Current proprietary software models are not fit for purpose as companies increasingly enter the cloud, IT bosses from Channel 4, accounting software firm Sage and Investec Bank have agreed.
Speaking on a customer panel at Amazon's AWS Enterprise Summit 2013 in London today, Channel 4 CTO Bob Harris said current licence models are "simply not cloud friendly", while Stuart Lynn, CTO and CIO of Sage UK and Ireland, challenged the industry to meet his company's licensing standards.
"My personal view is that a significant number of proprietary models are simply not cloud-friendly," said Harris, explaining that changing to shorter contracts or non-physical licencing is not enough. Instead he said that eradicating licences altogether with open source is an essential ingredient to a good solution.
"Cloud plus open source is really the place you need to be if you want flexibility," said Harris.
Lee O'Brien, CTO of capital markets at Investec Bank, added that companies need to "move quicker" to meet the growing demands of an increasingly cloud-native IT landscape, and that current trends are "not in the interests of licensees".
Sage's Lynn stated that "you need a completely different model".
"Every cloud product at Sage is now under subscription, so there's no such thing as physical licence or product upgrade. Now we sell services, and there's no tie-in for more than one month."
To reach the single-month customer commitment requirement, said Lynn, Sage went through "long and difficult conversations about minimal tie-in".
"But we decided; make it a month. If customers don't like it, they can move on. We want to make customers happy, and make them want to stay with us."
Lynn concluded that "the traditional pricing models of ‘pick this and pick that and multiply by a magic number' don't work; it's about openness and transparency, and getting what you pay for."
SAP, after long campaigning by its users, introduced partial termination of unwanted licences in August 2013, while Microsoft pledged to make seamless, cloud-based licencing and upgrading of its various software offerings a central part of its ongoing policy in the company's reveal of its new Office suite in mid-2012.
However, the company held out on non-transferable Office 2013 licences until early 2013, finally ‘U-turning' on the policy in March.