Posts Tagged ‘ESD’
Categorizing your content is the first patch of turf that will directly involve all of your internal Business, Engineering, Sales, and Marketing team members. Get them in a room and build a consensus view of the near future for this topic. You can always change and adjust your categories, but you have to start somewhere.
Begin by listing the files you are targeting for electronic distribution into two columns: Free and Paid.
Consider the Free assets. Will you allow anonymous access to those files? Will users be asked to register before being granted a download entitlement? Maybe both (optional registration)?
Segment the assets by license agreement type. Are their different terms for Free and Paid assets that must be agreed to before downloading? Are their different types of legal use agreements for assets within each category? Do you use third party or open source components that affect these terms?
Segment the assets by license enforcement technology (keys, time-out logic, dongles, etc.)
Decide if you will continue to support physical distribution, and if so, how the answer to that question affects the format of the assets you are delivering (.pkg vs .iso or .dmg, for example).
Fast-forward four to six months. Updates and patches are ready to ship for both Free and Paid assets. Will you provide incremental or full updates? Is there a difference if they are Free or Paid?
Things can get complicated in a hurry, especially if you happen to be in a company that has more than a handful of applications to deliver. But you’ve taken the step to address content categories early on, so never fear.
Let’s recap: Categorize your content
1. Free or Paid
2. Anonymous or Registered
3. Licensing Terms
4. License Enforcement Technologies
5. Physical Alternatives
6. Update / Patch Methods
Next installment – Categorizing your ESD Customer
Once your new ESD infrastructure is in place, who is going to use it?
If you are about to answer “customers”, don’t bother. That response too easy and too broad.
The list of users that we create in this step is different from project stakeholders. A User is one who will engage the features and functions of the system on a routine basis (double your bonus points if your stakeholder list includes real Users).
Who is responsible for the final approval to “ship” content?
Who manages the part-numbers that for sale and distribution?
Who will submit the files to the public-facing tools?
Who is responsible for creating and approving accounts?
Who are the customer service personnel that will support the process?
List the users, and make sure to add their backups. Plan to involve this group in planning, testing, and post launch audit meetings. As these are the folks who will be using your ESD tools each day or week they are your internal user community. These are the folks getting your product to your customers today, and bearing the burden of any antiquated processes, so its extremely important to bring each of them tangible benefits with your ESD project.
Use whatever is comfortable, including the analog pencil and paper. The format doesn’t matter. Ignore buzzwords like UML, Flow, Process, BPM, etc. and ignore getting sucked into fancy diagramming tool choices. Draw the picture however you are comfortable. The diagram will change, guaranteed.
At OMS we go back-and-forth between system diagrams and activity diagrams.
Here’s an example of an activity box diagram we use to help get lubricate conversations about ESD.
Plan == Create == Build == Manage == Release == Entitle == Distribute == Support
The objective of this step is simply to outline areas of focus that are important to achieving the business outcomes you desire. This is not an implementation checklist, that will come later. This is the umbrella sketch of things your organization will think about (and do) that impact your digital distribution project.
If you prefer, you may wish to sketch the system, or infrastructure for your project. Inside the firewall, staging, testing, Customer facing, Partner facing are four good starting boxes. In other words, the where instead of the what that you will ultimately use. Again, don’t worry about what it looks like, just get it down on paper.
It make no difference, at this point, whether your perspective is process (what) or system (where). Just start drawing. You’ll find that these pictures will become the most used and discussed tools in your ESD project toolkit.
Last week we identified setting success metrics, up-front, as the single most important practice in any ESD program. Identifying the stakeholders who will affect or consume those metrics is the second step to ensuring ESD success.
More often than not the first-pass at list of ESD stakeholders is limited to “Marketing” groups, or more specifically, those folks who “run the website”. Effective ESD programs include representatives from the internal organizations that create and produce the digital assets that you will be delivering.
DONE == DELIVERABLE == DELIVERED
Your ESD program and will be affected by when and how the asset is determined to be fit for distribution, or DONE. Once the asset is declared complete (functionally), the process of packaging, bundling, or turning that single asset into a salable and DELIVERABLE product begins. Only after this point do the presentation and DELIVERY functions come to the fore. Therefore you must include people from each of these domains in your ESD program.
Here are some titles ESD stakeholders we interact with
VP, Customer Service
Director, Configuration Management
Director, Marketing IT
Director, Tech Support
VP, General Counsel
Export Compliance Manager
Director, Product Management
At OMS SafeHarbor we consider the stakeholder process so important, that when we engage a customer we specify by name, in the contract documents individuals from IT, Operations, Marketing, Customer Service and Engineering that have agreed to support the project and be accessible to the project/program team.
To build a successful ESD program you need to have your goals firmly understood, and your stakeholders clearly identified. Knowing what you are going to do, and who is going to help you is your down payment on ESD success.
Had a good conversation with the WSPGroup last week.
They published a whitepaper about Electronic Software Delivery a few months ago that is very detailed and worth a read.
Its our experience that these benefits require a huge scale (like the Microsoft case) to become a primary driver of transition to electronic delivery, but they are applicable at a small scale as complimentary ROI for other ESD initiatives.
So, take please take a look at the environmental advantages that you may be able to take credit for as you look at upgrading your software delivery practices to include ESD and entitlement management.
Amid a flurry of prognostications about what everyone else may, or may not, do in this new year, here is what OMS SafeHarbor intends to make happen in 2009.
1. Enable the software distribution process to become a Customer Relationship Management endeavor.
This is our new focus. The words Distribution and Delivery evoke outbound, or transmit, or warehouse dock imagery, and behavior.
When customers engage in the process of electronically consuming your goods or services, they are investing in a relationship with you.
Online distribution of software content is no longer a proxy for shipping a cd and avoiding postage. It has become part of the first, and sometimes last, impressions you make on your customers.
2. Make it easier for publishers to link customers with licenses and software.
OMS SafeHarbor is releasing a desktop application to support large file downloads and two-way conversations with publishers and consumers.
We have a download tool that we’ve used in in automating software release management functions since 2001. Its been used over a billion times since then to reliably transfer files around the world with unimpeachable data integrity. We’re bringing that tool out to the consumer with some innovative features and functions focused on “large” files.
3. Use information about what software is NOT consumed to increase publisher revenue and customer satisfaction.
2009 is the time for the rhetoric of gap analysis reporting to meet reality. Current economic conditions mean we all need to look under the seat cushions for loose change.
4. Use different distribution techniques for content of different declared value.
Multi-tier content distribution schemes for managing both quality of service and costs will be utilized in 2009. Slowly, but surely. All content may not necessarily need a ride in first-class on the bullet-train.
5. Establish portable and business-relevant metrics that will be used to understand and manage investment in content-based relationships with customers.
Apples to Apples comparisons. It can be done. OMS SafeHarbor will do it this year.
You can take these to the bank. Sooner rather than later.
Happy New Year!.
Find out more about OMS SafeHarbor.