Software developers offer many different options when it comes to licences. In the last few years, the sector has been influenced by several important changes such as the rise of Cloud Computing, with its concept of ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS).
This means that the program is supplied as a service, therefore it cannot be considered for a perpetual licence. This has led to an increase in the take-up of rental licences, paid monthly or annually, although the perpetual licence is still available.
How does operational software with a perpetual licence work?
When perpetual licence software was the only option, companies used to purchase support hardware (eg floppy disk or CD) or backup memory in the form of an optical disk. The chosen devices had to be perfectly suited to the type of operational function requested. The same constraints also applied to the operating system.
With the option to carry out a digital download, the programs’ level of accessibility has improved, without any substantial changes being made to the developers’ sales strategy or licence. This is known as perpetual licence software, which means that it can be used for as long as required without incurring extra costs.
Rental licence on cloud
The introduction of the cloud has brought changes, giving rise to the rental software licence.
In these cases, installation on company devices is not required, due to the fact that the program is delivered via Internet. The licence is temporary and users pay for it monthly or annually. It is also possible to access freemium versions, available for free, but with limited functionalities.
With a rental licence, developers can modify the price of the service either on a monthly or annual basis. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, companies who purchase management software must pay close attention to the restrictions stipulated in the contract.
Which option should you choose?
Before making a choice, it is a good idea to bear in mind that rental software can entail significant financial savings. This can change over a period of three to four years however, during which a rental licence may end up being more expensive compared to a perpetual one. For this reason, many software houses have made their products available with both rental and perpetual licences.
As far as payment flexibility is concerned, rental solutions are more advantageous. Developers offer a wider choice, allowing the user to opt for very low monthly fees with consequently limited software functionalities, but also higher priced solutions for Pro and Premium versions. This level of payment flexibility is frequent among perpetual licence software too.
As far as independence is concerned, rental software is superior, especially in the long-term. Thanks to the monthly subscription, users have greater freedom of choice regarding which product to use.
When choosing a particular kind of software for company use, real independence is provided by a perpetual licence. This solution allows liberal use of the chosen program, which remains the property of the purchasing company without any extra cost or binding constraints.
When users choose a perpetual licence, they can choose whether to include the maintenance and support services or not. In the case of a rental licence, these costs are usually included, as are the updates.
The latter cannot be decided by the end users, who have less control. The perpetual licence represents the best option, as it can guarantee the company significant savings and a good level of operational independence.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith