Richard Murray Blog: How do you pay for your software licensing?

10th March 2015

by Richard Murray.

As a leading software house we discuss this subject a lot! What is the best way to procure licensing for your property software? As a company we have spent 25 years delivering software to the property industry and have seen many products come and go.

The average life cycle of property software within estate agency is about 7 years although this will vary dependant on the size of the agency and the technology adopted at point of procurement. In a vertical market containing a varied range of suppliers in terms of size, experience and client base we come across a number of different licensing models when competing for business. The ’software as a service’ (SaaS) model is popular in other market sectors and I can see the benefits when applied to a payroll software for example but in the property industry often the software is the backbone of the organisation and is in constant use by multiple users at any one time.

We have been delivering concurrent user licensing since the first versions of our ‘Eurolink’ software and strongly believe this is the fairest way to deliver licensing in our market. With a one off cost based on the number of users accessing the software at any one time this allows for departments and companies to share a pool of licenses. With users accessing the software at their desk, remotely or via tablets and smart phones the number of licenses will need to be determined up front but can easily be topped up as required. I find it difficult to understand how a supplier can justify a ‘per user’ or ‘per seat’ model commonly known as ‘named seat licensing’ in the property industry (or any for that matter).

What this translates to is a business model which effectively will only grow in licensing revenue the less efficient the software is. Surely the idea of any software is to make a business more efficient and be able to process more business transactions with the same head count? Without this return on investment it would make little or no sense to change software in the first place.

Next time you are speaking to your software provider ask them what their licensing model is and if someone can come up with a justified reason for named seat licensing let me know!