Software Maintenance

Christian Stredicke
CEO of Vodia Networks

Software is not a static product. This is something that several hundred thousand Windows customers and users had to learn again in the last few days.
The latest computer glitch "WannyCry" is actually nothing really special. There was already lost of ransom ware floating around; what seems to be different was that Windows computers seem to have the ability to execute code initiated from another computer in the LAN if I get this right. To me this is just another reminder that the software business model has ultimately changed from a one-time sales to a ongoing relationship with the customer. Those who run critical software for years without an update are taking high risks, the infamous "never change a running system" attitude in computer science seems to come to an end these days because they might not be running any more when you come back to the office on a Monday morning. Those who installed an app on their smart phone would even get confused if there is no new version coming out every few weeks. What is on the smart phone is merely a cached version of the app, with regular checks for new versions like hitting F5 on the browser.
For us making PBX software this means that the switch to the software maintenance model for our CPE licenses was the right step. Ultimately hosted and CPE licenses are going into the same direction: Licensing these days must be seen as a revenue and cost stream. The interval for hosted PBX is shorter, and for the CPE is longer.
Even for hardware devices the trend goes into revenue stream. Does anybody seriously believe that the smart phone bought today will be still in use in three years? Even for cars, the manufacturers push for three-year leases; and they are doing well with it. In my own perception those companies that offer recurring revenue business models are doing better that are okay with one-time sales. This is something that IT professionals should keep in mind.