The SCG Blog

Fishing Expeditions vs. Fish Finders: Benefits of Data-Driven Compliance

December 11, 2015


Jason Swan
Managing Director


Any fan of National Geographic’s “Wicked Tuna” knows the melodic beep the boat’s fish finding software makes when one boats zeroes in on a potential catch.

There are so many variables that hinge on the angler’s experience and insight that are crucial to getting the tuna on the boat. But even with all of the experience those anglers have, every single boat uses software to find fish. Bluefin tuna are fast, and smart, and really hard to catch without data on where they will most likely be, and where they’re going.

When I fish Stellwagen Bank just 30 miles off the shores of Scituate, Mass. I use less high-tech sources of information – tide charts, the way the current is moving, the time of day, where birds are flocking to feed – to maximize my chances of bringing in a big catch. But without my fish finder, I’d be circling the waters all morning, and coming home empty handed.

I take a lot of lessons from fishing in how I look at my work in real life, and maximize engagements for revenue generation for our clients who are seeking to recover money lost through pirated or noncompliant software use.

It comes down to this: Do you want to bob around on the water all morning, or do you want to catch a fish?

Fish Finders are Becoming the Norm

The commercial value of unlicensed software installations totaled $62.7 billion in 2013, according to a study by The Business Software Alliance (BSA).  There are three kinds of pirates – those who are blatant, and think all software should be free, those who are looking for a deal, and those who don’t even know they’re using the software illegally. When asked whether their companies had a policy about the use of licensed software, nearly half of the workers surveyed by BSA answered that they didn’t know.

Those last two types of “pirates” make up nearly 83 percent of unlicensed users in mature markets, and can, with the right data, be easily turned into paying customers.

But how do you find them? Those in charge of license compliance know it costs a lot of money, and takes a lot of time, to track them down, and once you do, without the right evidence, they’ll just swim away.

It’s why having technology to “find fish,” - evidence of noncompliance - is more important than ever. For any software vendor today who may be losing money through pirating or noncompliance – which is everyone – not having a steady source of reliable data on where to look for it puts it at a clear disadvantage. 

Piracy business intelligence software identifies the use and misuse of applications. Once the software is embedded into your application, it can pinpoint usage location, usage history, the number of unique machines, and system and network attributes. All of that data is fed into a dashboard, which gives you clear and actionable data to approach them for conversion to paying customers. Usage intelligence software can also launch an in-application responses to misuse, letting the user know that he is using the software illegally, and directing him to a place where he can legally download it.

With data, you can reach out to these customers to encourage compliance before initiating an audit. And if an audit is still necessary, having data makes what could be a very contentious process a much more collaborative one – because you know exactly where the areas of misuse are and can take quick steps to remediate them.

Taken together, these opportunities can add up to big revenue generation for businesses. Companies miss them because they’re only looking at a single piece of the picture, and most often simply because one person can’t do it all – just as it’s highly unlikely one of those fishermen in Wicked Tuna will ever reel in a big catch singlehandedly. Companies who implement a systematic approach to monitoring software compliance, which includes technology and a team with the know-how to best pull all sources of information together – will be most successful in recovering revenue lost to noncompliant software use.

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