Licensing models are notoriously difficult. Even more so when the solution is needed by most users on an intermittent basis only.
We’ve thought a lot about this challenge over the 10 years since ICEFLO was launched. We have tried to create a licensing model that genuinely represents fair value and reflects the actual usage of the ICEFLO solution. Let’s start with the basic business realities.
- ICEFLO is a solution for managing complex technology cutovers.
- Cutovers happen all the time. Probably every weekend. Somewhere, sometime, for some organisation.
The reality is that most business and technology staff don’t get involved in cutover events very often. Perhaps once or twice a year, perhaps once in a career. Whenever they are involved, the cutover preparation and execution activity typically lasts for a couple of months only.
That being said, there are some people who are constantly involved in cutovers. Perhaps they have specific roles in large organisations where cutovers come along all the time. A centralised “centre of excellence”. Perhaps they work for a consulting or technology services organisation where cutovers are a core part of their business, with clients regularly transitioning to a new platform or system. For the client, this might be a “once in a decade” change. For individuals in these roles, cutovers are a regular occurrence and just part of the job.
With this mixture of “users” in mind, we have experimented with license models that we believe “work” in this business context.
Here’s our overall approach to the licensing for ICEFLO:
- Pay for Use Customers will only be asked to pay for a license fee when they actually use the ICEFLO service.
- Simplicity Every user account within each customer has access to exactly the same product features. We don’t do “editions”.
- No Limits Users who have an ICEFLO account are not constrained by fear of being charged for simply having an account.
- Fair Value We can demonstrate “fair-value” by reporting on licenses purchased and variable, dynamic usage against that license.
- Flexible Terms If customers desire flexibility and want to buy licenses incrementally, as they derive value, we can do that.
- Enterprise Agreements Our largest customers demand enterprise agreements that provide unlimited use. We can do that too.
With these principles in mind, we have designed ICEFLO licensing in the following way:
- Creating ICEFLO user accounts incurs absolutely no license fee - every customer has an unlimited number of user accounts.
- A license fee is only incurred when a user logs into the service in any given calendar month.
- It doesn’t matter if they log in once or a thousand times in that month.
- We assume that’s when they extract value and that’s how we hope to be compensated.
- We call this license a Monthly Access License (or MAL).
How ICEFLO licensing works
- A customer buys a quantity of MALs.
- These can be used by any of an unlimited number of defined users, at any time.
- They don’t have an expiry date.
- If a customer is getting value by using ICEFLO, more MALs will be consumed.
- If usage is low, the rate of consumption will be low.
- Reports show what’s being consumed and by whom.
- When the customer wants more MALs, it’s a simple transaction to purchase more.
- Consumption offers maximum flexibility with minimal commitment.
We believe that ICEFLO delivers tremendous value to organisations as they approach the daunting challenge of planning and executing technology cutovers. We know this type of activity is not the norm for most of the people involved. Our licensing tries to reflect the transient nature of the cutover scenario and is underpinned by our sense of both parties experiencing a sense of exchanging “fair value".