The Case Studies make informative reading, showing how in the real world anything from large operational hurdles to idiosyncrasies which come under the banner of 'ideal needs and wants' have been solved for customers who have switched to the Nalpeiron Software Licensing Service.
Read how they switched and what they've achieved.
Drive Revenues - Nalpeiron helps improve connections with end users and cut down on unauthorized resellers and piracy
When Smith Micro Software decided to find a new licensing solution for their Productivity and Graphics group. They turned to Nalpeiron to help improve connections with end users and cut down on unauthorized re- sellers and piracy.
After an unfortunate series of experiences with a licensing software vendor fifteen years ago, Smith Micro Software relied on an in-house solution for the licensing needs of their Productivity and Graphics Group. Recently, however, they decided it was time to revisit their system.
The Productivity and Graphics Group identified four specific goals to be addressed by a licensing system:
- They sought more flexibility with license management.
- They wanted to have a better connection with their end users.
- They needed to prevent unauthorized resellers.
- They wished to cut down on piracy.
They were initially attracted to Nalpeiron because it addressed their goals exactly. “Pricing-wise, Nalpeiron was not the cheapest solution,” said Uli Klumpp, Senior Director of Engineering for Productivity & Graphics at Smith Micro. “However, we didn’t want a ‘barbwire’ legacy solution. We wanted a lightweight solution that’s effective. We liked how Nalpeiron addressed our needs, and how it’s implemented.” They were also preparing to launch a new product — Anime Studio 10 — which they felt would be a great test for trying out a new licensing provider.
Nalpeiron has been helpful in all four areas of concern.
- Connection with end users has been improved by the option of requiring registration. They now have a comprehensive list of users with whom they can interface.
- Nalpeiron's flexibility allows for trial activation and deactivation and makes it easy to convert trials into customers.
- By providing more control over serial numbers, Nalpeiron has made it possible to cut down on unauthorized resellers and provide a better overall experience for the customer.
- With increased control, once a serial number is authorized, it is burned, secured and cannot be utilized for multiple purposes. With such dedicated serial numbers, there is better hardening, so that the serial numbers cannot be misused for piracy.
Steve Cooper, Director of Product Management at Smith Micro, says Nalpeiron has been extremely helpful in enabling his team to improve their licensing management.
"One of our major concerns was reducing piracy, and Nalpeiron has basically enabled us to significantly improve our security in that regard. We are also pleased with Nalpeiron's flexibility, technical support, and willingness to accommodate."
Focus on Core Strengths - Nalpeiron Delivers "Speed to Market" for Datacolor
Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Lawrenceville, NJ, Datacolor is a global leader in color management and color communications technology. Datacolor initially developed solutions for industrial color challenges, and then expanded its product offering to include color communication and digital imaging solutions.
Datacolor provides sales, service and support in over 65 countries throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. Industries served include textile and apparel, paint and coatings, automotive, plastics, microscopy, photography, videography, digital imaging, home theater, ink, printing, paper, leather and others. The world’s leading brands, manufacturers and creative professionals have used Datacolor’s innovative solutions to consistently achieve the right color for more than 40 years.
In 2013, Datacolor invested in a new business opportunity. With ChromaCal, the company is seeking to leverage its color technology expertise into the field of science. As Mark S. McNulty, Global Director and General Manager, explained "ChromaCal is a color calibration system for optical microscopy. With ChromaCal, a color standardization process is applied to digital microscopy images to provide greater reliability in color reproduction and visualization, offering improved color integrity and comparability between specimen images."
In offering a first-of-its-kind solution, it was critical for Datacolor to stay focused on its technology development and market development activities. "We needed to focus on the customer and deliver a cutting-edge solution within a short timeframe," Mr. McNulty commented.
"And the executive team provided me with the freedom to achieve our objectives without being locked into existing infrastructure and processes. So, if areas were not core strengths that differentiated us in the market, we decided to transfer those activities to outside experts. After all, the customer should never know about your licensing solution. As much as possible, it needs to be in the background -- invisible, just doing its job."
Traditionally, Datacolor relied on an in-house licensing solution to address its existing businesses; however, it became clear early on that the ChromaCal business model required a different solution and time was short. A colleague who had recently assessed various licensing solutions recommended Nalpeiron to McNulty.
"We chose a Nalpeiron product – Shafer v.10 – as the leading-edge solution for the ChromaCal business. It was certainly more robust than we needed initially, but the capabilities provided a framework where the business can grow without encumbrances. And with analytics, there was a platform for staying close to our customers in terms of feedback on potential new enhancements to ChromaCal."
"Initially there were some bumps in the road as Shafer was released at the same time we needed to integrate it into our software. But Nalpeiron was very responsive in support and helping our small team overcome the learning curve. It meant a lot to me as an executive running a business that I could get the attention of key Nalpeiron people when I needed them."
McNulty has been responsible for developing the business from the ground up. "We are still in the early stages having just launched ChromaCal, so it’s a bit early to talk about real-world results. But clearly we could not have achieved our launch date target without a 3rd party licensing solution and Nalpeiron delivered."
McNulty concludes: "A business should focus on what it does best and partner with solutions providers in non-core areas. Of course those solutions need to be leading-edge in order to support the growth of the business.
Datacolor ChromaCal is a business working in a highly specialized and creative field. The company communicates their deep expertise across a wide spectrum of industries and need to speak the languages of all of them. By outsourcing their licensing needs to a trusted partner like Nalpeiron, the ChromaCal management team can focus on driving revenue and doing what they do best.
OnOne Software finds Security and Close Partnership with Nalpeiron
OnOne Software focuses on photography and writes desktop application software for Mac and Windows users who are photographers, both amateur and professional.
The cloud-based software allows these photographers to edit photos.
The company offers extensive free training, a freemium 30-day trial period, and other incentives for customers to try the products. PhotoShop, the standard software used by photo editors, has plug-ins that allow extensive features, and OnOneSoftware is one of them. In fact, this was how the company got its original start. In 2005, onOne Software acquired several Photoshop plug-ins and QuarkXPress XTensions from Extensis, Inc. and Lizard Tech and relaunched them under the onOne Software brand.
With headquarters in Portland, Oregon, onOne Software is a privately held company founded by Craig Keudell, the former CEO of Extensis, Inc. The onOne Software team has over a decade of experience developing and delivering world-class software solutions to the professional photographer and graphic designer.
By 2008, onOne Software had experienced success and growth to the point that they were having trouble with piracy. Duplicate serial numbers began showing up registered in the database, and this was clearly having a negative impact on revenue.
"We were trying to decide whether to build a licensing solution in house or to outsource." says Kevin Bier, VP Product Development at onOne Software. "Buy vs. build. Fortunately, we came to the conclusion that license costs were less than an in-house build. Because frankly, managing licensing isn’t our core business."
Kevin Bier, VP Product Development continues: "The initial set up was very straightforward. We were pleased with the ease of deployment/implementation. Nalpeiron is very familiar with the current technology. Every year around renewal time, we go through the buy vs. build question again, but we always decide to continue with Nalpeiron."
"What is most important to us is that we have a partnership we can count on. If an issue arises, we can rely on Nalpeiron to pay attention and be available. The company has been very pro-active on changes and communicated well. We don’t have to spend any of our time worrying about the issue."
"Another example of this partnership occurred when Nalpeiron was thinking through a web-version of licensing services and we were included in the process. I appreciated being part of those conversations. It allowed Nalpeiron to be introspective. I heard product plans – they were looking at the APIs very early – and I went through three or four calls, walked through early concept slides, and they were happy to do that. They were thinking through the subscription model for themselves and decided not to do it, but it was an informed decision. I really appreciated being a part of that decision-making because it gave me a deeper understanding of the licensing system."
Kevin Bier, VP Product Development comments: "Nalpeiron does a good job protecting our software and that’s a success. The proliferation of unauthorized code has completely ceased. If anyone does manage to crack a code, it’s pretty ineffective."
"The thing I’d like to underscore is that Nalpeiron Licensing should keep on doing exactly what they’re doing now. As the cloud becomes a bigger factor, continue to embrace these new technologies so that they continue to be available to us, their clients. On the licensing side – we are very happy."
OnOne Software appreciates the quality and communication they can depend on with Nalpeiron Software Licensing and are now in conversation regarding Nalpeiron Software Analytics.
Nalpeiron: A Business with “Character and Integrity”
MediaShout is a tech enterprise business providing presentation software to churches around the world. The company formed in the 1990’s when the founders saw the need for a media tool to run live worship presentations. Churches had outgrown hymnals and overhead projectors but the technology to have sophisticated media was prohibitively expensive. Along came MediaShout with a solution that allowed even an inexperienced volunteer to control lyrics, announcements, sermon commentary, and sound - and the worship experience was revolutionized. They wrote their first software in March 2000, and the company coined the term Worship Presentation Software that quickly became popular with younger pastors.
The software includes a database of song lyrics and bibles. Users can display these dynamically, as well as use images and video. MediaShout is available on both Macintosh and Windows and is designed for use by volunteers as well as employees in a constantly changing staffing environment.
When MediaShout launched their product in 2000, they had an instant success on their hands; the need was so great. CEO Eric Eitel explains: "The program became so successful that we couldn’t produce it fast enough. Twelve years later, we are selling our fourth major release and tens of thousands of churches are using MediaShout to add another dimension to their worship."
It is no surprise that a startup experiencing such a high level of success was focused on the creative aspects of their software design and the challenges of delivering product to their new customers.
As with many startups, security was hardly a priority concern.
As CEO Eric Eitel remembers, "Our business was all about innovation in software design. We didn’t want to take a product already existing in the entertainment industry to use for worship software; we wanted to create something that would really suit our customers’ needs. We probably thought that writing security code was all just part of that creative process."
For several years, MediaShout rapidly grew its business, and there were no problems. But then the day came when the combination of success and global recognition began to have a darker side.
"Until 2008 our licensing was in house. But then we started getting calls from customers around the world sharing the same license number and we finally discovered we hadn’t protected our software. Suddenly, security became our Number 1 concern."
As is often the case, the increasing growth of a business leads to being noticed by more and more customers that are exactly the market we wish to reach, but also by individuals wanting to make money through piracy.
CEO Eric Eitel continues: “We took three to five months to research and put in real due diligence to select the right licensing. We chose Nalpeiron because we felt the company provided the highest licensing security compared to its competitors, which addressed our primary concern; and they had the same character and integrity and corporate philosophy as us.
Given our passionate and committed clientele, that was something we valued highly.” But the benefits of moving licensing to Nalpeiron went beyond simply taking care of the piracy element. The nature of the MediaShout marketplace requires being particularly aware that a large portion of end-users are volunteers and that there is a large amount of changeover. The Nalpeiron licensing structure has allowed the business much greater flexibility with its licensing so that churches can more easily move licenses around between computers, providing customers with a higher level of service.
In Q3 2013, MediaShout released a new version of their software, upgrading the user experience dramatically. Given their positive experience with Nalpeiron Licensing, they are now considering using Nalpeiron Software Analytics to discover the power of data to learn about their customers and how MediaShout’s many features are actually being used, so they can continue to develop products that meet market demand and bring in revenue.
For MediaShout, the benefits of the Nalpeiron Licensing Service include peace of mind regarding security, increased income through new licensing options, and great technical support, and for their end-users, they include more options regarding licenses and pricing. In other words, Nalpeiron has benefited both MediaShout as well as MediaShout’s end-users.
In addition, "Nalpeiron customer support is quick, helpful and knowledgeable. But things have been working so well that we haven’t had to talk to Customer Support in almost a year," says MediaShout CEO, Eric Eitel. "Now that we’ve been with Nalpeiron Licensing Service for a few years, we are extremely glad to have reliable activation and stay in control of licensing security."
Nalpeiron Rocks the Music Industry with Licensing Management for Liquid Notes
Based in Vienna, Austria and San Francisco, California, Re-Compose has been developing pioneering methods and technologies for digital music production and optimal music perception since 2007. Their software Liquid Notes is a revolutionary standalone instrument and plug-in that combines a world-class composer, songwriting partner, arranger, and a set of meticulously designed controls and functions--all in one package! Beyond breathtaking musical skill and analytical capabilities, Liquid Notes allows the user unlimited creativity and inspiration through its groundbreaking functionality.
The software includes a database of song lyrics and bibles. Users can display these dynamically, as well as use images and video. MediaShout is available on both Macintosh and Windows and is designed for use by volunteers as well as employees in a constantly changing staffing environment.
"Re-Compose is known for delivering high-quality software products for the music industry, and we are very proud of that fact," says Roland Trimmel, Co-Founder of Re-Compose.
"Our customers are composers, producers, and DJs of all genres."
"With platforms like the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, licensing and other functions are taken care of by those parties when developing an app.
It is a part of their SDK. However, that is not the case with desktop applications, which are an entirely different world altogether. As a developer of desktop applications, you are in charge of everything, from licensing to distribution, billing, etc. So, we needed to look for a licensing management solution," says Trimmel.
Trimmel adds: "We had several selection criteria when choosing Nalpeiron: The first was flexibility. We wanted a cloud-based system maintained by the vendor, so we could be more hands-off and focus on our core competence instead. Nalpeiron fit the bill. With Nalpeiron, we are truly outsourcing the licensing, which is just not our core business. The installation was smooth, the system well-documented, and customer support was easy. Re-Compose started with a few hundred licenses two years ago and has since come round several times and purchased many more additional licenses."
"Secondly, the quality of the service is excellent, which matches our own commitment to excellence. As our growth continued, we also wanted to be sure that adding more licenses would be easy."
"Another factor was the price, because price matters, especially to start-ups. You can get Nalpeiron’s entry-level pricing for a fraction of services by competitors. And it reflects well on the functionalities we need. The pricing offered by other companies in the licensing management services market is very high for comparable solutions. Start-ups do not have the budget to spend big money on licensing management solutions that are inflexible and come with a range of features which are not needed. It certainly is a factor that hampers innovation in software development on the desktop! But Nalpeiron has proven to be a good fit for us."
"First," says Trimmel, "Nalpeiron offers excellent customer support. With Nalpeiron, we get instant feedback if we report any issue that our customers may run into. Also, they keep on innovating fast by bringing new state-of-the-art solutions and updates to market. This is very important, because when you run a business like ours you want to make sure that your customers have an absolutely trouble-free experience with your software. That starts from installation to daily use of it. And it includes taking into account that your customers may have installed an update for their Mac or Windows computer which may effect the licensing management service."
Nalpeiron Licensing Service provides affordable software licensing with excellent customer service. Re-Compose relies on these services to make them an integral part of delivering an outstanding experience to their customers when using one of their products.
Linnsoft drive Sales and Service with Nalpeiron License Management
In this case study Linn Software show how the Nalpeiron Licensing system can be used to solve complex licensing issues and drive a range of business benefits.
Linnsoft make market analysis software for traders and active investors. The company was founded in 1989 by Dr. William Linn.
Bill Linn started his career at the highly successful software company Cullinet, which was the first pure software company to go through successful public floatation and the first software company to get a $billion valuation. Introduced in 1996, Linnsoft’s current product, Investor/RT was the first product of its kind developed with cross-platform software engineering tools and a high performance cross-platform embedded database system. Investor/RT also incorporates a "data feed independent" architecture that has enabled the company to expand the market for its products and provide its clients great flexibility in the choice of data services to meet a wide range of trading requirements. Linnsoft now serves customers from over 35 countries around the world, focusing on the retail market, whilst its sister company Market Delta uses the Linnsoft product to service the corporate sector.
As a start up Linnsoft had developed their own copy protection. Bill Linn explains:
"Like many ISV’s in the early days we decided to develop our own solution. I have a Ph.D. in computer science, so I dusted off my cryptography books, picked the brains of a few ex-classmates who had gone on to specialize in the field and came up with a solution that was good enough for us at the time. Our software is an analysis tool and our customers will also have a subscription to a data service, with a unique password, so we piggy-backed our copy protection on to that password. This worked well enough for us for a time."
Fighting Software Piracy
Linnsoft became aware that their software had been cracked by a pirate ring in Russia, where financial software is a key target.
"With pirated versions of our software available on the internet for a fraction of the cost of the genuine article we knew we needed stronger copy protection so we took the decision to lock the software to a physical machine."
Moving on from the in house Licensing Solution.
Linnsoft quickly saw that attempting to develop their own licensing solutions to meet the new challenges would not be the best course of action:
"Our clients work in a very fast moving world. Our software helps them to make better trading decisions and for it to do that we have to remain focused on constant development and improvement. Attempting to re-develop our own licensing solution would have been a distraction from our core business."
Licensing Management for a Subscription Sales Model
Linnsoft were also moving away from selling lifetime licenses of their software, to a monthly subscription or SaaS sales model. This move proved to be a strong driver for sales as it created a far lower entry level price point for customers, allowed them to dip in and out of the service and also re-enforced the constantly developing nature of the software.
But from a licensing point of view the move to SaaS presented a whole new set of challenges. The in-house licensing system offered very little control over license de-activation and re-activation around payment issues. In addition Linnsoft were looking for a solution which would integrate both easily and deeply with their own software, offered a low cost of entry, offered cross platform functionality and also worked for their sister company Market Delta.
They selected the Nalpeiron Licensing System.
Moving Forward with Nalpeiron
Linnsoft have been working with Nalpeiron for 3 years now and have the licensing solution fully integrated into their own software.
Bill Linn explains:"NLS offers 100 modules, so there is something for pretty much every eventuality..."
Enhanced Copy Protection Drives Sales. With each software license locked to an individual machine Linnsoft’s product is now much more crack resistant. But there have been added bonuses. Bill Linn explains:
"Many of our customers like to move their license between home and work machines. This is fine, but they need to remember to deactivate the license on their second machine before returning to work on the first. Many customers forget to do this, so we have introduced a supplementary license, for a nominal charge of $20 per month which saves customers from having to do the daily license shuffle
The annual revenue we now derive just from these additional licenses covers our NLS expenses many times over on an ongoing basis. Before Nalpeiron we had no ability to control multiple machine usage by the same client, we are now extracting more revenue from customers who need multiple licenses."
Managing Subscription Licensing
Running a monthly subscription SaaS sales model in a small business can be an administration nightmare. Using the Nalpeiron Licensing System Linnsoft are able to effectively manage subscriptions with minimal administrative intervention.
The system works by getting each licensed machine to check in monthly with Linnsoft’s own web server to validate that the account is in good standing and marking modules in the license if there is a payment problem. The application must momentarily internet deactivate the license before it checks in each month, reactivating the license when it gets an okay back from the server. Those users with a payment issue are flagged in the license itself. This triggers notification to the customer within the software and a daily check-in by the product until the billing issue is resolved.
If there is no resolution, Linnsoft mark the user as having cancelled on their web server database so the next daily check in will simply mark the license as INACTIVE. If the user later clears the problem, they can revise the license code back to active so the user can then activate it.
This system also revises the expiration date of the license to keep it at least 60 days out to avoid any built-in expiry so long as the client is billed successfully each month.
"The system has generally worked well for us, with maybe a 95% reliability factor. We have not had NLS server availability issues at all."
In a similar way the system allows Linnsoft to get new customers up and running with the software before payment is received, keeping a daily check on the license to ensure that the account is paid up in good time.
Enhanced Customer Service
A few hours downtime can be a huge deal financially for one of Linnsoft’s trader clients. So the company are keen to do everything they can to keep their software operational. As a small business Linnsoft don’t operate 24/7 telephone tech support. So the client who finds himself "locked out" of his software for whatever reason, out of office hours could face big problems, with potentially significant financial repercussions, particularly if that client happens to be trading in a different time zone.
To alleviate this potential problem Linnsoft are looking in to using the license tracking and activation capabilities of the Nalpeiron Licensing System to give customers with accounts in good standing internet access to short term "emergency" license to get them over any temporary problems at times when they may not be able to access "human support.
Linnsoft provide software in a complex and demanding marketplace. By fully integrating the Nalpeiron Licensing System into their product they have achieved the enhanced copy protection they needed.
The system has also allowed them to generate additional revenue by controlling license overuse and driving multiple user license sales. Linnsoft have used the Nalpeiron system effectively manage a monthly subscription sales model whose profitability could otherwise have been undermined by administrative costs and lack of license control.
As a small company Linnsoft can also see the potential to use the Nalpeiron system to offer enhanced customer support to bona fide customers. Overall, Linnsoft show, how using the Nalpeiron licensing system to its full potential can not only provide strong IP protection but can also drive a whole range of business benefits.
SoftCafe wouldn't trust anyone but Nalpeiron with their License Keys
SoftCafe offer software designed to meet the needs of the restaurant and catering industry. The company was founded in 1994 and was the first company to offer Menu Software that featured one-click menu design and the 'menu style' concept, which let users switch entire menu designs with a single click. Since then their business has grown to include website building and scheduling software, all specifically designed for the catering industry. Now thousands of restaurants and catering professional from around the world rely on their software every day.
As the business grew SoftCafe’s founder Scott Tyburski knew that they needed to put a more effective licensing system in place. In a software start-up situation sophisticated licensing solutions are generally the last thing on anyone’s mind. Business owners might buy a cheap wrapper solution or put something together themselves. As the business grows and developers start to realize that they need more sophisticated your copy protection. There can be a tendency, for software developers, to want to write your own solution.
Scott quickly realized the potential pitfalls of taking this route:
"Being a small software company, we did indeed consider writing our own piracy protection and hosting our own code database. But we quickly realized that going this route would be a distraction from our core business. The exercise would probably end up eating huge amounts of time, both in the initial development and the ongoing support. We would be "reinventing the wheel" and in all likelihood any solution we devised ourselves wouldn’t match up to what is already available on the market."
So Softcafe set out to find a licensing solution. After looking at a number of options they settled on Nalpeiron.
"We could see straight away that the service and support that Nalpeiron offers would easily be more efficient, less expensive, and most importantly, more reliable than anything we could come up with on our own."
Dealing with high volume software sales to the catering industry, ease of use, for both themselves and their end users, was just as important to Softcafe as strong security. They quickly saw that the Nalpeiron licensing solution offered both these benefits:
"The ease of integration, flexibility, and ironclad security of the Nalpeiron Licensing Service, compared with using cheap wrappers, became evident just days after testing it."
Softcafe and their end-users have been enjoying the benefits of the Nalpeiron Licensing System for over four years now. CEO, Scott Tyburski sums up:
"We’ve now been with Nalpeiron for over 4 years and have no plans on switching – their products just do what they’re supposed to - for much less trouble and cost than doing it yourself."
The flexibility, ease of use and state of-the-art security offered by the Nalpeiron system have meant that Scott and his team have been free to concentrate on developing their software range, with no need to divert resources to licensing development, or licensing related support issues: "At SoftCafe we take pride in delivering bug-free code and an easy-to-use end-user experience, and we wouldn’t trust the keys to that software to anyone other than Nalpeiron."