Why Choose the Nalpeiron Licensing Service vs. Building Your Own
Historically many ISVs have built their own licensing due to lack of flexible or cost-effective enough solutions to their needs, but with the advent of standards today, such as web services and new vendors like Nalpeiron who offer a modern hosted paradigm, many of those previous barriers to outsourcing have been removed. So why has licensing lagged behind? Download this white paper now to discover the real costs, risks, and issues associated with Software License Management solutions.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Why Choose the Nalpeiron Licensing Service vs. Building Your Own
Why choose the
Nalpeiron Licensing Service vs.
building your own licensing
A discussion document about the real
costs, risks and issues associated with
Software License Management solutions.
Designed to assist in business decisions
about internal development and 3rd party
Jon Gillespie-Brown, CEO, Nalpeiron
Sources: IDC Research, Gartner Research, Software CEO and LinkedIn forums, Proformative, NetSuite, Sand Hill Group, Intacct
Building vs. Buying your licensing
solution, a historic look of the way
people work and the future of
Questions to consider when deciding
which option you’ll choose for your
software license management
Costs of in-house solutions are often
hidden and not considered part of
the vendor selection process. Explore
and reveal these costs
3-4 5 6-7
Hosted Licensing vs home-grown in-
house licensing. Logic backed up by
a survey of over 500 ISVs
Using a commercial licensing solution
and how it can meet customer
demand for more flexible licensing
A clear guide of the benefits of using
a cloud-based infrastructure for
8-9 10 11
Historically many ISVs have built their own licensing due to lack of
flexible or cost effective enough solutions to their needs but today with
the advent of standards such as web services and new vendors like
Nalpeiron who offer a modern hosted paradigm many of those previous
barriers to outsourcing have been removed.
In the past it made a great deal of sense to build
your own licensing, often it was cheaper than
the large up front perpetual licenses demanded
by license system vendors but much more
importantly these legacy providers did not
provide the flexibility needed to integrate with
in-house systems and customize the capability
offered to meet the needs of the ISV precisely.
Today however, with the availability of
more standards driven data interchange
methodologies like web services and more
open APIs this is no longer the case. Plus the
introduction of competitors like Nalpeiron with
a “pay as you go” model makes the whole
equation the opposite - it’s now far lower cost
to outsource than build in-house in real terms.
Until recently ISVs had very few choices of
vendors to choose from and they all had 20 year
old business models and license management
solutions based on older technology. However,
in recent years a number of players have entered
the market to offer the price and convenience
of Amazon and Salesforce – Nalpeiron being
the leader in these hosted licensing solutions.
for licensing not only for the “shrink wrapped”
and packaged software but also as a way to
migrate to more flexible SaaS type models
from the older enterprise paradigm.
With the move to offering end users more
flexible ways to buy and more modern
licensing options come many challenges and
in-house licensing can rarely match the TCO
and flexibility of outsourced solutions.
Build vs. Buy?
In addition, younger CEOs are more used to running a business where many of the business functions can
be outsourced as well as the infrastructure. Everyone is well aware of the ability to offshore development
and to use external systems like Salesforce.com, Amazon web services and EC2 but the licensing industry
in general has taken time to catch up with these advances.
So why has licensing lagged behind?
Build versus buy decisions often
come down to cost. Either
approach is going to require an
Oftentimes, the decision comes
down to whether it makes more
sense to continue spending
money on maintaining a
homegrown system or outdated
product that isn't meeting the
need, or if investing in a third-
party solution that meets current
and future needs is a better
A License Development
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the various licensing management system build-out
options and their related costs, risk and benefits.
It’s often tempting as a Software ISV to consider building the non-core licensing functionality yourself when looking
to control your Software assets. In many ways it appears to make sense, you are an expert in Software development
and this is an important part of your product requirements. However, often many of the issues of building in-house are
In particular the costs and business risks are under estimated according to Gartner. In our estimation any internal
development project can cost $100-500,000 plus the yearly support costs (if you include all the staff and associated costs
that are way beyond a simple engineering effort), even for a very small ISV, and significantly more if you are a medium
or large ISV - if you include all the engineering, support, licensing, server and related support costs vs. outsourcing.
One of the biggest real-life issues is keeping up with the needs of the business to be competitive and change with the
market by offering flexible sales models plus platform changes, cracks and all the related engineering updates. This can
slow down the rest of the business that is relying on the internal licensing team and dramatically affects the ability to
release new products and therefore makes the ISV much less competitive in the marketplace. A big risk.
Most of the research both from analysts and from real experience points to
significant underestimation of costs and issues with licensing as whole along with
an apparent shift in thinking from build your own to an outsource model.
ISVs today face profitability challenges from both
internal and external sources. Factors such as variable
market demand, rampant piracy, new business
models and increased competitive pressures cause
huge stresses on a business and cost the industry
billions of dollars each year. At the same time,
customers are demanding new ways of managing,
understanding reporting on software licensing usage.
This in turn pressurizes ISVs to offer new flexible
business models such as usage, subscription and
software as a service to meet customer needs.
As ISVs expand globally, they may be faced with
increasing reliance on indirect channels to grow
their business. Additionally, in the face of software
piracy threats, it is necessary to find ways to assure
and enhance revenues and better control use of their
intellectual property. ISVs need to do this all while
preserving margins to retain more profits.
Software ISVs that embed software in the products
using hard-coded licensing terms and inflexible
pricing models have are having real difficulty
responding to these changing market demands.
In summary, homegrown solutions are much more
expensive when considering TCO than expected,
they generally offer a very small feature set and are
much “weaker” than commercial alternatives. On
the other hand in recent years licensing vendors
have become more cost effective, offer a wider set
of standard APIs and flexible licensing options and a
much lower TCO than homegrown.
Are you making a technical or business-based decision?
Software publishers should
consider the entire life cycle from
manufacturing to distribution in
order to properly evaluate the
decision whether to build or buy
a licensing solution in its broader
Questions and considerations
If you plan to build for the first time, do you have...
• Internal expertise in licensing technologies?
• Resources for the development, testing and maintenance of licensing technologies?
• Expertise in integration of licensing technology with other relevant systems?
• Support for the technology across multiple platforms, languages and time zones?
Other factors to consider include:
• Do you have the in-depth expertise to create a robust, hard to crack, system?
• Can you constantly update the system to defeat attacks and meet market changes?
• Will you adapt in-house technology in a timely manner to new licensing scenarios or to meet
new customer demands and market realities?
Reasons often stated for building in-house:
• The ISV understands the license software as we developed it with our own team
• The ISV can change it if they need to and make it meet our specific needs today
• The solution we develop will work with our own internal business systems
• We don’t care about piracy or other business models so “basic” is good enough
Risks from internal licensing development:
• Inability to shape internal licensing to the needs of customers/new
• Slowing the speed to market of your products
• Paying higher costs for a non-core activity than outsourcing
• Licensing staff leave preventing future improvements and changes
• Greater levels of losses due to piracy
In the IDC report on this subject the research
highlighted these advantages to outsourcing:
• Reduced cost and increased efficiencies
• Avoid systems that do not meet the needs of dynamic software environment
• Reduced cost in product fulfillment
• Standard infrastructure across products
• Faster time to market with new products
• Improved enforcement of software licenses
Summary: Build Vs. Buy
A software publisher's understanding of its core competencies with
regards to building and maintaining a licensing technology platform
is often a key driver in the build versus buy decision. Some
publishers may believe that since the company's core business is
developing software, this capability can and should be extended to
software-based licensing technologies. Executives at other publishers
may come to the conclusion that although developing software is a
core competency, developing and maintaining a platform of licensing
technologies is not.
Software development is a
It's better to focus on your core
products and customers
It may be cheaper? In-house is more expensive
if you include the costsall
It will work with our systems
Using a modern licensing system
offers this and lots more
We are too busy to change But you could be adding 10%+
to your bottom line
We can make something
“good enough” for us
You could gain competitve
Counting the costs
Oftentimes licensing projects appear much
cheaper to build in-house but get abandoned later
due to the mounting costs of not only the build but
maintenance phases, these run into $100Ks even
for a simple project and can take years – today
in that time a business can easily fail or a new
business model can emerge.
These sophisticated modern requirements mean
a much more complex solution than previously
associated with software licensing. They extend
the scope of the project to build in expected future
requirements such as new platform and business
model support (think SaaS and subscription
models) as well as constant modification of the
solution to meet changing market dynamics (e.g.
new licensing and distribution models) and piracy
threats. The end result is higher initial costs and
ongoing maintenance expenses plus the inherent
risks of experience engineering team turnover
without adequate knowledge transfer.
When considering whether to build or buy, you
must also take the costs of “copy protection”
into account. Not only are these recurring costs
that directly impact TCO (protection mechanisms
must be constantly updated against new threats).
Effective protection requires a specialized skill
set that may not be readily available within
every software vendor’s development team.
Acquiring these skills in-house – either through
supplementary training or recruitment – can be
All of the above doesn’t include all the other costs
of infrastructure, 3rd party software, training and
Before embarking on – or continuing – an in-
house license management system, you should
look beyond the startup development costs to the
overall TCO inherent in a comprehensive solution.
Costs of in-house solutions are often hidden and not considered as part of the
vendor selection process. The trap many ISVs have fallen into when considering the
costs of build vs. buy is to simply underestimate the complexity or sophistication
required to offer the business what it really needs to compete in the market today.
Other forms of Costs
These can be very large indeed, but very hard to easily calculate. Indeed, these are really about strategic thinking behind
focusing on core competency and growing that way rather being a “jack of all trades”. There are some easy to show hard costs
like engineers dedicated to the licensing but this category should also include how well you could do if you avoided non-core
activity that slows down the rest of the team and is a diversion from your own innovation efforts.
Speed to market costs:
This breaks into several areas; one is the time it takes for your own team or an outsourced one to respond to your initial
requirements and then any changes in market needs. When considering outsourcing you need to consider the on-premise vs.
hosted models as relates to speed along with the initial setup times – these vary wildly and increase PS costs significantly. For
your internal development there is not only the fact you are likely to have limited resources to make changes, they can also
slow down the business as you wait for licensing work to complete – a big downside to competitiveness.
Piracy and security costs:
These relate to your markets and customers and could be very high if you are working with the consumer/international or very
low if you are mainly US enterprise focused. A look at the audience will help judge this but in general outsourced vendors have
far better technology for protection and show anywhere up to 10% revenue gains if piracy is an issue.
Since adding the Nalpeiron
protection we have
experienced a 15% growth
in international markets, 8-
10% of which we attribute
to having the Nalpeiron
protection in place.
Consider these costs:
Cost: Up-front planning to make certain that the solution
developed will actually meet then organization’s needs
Cost: Initial development requiring years of development
resources to create a robust, comprehensive solution
Cost: Ongoing dedication of minimum two developers
to maintain and update the system and respond to market
changes, many more for larger ISVs complex requirements
Cost: Training existing developers in security, or recruiting and
retaining developers with these skills
Cost: Continually monitoring, analyzing and creating solutions
to meet emerging security needs
Cost: Infrastructure, license fees and capital costs
TCO worksheet to compare costs of various options
A TCO analysis helps an organization understand and manage the many inter-related
direct and indirect costs involved in managing and licensing a ISVs Software Assets.
A thorough analysis considers not only direct costs, such as software licenses,
maintenance, and required hardware, but also indirect costs, such as software asset
management, desktop administration and end-user support.
In addition, there are many “soft” costs that need to be factored in when considering
the licensing landscape such as revenue recovery from piracy or overuse, competitive
issues and speed to market along with simple opportunity costs from developing in-
house licensing vs. outsourcing.
To compare the TCO of In-house development with Nalpeiron Licensing Service ™,
there are three main expense areas and additional strategic costs to be considered:
• Capital Expenses
• Operating Expenses
• User Management Expenses
• Other “soft” costs
Build Vs. Buy - A TCO Comparison
Building Ourselves Nalpeiron’s Solution
Software License Solution Internal development
costs and support
Fixed based on
Software Maintenance &
costs and support
New hardware $100K+? No costs
Database licenses $10-100K? No costs
Installation & Training N/A Not required
Project Consulting Expenses N/A Not required
Development Costs $250-500K+? No costs for licensing
Building Ourselves Nalpeiron’s Solution
IT and Help Desk operations
Higher, not cloud based Very low
Desktop Management and
Higher, not cloud based Very low
Software License Management Higher, not cloud based Very low
Internal User and IT Training Higher, not cloud based Very low
Data center costs (Bandwidth,
$100K+? p/year Not required
User Management Expenses
Building Ourselves Nalpeiron’s Solution
End-user Training & Support Higher, not cloud based Very low, easy to use,
lots of offline and cloud
Downtime Higher, not cloud based 99.999% uptime
End user License Support Higher, not cloud based Very low
Fixing $100K+? p/year N/A
Other forms of costs
Building Ourselves Nalpeiron’s Solution
Opportunity costs Very high No costs
Speed to market costs Very high No costs
Piracy and security costs Variable, 10-40% loss Make 10% revenue gains
For more detailed TCO discussions please review our whitepaper:
“Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment model for Software Licensing”
According to Nalpeiron customers, when over 500 were surveyed,
these issues were the key reasons for moving away from another
vendor or away from homegrown licensing.
By far the most popular reason to switch out home-grown
licensing is to provide the business with far more flexibility in
offering its customers new business models, ways to buy and
to make these changes fast and easy into the future.
Nalpeiron will allow you to instrument your business to offer
both older style and completely modern business models,
along with the capability to analyze and change over time
based on the market requirements and competitive threats.
Reduce the business risk
Licensing is integral to the success of your Software business
and therefore getting the right supplier to support your long
term objectives is critical to reducing risk to your business.
Nalpeiron offers you the safety of an external supplier whose
sole focus is on producing licensing solutions that offer
you and your users 24x7 service. We are the experts in the
complex mix of technology, encryption, servers and platforms
that allows us to take care of your needs allowing you to focus
on your core business.
Our technology is battle tested with millions of users, across 8
languages, 100 countries, and Win/Mac/Linux platforms. For
years Nalpeiron has improved and refined its copy protection
and piracy protection algorithms – a capability that is far
superior to even the largest ISV.
In addition to offering expertise and resources to reduce your
risk, we also offer an Escrow service to remove the business
risk of outsourcing.
Improve your speed to market
In today’s rapidly moving Software market, being able to
release and ship products quickly and without delays to the set
project schedules are critical. We all know hitting the ship date
is a real challenge.
Out sourcing non-core functions like Licensing can help de-
couple this critical functionality from the Software development
process internally, preventing issues with delays from other
parts of the business.
In addition, if you choose a partner who offers a solution
that is easy to integrate and fast to implement with your own
programming efforts, you can ship with a few extra days of
engineering time rather than months with in-house teams or
more cumbersome technologies.
As well as making it easy to implement, you need something
that works out of the box and that uses standards to allow
you to connect all your internal systems quickly too so that
operations don’t slow down your delivery dates.
Finally, setting up the entire supporting infrastructure and
training on it can take months with issues around servers,
bandwidth, SLAs, databases and all the required connectivity.
A hosted solution can eliminate all of these issues and allow
you to simply skip three to four months of delays to your
Hosted licensing vs.
home-grown in-house licensing
Automatically capture revenue leakage
Increase sales by tracking license infractions and automatically
marketing them using the Nalpeiron “overdraft” facility
The Overdraft facility presents an automated way to “catch”
users who will either deliberately or accidentally abuse your
software license terms – providing you with additional sales
The Overdraft facility is a great way to expose and capture
license abuse while offering users “softer” policing. Softer
policing is important, especially with business customers, as
it avoids many of the issues associated with software license
management and it shows a level of trust to your customers.
Use this unique tool to identify overuse and automatically
capture new revenues.
Using a Nalpeiron solution you will be able to instrument your
Software to allow you to capture, control and manage usage
data like never before. In addition, your staff will be able to
create and produce useful reports on the way your software is
consumed, how much piracy you are suffering, what your sales
cycles are, who your hottest clients are, when to have sales
focus on what part of the customer base and hundreds more
The opportunities to effectively plan and build a strategy are
now all at your fingertips, all in the cloud when you need
them and all easy to set up and manage by finance, sales and
Plus many more features and benefits.
Built-in automated marketing tools to
Use the power of the Nalpeiron ActiveMarketing™ automated
tools to increase product marketing flexibility – now you will
have real-time data and reporting, automated email marketing
and the ability to push hot leads to sales - all built into the
Nalpeiron Licensing Service.
You probably have read about the value of adopting a modern supplier with a SaaS business model giving you all
these benefits over legacy software products offered by our competitors. In addition to all the SaaS benefits, here
are some of the reasons that customers have chosen Nalpeiron over our competitors:
• Nalpeiron is technically superior
In many cases our customers simply find our platform offers a far superior technical solution to their needs.
The Nalpeiron Licensing Service covers all major platforms (Win/Mac & Linux), 8 languages, an extensive API to
connect everything and totally flexible way to sell and manage your software.
• Nalpeiron offers a fast ROI
Saving engineering, operational and capital costs over an in-house or competitive solution. Nalpeiron usually
shows ROI in months, not years. Our hosted solution also offers a transparent and cost-effective pricing plan.
• Nalpeiron drives revenue
As well as offering the obvious means to control licenses and boost revenue that way, Nalpeiron also offers a
complete range of marketing tools that focus sales on hot leads, offer product marketing useful reporting, and
allows marketing to create new sales from automated systems to tap revenue leakage and more.
• Nalpeiron offers a modern way to license your software
Nalpeiron offers you the choice to outsource all of the difficult and expensive infrastructure associated with
licensing. This is the modern way to run a Software ISV, allowing you to focus on your core business while
Nalpeiron hosts the licensing.
Nalpeiron is a very flexible software platform (SaaS) that addresses our
customers requirements in a simple and easy to implement way.
It also adds value in many ways over an old style licensing system.
Hosted licensing vs.
other types of solution
Meeting customer demand for more flexible sales models
We all know about SaaS and other business models that are growing rapidly in the software
space but they are simply another business model with the same basic innovations and
customer base traditional ISVs serve. In other words, not everyone has to switch to the
new SaaS trend to satisfy their customers - they can still happily deploy their software as
an on-premise server or an installed application but they can change the basis upon which
they charge for it.
Switching business models from the older style perpetual model to usage or subscription
based charging has nothing to do with the delivery mechanism. With a powerful and
flexible licensing system you can quickly switch your business model and entitlements
basis without changing the rest of your operations and back end infrastructure.
The IDC licensing survey also reveals an increasing demand for more flexible licensing
models, which in turn is going to fuel the demand for more sophisticated application usage
tracking tools. 22 percent of publishers currently offer usage-based pricing (up from 15
percent in 2009), and over the next two years it is expected to rise to 41 percent).
Why use a commercial
Implementing a commercial solution can deliver a number of
important fiscal as well as technological advantages over a
homegrown license management solution.
A commercial solution may also offer additional, qualitative advantages over a
homegrown solution such as greater levels of security and robustness than comparable
Most homegrown solutions are very simple and lack the tools, features and options that
contribute to greater operational efficiency.
Modern hosted solutions are also set to scale, allowing vendors to grow the solution
without slowing the growth of the business – with a pay as you go model.
Software publishers should also
consider ongoing trends in
pricing and packaging that call
for additional flexibility as well as
support for new usage scenarios
and more granular packaging.
Pay as you go, on an annual basis, unlike conventional
systems where you have to make a major up-front
investment in licenses, hardware and software. You benefit
from better cash flow and far greater IT flexibility.
Ease of access at anytime, and from
Cloud computing is “always on,” making it easy to grow
your business and support remote workers and locations,
or support a highly mobile sales or service team, because
people can access the cloud any time, day or night,
from any browser, desktop or mobile device. You, your
distribution channel and your end users can all access the
service 24x7, anywhere in the world.
Cloud software architectures are designed from the
ground up for maximum network performance, so they
frequently deliver better application-level availability than
conventional, on-premise solutions.
The Nalpeiron Licensing Service has been designed to scale
up or down and evolve according to your needs without
additional infrastructure. There are virtually no limits to how
many users you can have or the number of licenses that
can be activated. Nalpeiron has years of experience with
millions of end users managed by our technology.
No need to setup, deploy, manage or maintain licensing
You can reduce the risks of licensing staff leaving or the
Focus on your competency
No need to keep up with the crackers and hackers, or
the constant technology changes - let Nalpeiron take the
burden of software licensing, freeing you to focus on your
core business instead
You remain much more flexible without fixed capital
costs and unnecessary staff. No need to keep expensive
resources in house for non-core functions.
Upgrades, maintenance and system administration take
place in the cloud and are managed by Nalpeiron, so you
don’t have to spend nights or weekends supervising a new
version upgrade or a failed server.
You can be up and running within days, instead of months.
Use the Latest Product Version
On-demand software allows you and your end users
to enjoy the benefits of Nalpeiron’s latest features and
benefits without requiring you to worry about handling the
complexity of software updates.
Measure and report license activation and
Get a clear picture of the products and features actually
being activated and used. Use captured data to generate
competitive advantage and increase sales.
Benefits of cloud-based
Want to know more?
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+1-888-800-8818 (US only)
The Nalpeiron Licensing Service™ is a comprehensive platform that enables software publishers to create a range of flexible ways to sell and
market their software, with coverage for all the major platforms and the ability to choose whether to deploy software licensing infrastructure in
the cloud or on-premise. Nalpeiron is one of the strongest and most robust complete solutions on the market that supports millions of end users
with strong but friendly ways to monetize your software.
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