License Options

Using the same setup and coding, you can offer your clients a:

SOL gives you the flexibility to offer a different type of license to each of your clients depending
on their needs.

Network License (SOLNet)

A Network License allows your client to install your application to multiple computers while you control the number of concurrent and/or total users. Users can log into your application from the office, home, or while traveling as long as they have an Internet connection.

1) At the time of sale, you create a new client record in your SOL client database. Fields include
the client name, a client password, a list of applications the client may use, a license expiration
date (if renting a license), and the maximum number of concurrent users. Later, if your client upgrades,
licenses other applications, or adds more users, you simply change the data in this record -- your
client will see the change take place immediately. (You can also terminate a license instantly.)

2) At the start of your application, a user enters login information. A SOL function checks to see if
the password is valid and a license is available. If both are true, the application runs normally. If not,
you decide what action to take (run in demo mode, terminate the application, log for future reference, etc.)

Time-Metered License (SOLMeter)

A Time-Metered License also allows your client to install your application to multiple computers
and use it anywhere they have an Internet connection. However, instead of controlling the number
of concurrent users, it simply logs all usage time so that the client can be billed according to a
contract you establish with them. Even more, the user name and client-defined billing items (ex. Job #,
Job Manager, Billing Group, etc.) can be logged so that the client may view a detailed online report of
how the software was used. A client (who is a consultant, for example) may wish to use this report
to bill their time to back to their own clients.

1) As with a Network License, you create a new client record at the time of sale. All you have to do is
enter the username and password for the client’s administrator. The administrator can then create a
list of other usernames with passwords. He or she can also create a list of Billing Items (ex. Job #,
Job Manager, Billing Group, etc.)

2) At the start of your application, a user enters login information. A SOL function checks to see if
the username and password are valid. If so, the user may also enter billing items. All of the information
is logged and the user is able to view his or her timesheet inside the application. Later, in a browser,
the client’s administrator can view and print a full report sorted by user, billing items, and time.
The cost is also totaled.

Unit-Metered License (SOLMeter)

A Unit-Metered License works the same way as a Time-Metered license -- the application is installed
on multiple computers and all usage is logged. The difference is that instead of logging time, a unit of
use is logged. A unit of use is defined by the developer as a way to charge for use of the software.
For example, a developer may charge $200 every time a new project is started.

Hardware Key License (SOLKey)

SOLKey may be used in conjunction with virtually any hardware key that you may already be using
to protect your software. It gives you the ability to remotely terminate a key in case it is reported lost.
For example, you include a key with your software for a client. One year later, that client reports
that they've lost their key. You send them a second key. If they later find the first key, it will no
longer function.

1) At the time of sale, you program your hardware key, as usual, but set an expiration date of your
choice (6 months in the future, for example). Then, you add the client name and serial number of
the key to your SOL client database.

2) Your client can use your application without being connected to the Internet. However, if they
happen to be connected, you can have a SOL function check the serial number of the attached hardware
key. If the client has not reported the key lost, your code extends the expiration date by 6 months, for example).

3) Let's say the client loses the key. So, you send another key but add a flag to the SOL client database
to terminate the first key if it is used again. If the client uses the first key while connected to the Internet,
the SOL function returns the key-lost flag and your code will terminate the key. The client will eventually
need to connect to the Internet while using the first key or it will expire.

If you are looking for a good hardware key product, we can recommend one that is easy to use with
SOLKey. We can even provide code examples for extending the expiration date or terminating the key.

Advantages of a Time/Unit Metered License vs. a Perpetual License

The perpetual license model (the client pays for the license up front) has been the standard for
about 20 years. For many products, it may make sense to continue to use this model. If you need to
offer a network version of a perpetual license, we recommend SOLNet. Likewise, we recommend
SOLKey when offering a hardware key version of a perpetual license.

On the other hand, high speed Internet has finally made metered licensing possible. For many
software products, this may be the best solution for the following reasons:

1) Fair Pricing Maximizes Revenue

When you sell a 1 user, perpetual license to both a large firm and a small firm, chances are that the
large firm will get much more use out of your software even though they both pay exactly the same.
The large firm might share it between several users while the small firm has just one user. (Even if
you restrict your installation to one computer, a large firm can get around it by placing it on a central
computer that everyone shares.) If you price your software low enough to make it worthwhile for
the small firm, you lose profit potential to larger firms, which would pay more. If you price your software
too high, you lose sales to the firms that don’t have enough need. Using a Time/Unit Metered License,
you bill your clients fairly, according to use. You maximize revenue to large clients and gain sales to
low use clients who would not otherwise make the large upfront investment of a perpetual license.

2) No Upfront Investment Speeds Sales Cycle

Since there is no upfront investment, your clients don’t need to do the type of in-depth analysis
they would do before deciding to spend several thousands of dollars. You’re happy to make a quick
sale and they’re happy to begin using the software sooner. This model may get your software "in the
door” on an otherwise difficult sell.

3) Client Re-Billing Option is a Strong Sales Tool

Your clients can view and print their usage reports sorted by job number, user, or any other parameter.
Then, they use this documentation to bill their clients. Since they are passing the costs on,
not investing money themselves, it should be easier for you to convince them to use your software.

4) Simplified License Management

Keeping track of licenses and making sure users are in compliance is a major chore for both the
developer and the client's IT staff. With a Time/Unit Metered License, there are no licenses to keep
track of. You simply “flip the switch” and begin logging use. Your clients gain a national floating
Internet license and can let everyone in the firm become a user.

5) Potentially Increase the Use/Popularity of your Software

Because of the typical high cost per seat of a perpetual license, firms have to limit the number of
seats they purchase. Therefore, the software will not be used as widely as it could be. On the
other hand, with a Time/Unit Metered License, a firm can allow everyone to become a user because
they don't have to decide the number of "seats" they purchase up front. You are happy to have as
many users as possible because you are paid for their usage, and occassional users now have the
potential to become frequent users.

6) Client Always Has Latest Version of Software

You gain a continuous revenue stream no longer having to sell upgrades. Your clients are happy
not to have to upgrade. Your technical support is simplified since all your clients have the same
version of the software.