What is a software license manager?
Software license managers generate and distribute licenses for your software and manage how and when your software runs.
More specifically, software license managers are a collection of tools that determine the users (humans, robots) of the software and the type of authority with which they can use it.
These authorizations can be very specific, such as the number of copies of your software that can run on a device at a time, the number of different devices it can be run on, the number of hours it can run in a day, and whether it can function online or offline (even without the internet). It also provides you with reports of all these parameters.
All of these permissions and restrictions (authorizations) are found in the rules and information set we call “license” and are read and processed from there. The information included in the licenses may be about the licensee or your software. You can use licenses for free or paid software.
Software license managers generate licenses, give them as a deposit (licenses are deposits, albeit for a lifetime), and securely deliver them to the required location as needed.
What’s so special about software license managers?
- Automation: Software license managers automate all your licensing processes for you. Your licensing processes run smoothly without the need for you to intervene manually at any stage.
- Tracing: Allows you to monitor the license processes of your software, provides you with the information about how many licenses have been generated, how many have been deposited, and how many have been activated.
- Bundle: It makes it easier for you to combine your products and sell them in a single package, for example, it enables all products belonging to a package to be activated with a single serial number.
- Dealer Control: Allows you to follow dealer sales separately, helps you measure dealers’ performance.
- Multiple License Models: Supports your revenue model with pre-built license models, allowing you to use wide license models from time-based licenses to lifetime licenses.
- Uptime: It works at the most critical point of monetization of your software and is always active.
- Compliance: License managers help ensure that your software complies with licensing regulations and prevents unauthorized use of your software. This protects your intellectual property and revenue.
- Scalability: As your business grows, your licensing needs may also change. License managers offer scalability, allowing you to manage thousands of licenses across different platforms and geographies.
What are three software licensing models?
You can use 3 licensing models within KEYZY with your software. These are the Perpetual, Subscription, and Trial models. Let’s analyze each one:
As the name suggests, this license can be activated without a time limit once obtained by the license holder (your customer/user, licensee).
Software that supports this license type strategically monetizes the software by periodically releasing upgraded versions of the software. This generates revenue from both new customers and customers who own the older version.
In this license model, the licensees pay periodically to continue using your software. The license period is updated for each paid time period, allowing the licensees to continue using your software without any issues.
Typical periods are monthly or annual, but you can set this period according to your needs and configure the license manager accordingly.
Upper version upgrades of software that support this model are usually released more frequently and in smaller iterations (recommended) since the payments are time-periodical. Thus, the licensee can focus on using your software without having to pay for new updates and without thinking about all these details.
One of the important advantages of the subscription model is that the licensee can start using the software immediately by paying a small fee. This smaller fee is often more appealing to the consumer and ends up benefitting your bottom line.
You can use this license model if you want your customer to try your software before purchasing it. You can offer the license to your customer with a time limit to enable them to use your software until the trial period ends. The trial period will help your customer decide whether they should purchase the software.
You can offer the Trial license model for a fee or free of charge. If you do not want to have your software tested for free, then you can charge a small fee.
What are important considerations when purchasing a software license manager?
Licensing models supported by SLM
Software license managers (SLMs) allow you to monetize your software by allowing you to limit the functions of your software in detail.
To achieve the best performance, combine these functional limitations with the licensing models. KEYZY offers 3 licensing models—Perpetual, Subscription and Trial.
The cost of an SLM and the target audience—factors for consideration
There are many factors to consider when choosing a license manager for your software. Since the cost of an item is especially important for small and medium-sized enterprises, the least expensive license manager that supports the features you require would be the most ideal. While it may not be easy to find a license manager that is the “perfect” combination, a robust and cost-effective software license manager that supports the features that best suit your needs would be your best bet.
You are reading this article because most likely, you own a small or medium-sized business. Some license managers are developed for large enterprises and their prices are adjusted accordingly. The value you get and the cost you have to incur for that value should offer a good balance.
On our pricing page, you will see that KEYZY pricing starts at $24 per month. We also offer a free lifetime plan for the first 20 licenses. You monetize your software, then pay.
The consumer should be able to run their business flawlessly without a requirement for a detailed understanding of the licensing process. Therefore, the license manager should show as few concepts as possible.
The programming interfaces that your software developer will use are as important as the visual interfaces. The less time a developer can spend with the licensing of your software, the better.
For a license manager to be user-friendly, it is necessary to consider 3 different areas:
It should be very simple to use without any requirement to learn unnecessary concepts of software licensing.
- It should be so simple that it does not require you to learn unnecessary concepts of software licensing.
- The visual interface should be simple, convenient, intuitive and fast.
- Software interfaces should be implemented quickly without distracting your software developer.
To see these, you can thoroughly test the demo and trial version of SLM.
Supported activation schemas
Different license managers may have different activation schemas. Therefore, not every license manager will fully meet your needs. First, determine what kind of activation you need, and then consider how the license manager will meet these needs.
Three schemas are supported in KEYZY.
- Online: Online inquiries are made to the KEYZY service at certain intervals (once or twice a day) from within your software. If the answer is positive (valid), it means that the license is active and the user can continue to use your software.
- Semi-Online: An online connection is searched for the first time in your software, the necessary license procedures are completed, then it does not matter whether the device is online. Your user can actively use your software.
- Offline: Your user first downloads a license file and shows it to your software by moving this file to the offline device. If the license is valid, your user can start using your software.
If you are using C++, you can use our KEYZY C++ Client Library. Our client library also supports the 3 activation/validation schemas we mentioned above. You can use our Validate API from within another programming language.
For more detailed information, please review our related article.
Where the SLM works
Today, cloud solutions are now used in every field. In the past, you had to run a software license manager on-premise. This situation used to bring with it some responsibilities; maintenance of the server, the need for continuous service, updates and more. If you do not have a special need, by choosing cloud solutions, you will leave all these responsibilities to the license manager service and you can focus on your business. KEYZY runs smoothly in the cloud.
In today’s world, it’s inconceivable to have services that cannot be integrated. The data generated in one service may be useful in another service. In addition, integrations support the automation of your entire system.
In terms of license managers, the first and most important integration is that an order on your website should automatically create a license and direct it to its owner.
Whether the SLM has a static library
If you are using C++ and the SLM you are going to use offers you a static library, you can embed the license manager directly into your software. Thus, you will not have to deal with the installation and communication problems of files that can run separately, and the process continues smoothly. KEYZY offers the KEYZY C++ Client Library for C++ users.
Supported versions of your software with one codebase
Sometimes you want to sell your software in packages with different features such as a Full, Gold, Silver, and an Ultimate Package. This marketing opportunity with a single codebase requires a license manager that can generate different licenses for different feature packs. KEYZY offers this feature.
Whether the SLM supports product upgrades
Imagine, you are preparing to release the second version of your software and you want to offer a paid upgrade option to those who use the old version. At this point, it becomes important whether your license manager supports the upgrade version. Upgrade releases are usually executed in two ways:
- From your website or a 3rd party service integrated into your system. In this case, the existing license of the user who purchased the upgrade can be upgraded or a new license will be issued to the user, invalidating the old one.
- A 3rd party service (dealer) that is not integrated into your system. In this case, the upgrade is done directly from within your software. The dealer gives the upgrade license to your user, but the license does not work directly. First, the old license is requested and invalidated, then the new license is activated and starts working.
Investigate which method is more suitable for you and which of these your license manager supports. If you distribute your software predominantly through dealers, you may need the option to upgrade from within your software, otherwise from your website, or both.
Now you have a better understanding of software license managers! They are an essential part of your software, therefore, very important to your business. By creating a good balance between your marketing strategies and your software license manager, you can maximize your income.
How does software licensing work?
Software license managers allow you to generate licenses for your product. You create licenses in the form of serial numbers. When there is a new sale, the license owner’s information (licensee) is sent to the license manager, the deposit information for the license is processed (deposit) and sent to the licensee.
Then the licensee starts using your software with the license in hand. Since all these processes are automatic, all you have to do is keep track of your sales.
How are software licenses tracked?
Each license must be traceable. An SLM enables you to see when a specific license was deposited, when it was activated on a specific device, and when it was deactivated on a device.
This information also provides you with an opportunity for marketing and support. If a license is purchased, but not activated, then you can follow up with the licensee to see if there are any steps you need to take to facilitate the license activation. Or, if a license is used for an unusually large number of devices, then you can follow up and, if necessary, generate new revenue by offering another package or product.
How is a software license key generated?
The functions for generating licenses are available in the admin panel of your software license manager. You can generate your licenses for your desired product on the License page in the KEYZY admin panel.
How is software licensing implemented?
There are many ways!
API: You can use it by making direct API calls from within your software.
Static Libraries: You can use it with a static library that can be embedded in your software.
Dynamic Libraries: You can use it with dynamic libraries that communicate with your software.
These are just a few of the available methods. If the programming language you use for your software is C++, we recommend that you look at KEYZY’s static library, KEYZY C++ Client Library.