The Top 5 Benefits of Owning Your Own Software IP
Almost all companies today depend on business-critical software to operate, compete and grow. If you own or manage a business, you know that your software can make the difference between success and failure and is an essential component of your Intellectual Property (IP).
Owning your IP gives you greater control over your business destiny. Using proprietary software cedes that control to a disinterested vendor and leaves you vulnerable to events beyond your control.
Many companies depend on proprietary applications and do not own their IP – they only license it. This leaves them at the mercy of their vendors and denies them the substantial benefits of owning their own IP.
Top 5 benefits of IP ownership
While IP ownership has many benefits, we’ll focus on the top 5 in this article. For a deep dive into each, read on.
No drip, drip, drip of ongoing fees
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of owning your own IP is the avoidance of the sometimes insidious ongoing costs vendors charge to continue using their IP. Charges can include technical support, forced upgrades, integrations, and data extractions. Worse yet, your vendor may have no limits on the timing of fees or amounts they can charge.
If you own the IP of your business-critical software, you have much more control over costs. While the initial development costs may be higher than a relatively comparable proprietary software application, the ongoing costs are either eliminated or kept under your control. You may pay ongoing maintenance for instance, but this can be minimized if you have the right software development partner. Forced upgrades and their associated costs are not an issue and access to data is governed only by you.
No restrictions on usage
Many software licenses are very restrictive on the usage of their IP. There may be limits on the number of users, the number of instances, and more. Additionally, there could be constraints on integrations or even geographies. And while many of these restrictions can be eased in exchange for additional fees, they still limit your control.
If you own your IP, all these restrictions are eliminated. You can determine when and where to implement an application and how many of your users can interact with it. You write the rules and determine how your IP will be used.
Control over development
If you depend on proprietary software, you have little or no control over development. Your vendor may entertain new feature requests but there is no guarantee that yours will be implemented. Even if a new feature, function, or integration is critical to your business, your vendor is not obligated to deliver. Additionally, the vendor controls the timing of new features, upgrades, and releases – not you and your business needs.
Proprietary software vendors are bound by their own business objectives and those can sharply conflict with yours. More than one vendor has merged or been acquired and the needs of their customers can take a back seat. The applications you use could get sunsetted or development is frozen – often with little warning.
When you own your IP, these issues go away. You can change your software how you want to, when you want to and you won’t get slammed by sudden discontinuation or forced migration of your application.
Assured access to data
Data stored in your business applications may be your most valuable IP of all. And when that data is in proprietary applications, ownership can get murky. Depending upon the terms of your license, it’s probable that you own your data IP, but the story doesn’t stop there.
Even if your license recognizes your data ownership, that data may be locked in proprietary formats that require vendor assistance for access – along with associated fees or extraction or normalization. Or the architecture could be locked down to the extent that access is difficult and expensive. Either way, your data is held hostage.
But by owning your software IP, these data hazards can be avoided. You can easily access your data and use it in any way that you see fit. And the value of your data IP is protected
The perfect match your business needs
It’s fair to say that no licensed software IP will ever be a perfect match for your business. Your business objectives and circumstances are unique and a proprietary software vendor develops products to meet their goals – not yours. Most have a design goal of meeting the minimum capabilities for the maximum number of customers.
When you own your IP, the development objectives can match exactly with your business objectives and can adapt to them as circumstances changes. You don’t end up with bloatware weighed down with features that you don’t need while lacking key features that solve your unique problems or help exploit a new opportunity.
It all comes down to control
At a very fundamental level, ownership confers control and this is especially the case with IP. Each of these 5 benefits represents a degree of control that you would otherwise cede to your proprietary software vendor.
By owning your software IP, you have complete mastery over a critical factor in the success of your business.
While initial development costs may give you pause, taking the long view reveals lower costs over time. And given the benefits of owning your IP, you will likely find it a worthwhile investment that will pay off for you and your business.
Pell Software is a proven development partner
Pell Software is a premier custom software developer with expertise in all aspects of custom software development. We’ve worked with companies of all sizes and types, ranging from small businesses to startups to national companies in a wide range of industries.
So we know how to develop custom software to help you take back control and ensure your focus is on meeting your business objectives while driving growth and increasing profitability. And we never retain ownership of the IP we create. We develop it, but you own it.