Distributors are reporting strong and steady growth in their software licensing businesses as a result of annuity-based tools for resellers.
Ingram Micro last week became the latest distributor to ramp up its annuities game, launching a new Web-based licensing tracker tool in conjunction with e-commerce partner, Intersell, to help resellers manage their software business.
Licence Tracker sits in Intersell's TechLink4U platform, which also includes website building, marketing campaign and quoting applications. The tool allows resellers to oversee software licences from nine of Ingram's vendors - Microsoft, Symantec, Trend Micro, Adobe, Corel, McAfee, CA, Red Hat and VMware. Ingram sales director, John Walters, said it would support a further four vendors shortly.
"Licensing is a key focus for Ingram," he said at the Sydney launch last week. "There's a lot of black magic to software licensing - quoting and licensing are not easy.
"With Licence Tracker resellers can store, quote and import data on software licensing sold and track that." Ingram had spent the past few months trialling the tool with resellers, Walters said.
"We had one case where a partner doing beta testing thought he had 10 opportunities at about $10,000. Once we plugged the vendor info in, he realised $1 million in opportunity he didn't know he had," he said.
Licence Tracker directly interfaces with the Ingram software licensing team and alerts them of upcoming renewal opportunities 90 days before expiry. They can then preview the previous licences and provide resellers with renewal or upgraded software codes.
Resellers with a TechLink e-commerce site can also give customers rights to view licensing quotes and information online. Resellers retain all ownership of customer data.
Express Data has offered its reseller annuity services for the past four years and has three dedicated annuity staff. Software and annuity manager, Niall Connell, said its business was growing year-on-year, with up to 2000 resellers now accessing the service. It manages products from 15 software and hardware vendors.
"We are selling more licences and capitalising on more renewal opportunities year-on-year, so the tail keeps growing," he said. "Many enterprise partners without these services in-house were keen to take them up - what we're now seeing is a fl ow-on to more of the SMB space."
Express Data's software division manager, Client Musgrave, highlighted increasing demand and take-up of virtualisation and software-as-a-service as changing the licensing landscape.
itX also has an annuity tool available and offers products from six vendor partners. Marketing manager, Paul Sadler, agreed annuity products from distributors was allowing smaller resellers to capitalise on more software licensing renewals. The distributor has more than 11,500 renewals being tracked in the system.
"Most of the smaller resellers don't have renewals teams or a database - they rely on us to tell them when renewal opportunities come up," he said.