades, so why is the desktop so different? Historically less than 10% of desktop pre-media based applications are in such a program, whereas over 80% of enterprise/server based solutions are. This is despite the cost savings companies would make in the long run.
What’s more, there is an ever increasing volume of companies rolling out the new software across their businesses in an under licensed manner. Some companies have made this easier than others by providing license codes and media that allows them to roll out as many as they like where trust is used as the currency of compliance, whereas others have used license servers that allow for a concurrent license model (again lowering the total cost of ownership based on operational usage and not installations). Even that is not good enough and companies will flaunt the law and obtain serials or cracks off the internet – yes we all know it goes on, and it’s not an isolated problem.
Globally software privacy and the act of flaunting compliance is extremely high. An extract from the 2008 global piracy study shows just how serious the problem is, naturally this isn’t just in the business environment:
The monetary value of unlicensed software (“losses” to software vendors) grew by more than $5.1 billion (11 percent) to $53.0 billion from 2007 to 2008, although half of that growth was the result of changing exchange rates. Excluding the effect of exchange rates, losses grew by 5 percent to $50.2 billion. The legitimate software market grew by 14 percent.
When we break that down even further to a country by country basis we can truly see the extent of the problem and how it affects individual economies.
So without wanting to sound like the voice of ‘doom and gloom’, companies should be taking responsibility by purchasing the software they use, budgeting for future upgrades and measuring the improvements they bring. It is the cost of being in the business we are in and we should respect the work that goes into the continually developing products of the software companies, not just use a search engine to find a way around the licensing protection they have used. All these companies will provide some sort of discounted prepaid upgrade path in the form of assurance plans or maintenance plans – take advantage of them by planning ahead to stay ahead!
To quote a senior designer I met over the weekend who works for a very large and famous agency:
The productivity savings alone justify the cost of performing an upgrade, why is there a need to justify it! Is it just not the cost of staying in this business?
Author: Gary George
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