I’m pretty certain the complicated resale initiatives in the software industry began as an attempt to thwart pirating. It’s turned into an unmanageable mess benefitting software resellers over target customers. Everything has to be purchased through a “partner” now. Never mind there is no “partnership” between your company and a VAR beside some sales guy trying to get paid. It’s implied these resale hurdles are meant to provide “consultation” and inform the customer. What if I’ve already adopted the application or platform and just want more licenses? Many software development companies understand the madness of the reseller model and have moved to online sales and self-service. But not enough of them.
Take Connectwise and their flagship remote support product, Control. Jake Morgan and his team realized the absurdity of the reseller model even back in the ScreenConnect days, opting to sell DTC. They still do. It’s pretty easy to add Control seats as opposed to Sophos for example, who decided to make it damn near impossible to buy or implement their products. Ironically it’s a lot of security outfits who are failing on this front. CheckPoint acts like their product is too good to sell to anyone without blessings directly from Israel. Their arrogance is off the charts, price be damned. They don’t even want to talk to small customers and won’t even provide renewal purchases from quotes generated in their own portal. I genuinely believe the Israeli CheckPoint team is so arrogant they literally do not want money from a segment of potential customers.
A lot of C Levels in software companies believe making their product hard to procure makes it more important or more secure. Meanwhile a big reason Cisco’s lost so many customers hasn’t been exclusively due to competition but because they won’t end the decades long joke that is Smart Net. “Nobody ever got in trouble for buying Cisco”, until now. Overly complicated and non-intuitive, I find Cisco ios devices easier to configure using a shell and decades old commands. For this Cisco still demands an outrageous premium. Their VoIP phone system is horrible and overpriced compared to RingCentral or Vonage yet they double down on being difficult and expensive to procure.
These days I look for ease of purchase as a qualification in software selection. The modern industry’s failure to deliver is a big factor in the selection process today. Doesn’t matter if it’s intuitive to use, simple to deploy and effective at it’s job, if licenses are hard to buy, involving many reseller quotes and electronic delivery delays I’ll go with the competitive solution that isn’t. It’s a problem software development companies brought upon themselves and until they start listening to those purchasing their product the industry will continue to decline in innovation and effectiveness. From SMB to Enterprise sales the industry is failing to accommodate customers and increase revenue.