Software licensing and piracy: It still amazes me how many organizations continue to run their business without proper licensing? Time and time again, we come into organizations that are running their business using some type of software applications to create revenue for their organizations or to create efficiencies in their organization and yet many of the organizations fail to have proper licensing. Let’s talk a little bit about this.
Software licensing, you know, people look at it and they don’t see the value in software. Today especially they see it so simple. You just grab an application, you copy it and install it and use somebody’s license key and they think it’s all so simple. Why should someone pay so much money for this?
And the question comes down to not-what does a software cost. We’d really need to flick that around and go, why do we need that software? Let’s think about this. Organizations use software applications to create efficiencies in their organizations, ease of use, and ease of work. I have seen organizations that use applications that, used to take 20 people to do the work and now they are getting all that work done with two or three people and yet there’s still a challenge for these people to understand the value of purchasing that software.
I have seen instances where organizations are running their company and these are large organizations over a hundred people, having very little license software in the entire organization. My advice to any business owner or IT Person listening or reading this right now is to make sure that you have an accurate inventory of all the software you use.
If you don’t need a piece of software, then don’t use it, you know don’t buy the license. But really you need to understand that you have an obligation to the developer of that software, the manufacturer to pay the licensing fee, you’re using their intellectual property. Let’s be blunt here, just so that everybody understands it. You are stealing, when you use unlicensed software, it’s theft, you know, we look at unlicensed software and people use it and think oh, you know, “it didn’t cost anything therefore why should I pay for it” or “I’m only using it once in a while” but it really comes down to if you use this software even once and it benefits your organization, why not pay for it?
If you can’t afford it, then don’t use it or hire someone who has a licensed copy, pay them what you need to and have the work done what you need to do. It’s not worth putting your business at risk, that’s right, you have got to understand there’s a risk to operating with unlicensed software.
Gone are the days now of going to the corner store and having someone to install a computer for you with all of that free software on it. You know if I think now about the cost of software, let’s say an office package. First is the cost of that same office package say 15 years ago. You know, maybe an office it used to cost $3500.00, $5000.00. Today you can buy that same office suite as little as $500.00. Why would we pirate that software? Hey, if you are a home user or student, most companies have extremely attractive pricing for you.
Take for instance Microsoft Office, you can get for under a hundred dollars the same with applications from companies like Auto Desk, for Auto CAD, they have home versions of their software, academic licensing for their software. They’re not to be used in commercial environments but they are there for you to purchase and become educated and proficient with those applications and use them for your home uses.
Why buy software? You know what? I’ll get back to that in a moment. The reality is – Where are the inefficiencies in your organizations? You really need to stop and take a look at that. What’s it costing your organization? Where areyou losing money? Where are you inefficient? Why? Because, what it really comes down to is it’s not the dollars and cents that you pay for a software license, it’s really the dollars that you burn and throw out the window through inefficiencies in your organization.
When we take a look at a company, our highest and most-our greatest expense on our balance sheet, is the cost of our employees? Go ahead and take a look at your balance sheet now, pull it out. Now you tell me what the largest expense is. Sure if you’re a manufacturing company perhaps the cost of your materials are the highest however, for many organizations, if we get away from that the second most highest cost is going to be the cost of your employees.