Yoxel v1.18: License Management System (LMS)
November 26, 2007
Yoxel v1.18 is available for download with a significant extension to YOXEL SLS (for sales) suite: License Management System. You may ask, “Why YOXEL SLS?” – when the focus of the project is agile product management. The reason is that our active users encourage us more and more to link into CRM world and as I wrote before this seems to make alot of sense: Bridging the worlds of PLM and CRM
So what is this License Management System?
Think of it as of yet another flavor of Yoxel request tracker. The requests ask to cut a license (produce a license file) for a customer, deliver it to the customer, and confirm that it is installed successfully. That is what your customers and eventually your sales people request internally from your R&D, Support, or IT team (whichever is in charge of your license cutting process), and if you have many customers and many such requests you’d better keep it all organized. So there is a certain workflow for the requests (customization is of cause possible), and here are the main states of the default workflow:
- State ‘open’ – a sales guy files a request. At this point the sales can help by specifying required details: license server platform, hostid, list of individual feature keys and their parameters (#keys, expiration dates, …).
- State ‘assigned’ – the request gets automatically assigned to a technical owner of the account (your support or sales engineer). This person will cut the license himself or work with other department to get the right license file.
- State ‘generating license’ – the technical owner is working on generating the license. He will generate the license file externally and then attach it to the request. We have also provisioned a feature-set construction panel and hooks for running external license-generators (require some customization work) so that license cutting itself could be done from Yoxel too. So the owner simply constructs the feature set from available keys and then presses button ‘save’ – the license is generated and the file is attached to the request.
- State ‘license ready’ – the license is ready so it can now be sent to the customer
- State ‘verified’ – the customer has confirmed that the license has been installed and is working.
- State ‘closed’ -the request has been complete!
Purchase Order Tracking?
In many cases each license request is a result of a purchase order (PO) that has come in from a customer. This means that the a $$ amount could be associated with each request too. We have provisioned a field (booking) for that but in this 1st version of the LMS we would like to stick to the technical side of the license tracking and generation mostly. Your feedback on the PO part would be very appreciated.
Feature set construction
Besides pure tracking capability of the LMS another key part of the system is license key management. License files are usually constructed as a set of individual keys, each enabling a certain product or feature. People that use Macrovision’s FlexLM are very familiar with the concept of Time Based Licenses (TBL) and license files that are sets of those feature keys. So the LMS allows you to define all your available keys, their descriptions, and their fee information. Then at a license submission stage or license generation stage one can easily construct/modify a set of required keys and use that for license file generation.
Once-off, TBL, and billing/maintenance fees
There are many different software licensing schemes: charge once per installation, bill periodically as long as the product is in use, get a payment ahead of time for a license that will expire (TBL), … We have tried to accommodate a few popular strategies. You can associate all this fee related information with any key that you define. Then when a feature set is constructed, that is when you specify a desired list of keys, #keys, expiration dates the LMS computes for you final once-off amount, pre-payment TBL amount, billing/maintenance amount. This is meant to be used as a worksheet mostly, to have a good idea of what kind of fees your license file is entailing. The actual booking amount entered for a request is up to the sales person (ideally it is the once-off fee + the TBL sub-total). The worksheet also informs you of planned billing schedule.
Check it out
So the 1st version of LMS is available for you to try at our demo accounts at http://yoxel.com and for download. I am sure it is not perfect yet and requires quite a few useful features to be added, we have some interesting ideas and will be enhancing the system in the next releases.
To see what else is new in v1.18 please visit our news section at http://yoxel.com and explore our demo accounts.