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SafeNet Partners to Expand Software Monetization Ecosystem Safety Net

May 07, 2014

Part of the reason is that customers have thousands of different types of software, mission-critical in general or important to various lines-of-business (LOBs), they use. Other reasons include the realities that even when using similar software there can be a very heterogeneous licensing environment. This is because different vendors’ solutions, especially in multi-location organization, have been purchased at different times. Plus, as a result of the explosion of cloud-services (public, private and hybrid) different business models may be in place. And, organizations in many instances are in the midst of major transformations. They are trying to determine not just physical but virtual migration strategies. 

As a result of all this, while software monetization and entitlement management is moving to a more centralized cloud-based approach, this is a revolution happening at evolutionary speeds. There is a lot to consider in terms of taking the right steps, based on unique needs, for moving forward. 

Given the important functions performed by state-of-the-art cloud-based monetization and entitlement management systems—to automate processes, protect intellectual property and enable better and more cost effective management of software from both vendor and user perspectives—being able to deal with a trusted ecosystem in order to get from where you are to where you can and should be is paramount. In society it may “take a village,” but when it comes to creating, protecting, and managing software it takes trusted partners.

Here the reasons are basically twofold. First is to ensure that integration and interoperability challenges do not arise and cause more pain and cost. Second is that working with an ecosystem of partners with a strategic as well as tactical understanding of how to produce and hopefully exceed desired outcomes are critical for success.

With the above as context, I recently had the opportunity of discussing with Omkarnath Munipalle, the director of cloud business development at SafeNet (News - Alert) (News - Alert), SafeNet’s views on partnering when it comes to building and nurturing the company’s ecosystem whose foundation is in their Sentinel Cloud portfolio of software monetization and entitlement management solutions.

TMCnet:  Outline the types of partners SafeNet works with and why?  

Munipalle: Sure, if you go on our website you will see that we have segmented the partners program into a few key buckets. These include Channel Partners who fall under the usual definition, i.e, are VARS, system integrators (Sis), and distributors all of whom play an important role in sales, support, etc. We also have System Integrators and Alliance Partners which includes the largest and most important players in systems integration/consulting, auditing, outsourcing, and managed services business; Technology Partners consisting of application developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) who can extend their opportunities by working with our security products; and, service providers who within our ecosystem can enable a complete portfolio of encryption, access control, and key management solutions that cover the lifecycle of sensitive data as it is created, accessed and moved wherever it resides.

The beauty of having such an expansive yet cohesive set of partners is to provide best-in-breed solutions that give customers options and flexibility along with peace of mind. Sentinel Cloud, is for most instances at the center of customer transformation but there are also instances where we are a critical element of a broader business transformation effort.

 TMCnet:  The latter is where and why the Sis are important, right?

Munipalle:  The short answer is yes. 

Because of the urgency now attached to business transformation at many enterprises, the SIs are busy working with many of the world’s largest organizations to see if, where, when, why and how their hardware and software infrastructure can and should be virtualized and can and should be moved to a subscription model.  Where SafeNet comes in is as a trusted advisor as well as a solutions provider. The reason is thatsoftware licensing is such a fundamental part of moving more and more parts of the business not just to the cloud but to subscription models.  This is where we can also add value thanks to our tight partnerships with major billing companies.

TMCnet:  I take it that those billing partners are not an insignificant component of your technology partners?  As the world moves to subscription-based models the assumption is that they are emerging as important pieces of the puzzle for holistic solutions in line with why ISVs and companies providing authentication solutions are ecosystem technology partner anchors, correct?  In fact, on the authentication side of things, where there is an installed base and a forklift is not required or recommended to get a high-performance, secure and cost-effective solution, assuring integration is sound and the approach can be made migration friendly, must be a key consideration as to whom SafeNet partners with? 

Munipalle:  In answer to the first part of your question, yes, there is terrific synergy because of the move to subscriptions where an integrated billing and licensing solution makes all kinds of sense. Based on a company’s roadmap we can recommend a billing partner or we can work with what they have. We give basic connectors, and have agreement where we share information to enable as broad a reach as possible. 

As to the second and third parts of the question, ISVs are our customers and we see value going in both directions from them working with Sentinel Cloud because it makes their lives so much easier and cost effective, and we in the process allow the end customer to have a better user experience in terms of things like pricing and compliance. And, obviously, since SafeNet is about keeping every aspect of the software lifecycle accounted for and protected, working with all of the authentication capabilities out there to mitigate as much risk as possible for all concerned is a very high priority in terms of how we look at partnering.    

TMCnet:  What about OEM relationships? 

Munipalle:  Glad you asked.  We are at the early stages of these kinds of relationships but we see tremendous value in them moving forward.  Especially with our SI partners we see this as an opportunity for them to offer a complete solution with Sentinel as OEM.  We also see opportunities in other areas where because our systems are generating so much valuable user and usage data, we can partner extremely well as an OEM with those in the Big Data analytics and business intelligence areas.  There is significant upside in that Sentinel Cloud capabilities really can be useful when additional analytics are applied for activities such as packaging, planning, reducing churn and understanding the time and place for up-selling.    

After all, customers want to know how their customers are using their applications and that is precisely what we provide.  It enables creation of what-if scenarios, which capabilities are being used and by whom, whether there is cyclical usage of certain features, etc.  It means giving vendors the ability to respond to changing market conditions faster.  As noted, Sentinel Cloud is generating a wealth of extremely valuable information that is useful across an enterprise in places like sales, marketing and product development.

This is also important as the embedded software market takes off as well. SafeNet solutions can protect and track with detailed accuracy the status of that software from business and security standpoints.

TMCnet:  Any final thoughts?

Munipalle:  This may be a good segue from the last answer. 

What ISVs want to know and what SafeNet’s software monetization solution provide are intellectual property protection, and automated capabilities that enable them to know a tremendous amount about who, when, where, why and how their software is being consumed and whether terms and conditions are being complied with.

The software world is no longer just about billing for perpetual licenses. It is about a broad spectrum of uses on a myriad of devices for an ever-growing population of applications. In short, from a vendor perspective it is about security and monetization. For the enterprise and its end users it is about knowing what you use or don’t use and only paying for what is used. It is also about helping assure only those who should be using software are using it and doing so under the proper terms and conditions. Those are big tasks and it really does take an ecosystem of trusted partners to produce what the market is asking all of us to deliver.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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