Saturday, November 1, 2008

Elimination of software piracy. Is it possible?

Elimination of software piracy. Is it possible?

Piracy was born as soon as an original came to light. It is driven by greed, disrespect for creative intellectual property or simply not appreciating value. However, it is also driven by need to use and a need not to over pay. All these factors colluded to give piracy a foundation to prosper.

Many countries around the world, over the course of the last few years, have taken up the cause to protect Intellectual Property by attempting to stamp out piracy. Most, if not all, executed awareness tactics; scare scenarios; appeal to logic types of activities. Sad to say that even though many have proclaimed victory, the real market sentiment is that it is still rampant.

The world of IT is a world of accelerated pace without regards for the usual evolution or even revolution convention. It has witnessed the downfall of giants and the growth to supremacy from nothingness. It respects no rules.

So are we approaching a new world with an outdated approach? How far do we need to go to get closer to a solution?

Many businesses, especially the Small & Medium Enterprise, has told us over and over again that they want to embrace and make IT a big part of their business but do not want to own it. They do not have the economy of skill to have IT personnel. We have also told them again and again to focus on their core-competency and IT is not one of them. They listened. They followed. Now it is our turn.

With the advent and rapid progress of broadband and the ability to have seamless cross platform connectivity through the Internet, the idea of Application Services Provider needs to be re-visited. In the past, it is almost unthinkable to access information over the network to provide us response in an agreeable time. That has all changed with broadband and the Internet.

So why spend money buying thousands of copies of the same software; negotiate like crazy on price based on rights of usage that we all know will change; then bitch about not using all the functions because some personnel are task-based and some are knowledge-based; and live in fear that some unaware and over-zealous employee will re-use an authorized copy and commit the crime of PIRACY!

The solution is starring us in the face and we just swat it away like an irritating fly, when most times we ended up slapping ourselves, unfortunately on hindsight! And guess what? The problem remains! It grew to be a bigger problem because we fed it with a bigger base to grow from!

The new age model of operations should be based on what the customer wants. Don’t tell them what they cannot do but help them to do what they can. After all, they have told us that they do not want to buy IT (software and hardware) but they want to embrace and use IT! Start to listen to them and end with a solution that caters for use-not-own; piracy elimination (not just anti), and everyone can be happy doing what their do best – their own business.

An organization is focused on PROFIT. It means it has to accelerate REVENUE and yet decrease EXPENSE. The current model of buying and incurring CAPEX with no idea how efficient the usage of the software will be gives a feel of uncontrolled and unmanageable expense. The long promised utility model, implemented over an ASP model, will be able to deliver pay-per-use; transforming depreciating CAPEX to controllable OPEX. Pay more when you use more during end of quarter or year, and pay nothing if you do not. It wrestles the control back to the users. No more pre-unqualified decisions of who should have what functionality by categorizing a dynamic worker into a claustrophobic check-box of ‘knowledge’ or ‘task’ workers. Simply, there is no need for that question.

Now what can be done?

One big mountain of a hurdle to this proposal is that most software producers have much invested in the old way of monopolizing the world that they are uncomfortable to change (when ‘change’ is the only constant they preached when they ask you to upgrade or migrate; or when they ‘threatened’ you with security breaches.) the way they operate. It is technological possible now but challenging to their archaic and comfortable position. It fact, it is a threat to their existence if they persist on their current way.

Therefore, for the new world to prosper, a new world order must prevail. A new world order that respects the dynamism of businesses and of personnel; one that gives control to the users and not holding them at ransom,, one that says we are here to help and not just helping themselves to more riches.

With that, we will all be focus on the end-in-mind we started with, running our business!

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