Stellar Agency's

Software Monetization Practice

Software Monetization is all about dollars. And sense.

We live in a world that is increasingly driven by software. Nowhere is that fact more apparent than on the business front. Today, nearly every company is reliant on software in some way.

As the reliance on software continues to expand and deepen, Software Monetization becomes ever more important. It can be defined as the adoption of any variety of measures an organization takes to increase the profitability of their intellectual property, in this case, software. A comprehensive software monetization strategy offers clear and obvious benefits. If there was ever a win-win situation that united businesses and their customers in a mutually beneficial value chain, software monetization is it. At the most basic level, an effective software monetization strategy helps your organization make more money, reduce costs, create operational efficiencies and reduce business risk.

Software Monetization 101

A little education can go a long way. Especially when dealing with a complicated concept like software monetization. Below you'll find two resources that can help you get up to speed on all things software monetization.


LicensingLive, October 2017
Stellar's Martin Pedersen and Jason Widmann gave one of the keynote presentations at  Gemalto's annual LicensingLive event in Cupertino, California. This short video provides a brief overview of the consumerization trend, how it's impacting B2B brands and the increasingly important role of UX in enterprise projects.

eBook: The Critical Role of UX in Software Monetization

Executive Briefing
In collaboration with out partner, Gemalto, our Director of UX & Strategy, Jason Widmann, co-wrote the above e-Book.

HPE's Software Monetization Journey


What do you do when you need to connect resellers, distributors and end customers in order to deliver a simple, easy to use software licensing portal? If you're Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) you partner with Stellar for the customer engagement strategy, user experience, visual design and front- and back-end engineering. This complex engagement involved more than just UX, design and tech savvy. It also required coordinating and integrating the efforts of 45 people distributed across North America, Europe and Asia and integrating our new solutions architecture with a half-dozen different HPE legacy systems. In laymen's terms, that means it was heavy on the cat-herding and about as challenging as Chinese algebra.

The HPE customer portal was launched successfully and is currently available to HPE customers worldwide. A recent customer survey shared by HPE indicated that their customer satisfaction score had jumped from 56% satisfaction with the portal to 87%. Fantastic numbers for the HPE business. We love happy customers and especially solutions that require limited customer support for our clients.


Stellar's involvement with HPE's software monetization journey started in July of 2014 and has involved a continuous cycle of improvement, optimization and evolution over the last 4+ years. A quick walk down memory lane highlights the key developments for each year:


Customer Web Portal Launched...

  • Migrated HPE to Gemalto's Sentinel EMS solution
  • Developed initial Customer Web Portal (CWP)
  • Conducted usability testing, optimized solution
  • Initiated Pilot Program
  • Pilot Program informed final round of optimizations

Channel Partner Portal Launched...

  • Rolled out in limited release to North America
  • Deployed to global customer base in Q3
  • Work initiated on Channel Partner/Distributor portal
  • Conducted usability testing, optimized solution
  • Channel Partner launched at end of 2015

Conversion to Mobile...

  • Began work on responsive UI for CWP
  • Integrated mobile work with Grommet framework
  • Work initiated on Channel Partner/Distributor portal
  • HPE Employee portal optimized to align with CWP
  • Single Portal initiative begun

Portal Consolidation...

  • Restructured overall software licensing solution
  • Integrated all 3 portals into a single unified code base
  • Updates and optimizations to customer experience
  • Additional improvements to HPE Employee interface
  • Integrated software evaluations/trials

Performance Optimizations...

  • Update solution architecture to improve performance
  • On-going modifications to reduce latency potential
  • Updates and optimizations to customer experience
  • Improvements to FAQs and Help functionality
  • UX updates to product activation flows

5 things we’ve learned along the way

In the course of our nearly 5 year journey with HPE and our partner Gemalto, we've learned a few things. One of the most challenging aspects of software monetization is that there is no one-size-fits-all" solution. Every software monetization strategy must take into consideration the unique business objectives and customer challenges face by each organization. But that doesn't mean we don't have a few key learnings to share.

It's more complicated than you thought.

Software monetization can appear to be a relatively straightforward endeavor, however, it ends up being far more complicated than most people anticipate. Why is that? It's because software monetization is an effort that impacts every part of your organization --product development, marketing, engineering, IT, operations, customer service and sales. The complexity comes in trying to coordinate these efforts across every facet of your company. And just to make things a little more exciting, the quality of this coordination will have a significant impact on the quality of your software monetization solution. Whether you are planning on using a commercial software monetization product or creating your own solution in-house, get guidance from someone who has hands-on experience in this area. At the very least, this guidance will help you avoid common and costly mistakes.


A high-quality customer experience is no longer a "nice to have."

Remember back in the good ole days when B2B brands didn't need to worry about things like delivering a quality customer experience? In today's landscape, it's important to note that those days are over. Long over. Today's business user expects the same high-quality customer experience that is traditionally associated with consumer- oriented brands. This trend, known as Consumerization, is driving a sea-change in the way that B2B brands need to go to market in order to be successful. For savvy companies, who understand that meeting their customers' needs creates clear and obvious competitive differentials, the focus on customer experience can generate a significant return on investment. At the very least, your portal needs to deliver a high-quality, self-service experience that enables your customers to manage their licensing needs 24/7.


Go mobile or go home.

In 2017, mobile traffic accounted for over 50% of all global web traffic. Software monetization, and software licensing management in particular, are activities that many companies believe do not require a mobile solution. While the decision to provide only a desktop solution and skip the mobile interface might save some time and money upfront, it's likely to come back and bite your bottom line later. Begin your software monetization efforts with a mobile-first strategy, even if you really (really, really) believe that none of your customers want a mobile solution. Why? Because they do. Maybe not today, but at some point in the future you will need to optimize for mobile. So instead of spending money downstream to course-correct the lack of mobile, go with a mobile-first strategy to keep your solution future-proof.


Employ a "design once, use often" approach to enhance efficiency.

When considering your software monetization approach, think about the level of customization that you want to offer your customers, partners/vendors and employees. HPE began their software monetization with the hypothesis that they needed customized web portals for each of these three key user groups. What we found was that we could create significant efficiency and cost-savings by creating a single portal, with content and functional modules, that could be easily shared and syndicated across all three core user groups. Our solution created huge efficiencies and cost-savings for HPE by creating a single code base that worked for all three user groups.


Test. Measure. Optimize.

Conducting usability testing with actual customers before rolling out your software monetization solution might seem like a no-brainer. Yet many companies skip this vital activity that can save tens of thousands of dollars in product development errors. Prior to rolling out their software licensing management customer web portal, HPE conducted a 3 month pilot program with several key customers in order to collect feedback and optimize the solution prior to launching at scale. This program enabled us to test the structure, organization, flow and interaction of the entire customer web portal, identify opportunities for improvement and execute those revisions based on real customer feedback. As a result, HPE's customer satisfaction scores nearly doubled.


You have questions.
We have answers.


Sometimes all you really need is an experienced team to help you get started. To see things differently. And consider options you may not have identified. When dealing with complicated initiatives, nothing beats the wisdom that experience creates. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your software monetization challenges and help you discover a UX solution that drives revenue, reduces costs and delights your customers.

Let's Talk

For details on our partner Gemalto and their suite of licensing management solutions, please visit them here!