Today's enhancements are particularly critical, because Flexera Software research shows that the majority of application producers are exposing their end users to avoidable security risks and are not taking advantage of an automated update management solution like FlexNet Connect to lower support calls and costs.
According to that research, only 17 percent of application producers update their software in an automated fashion; 47 percent rely on end users to visit a support site to get updates (which frequently doesn't happen); and 12 percent make end users wait for the next software release to fix problems with their applications, since they do not send out patches or updates to their applications.
"We are extremely interested in learning how our products are being used so we can continually improve them," said Bob Brandenstein, Director of Technology for Siemens PLM Software. "In addition, the ability to control the end user update experience and provide messaging to our customers will ensure important updates, security threats, and other valuable information can immediately be communicated to our end users. We are pleased with the direction Flexera Software is taking with FlexNet Connect."
Tighter Control over Application Updates
Having the ability to automatically push out application updates to customers helps ensure fast, efficient and broad-based implementation of new product versions, patches, bug fixes and updates. However application producers must have control over the update process to ensure a positive user experience and that updates will work in all target environments and geographies. FlexNet Connect now provides significant new control over the user's update experience via a new agentless, in-app API for application updates and messages. With the new API, application producers have full control over the update experience, with the ability to automatically control update availability checks, software downloads, and marketing messages delivered to customers, among other things.
Moreover, updating complex applications that are supported on many operating environments and target many end user locales can be a tedious and error-prone process. To simplify the process, FlexNet Connect's new API streamlines the update experience for multi-platform, multi-language, multi-file updates. Now release engineers can configure updates in a single process that will work in all target customer environments and locations.
"Delivering prompt and efficient product enhancements, bug fixes and patches for identified system vulnerabilities is essential to ensure a positive user experience and reduce risk and support costs," said Mathieu Baissac, Vice President of Product Management at Flexera Software. "However if those application updates are not actually implemented by the customer - the effort is wasted, the risks persist and support volume goes up. FlexNet Connect addresses this industry-wide problem by providing an automated update process with tight controls to ensure a positive user experience and increase the likelihood that updates will actually be implemented."
Analytics to Support Product Improvements
Application producers rarely have direct access to anonymised data concerning how their customers are using their applications and the circumstances surrounding problems they encounter. So, they are forced to rely on anecdotal means to determine what is working within their products and what is not.
FlexNet Connect now helps solve this problem via new instrumentation management functionality enabling application producers to collect valuable analytics on anonymised system and application data. Application producers can incorporate findings and insights from these analytics directly into their development process to improve and enhance their applications.
"It's challenging for software vendors and intelligent device manufacturers to prioritise which enhancements and fixes should be incorporated into their products if they don't have a firm understanding of what problems their customers are actually encountering," said Baissac. "FlexNet Connect's new instrumentation management system feeds this critical market intelligence back to the producer."
Empowering Enterprises to Support Decentralised IT Administration
Many large global enterprises have differing policies across various offices or regions that require localised assessment of application updates prior to their implementation. FlexNet Connect now supports these unique needs via a new cloud-based enterprise update management portal. The portal allows regional IT administrators to assess updates to ensure that local guidelines and policies are adhered to before accepting the update and applying it within their specific business unit or location. Enterprises can define their internal business units and IT administrators within the portal. For off-internet machines, administrators can use a caching proxy (e.g. Apache Squid) to download approved updates once and distribute them behind the firewall. From the portal, administrators can also view update success reports to identify machines that successfully (or failed to) apply a given update.
"Large global organisations are challenged with managing a constant barrage of application updates they receive," said Baissac. "We understand those challenges and have designed FlexNet Connect to accommodate their unique needs for localised evaluation, assessment and control."
FlexNet Connect On-Demand is part of the FlexNet Producer Suite, Which is comprised of:
- FlexNet Licensing: Empowers application producers to combat software piracy and increase revenues by easily enabling new pricing, packaging and software licensing models. It supports the full software licensing spectrum, from strict enforcement to usage-based trust but verify.
- FlexNet Operations: The most comprehensive entitlement management solution empowers software vendors and intelligent device manufacturers to support new revenue models easily and efficiently while streamlining and automating complex back-office processes.
- FlexNet Connect: Offers software vendors, intelligent device manufacturers and enterprise IT the most efficient way to provide end-users with the latest software updates, and to obtain valuable insight on their product use.
Learn more about Flexera Software FlexNet Producer Suite:
- FlexNet Licensing
- FlexNet Operations
- FlexNet Connect
- Read our Blog on Entitlement & Compliance Management
- FlexNet Producer Suite Success Stories
- Related Flexera Software Webinars
- Entitlement & Compliance Management White Papers