What a Business Manager Should Know About Software
In the current era, we can divide business software into three deployment categories:
- Hosted (Cloud). Productivity applications hosted on the publisher's servers and accessible through a web browser for free or on a per-user subscription basis.
- Mobile. Operating systems and apps on phones and tablets.
- Conventional. Software installed on desktops, laptops, and company-owned servers. Company-owned servers include your on-premises servers (accessible within your network, remotely via VPN, or both), as well as virtual servers or containers your company manages that are hosted in the cloud.
Software publishers that offer the same end-user application in all three categories now use the term "desktop" when describing their conventional edition, to distinguish it from the other two. Intuit QuickBooks and Microsoft Outlook are some examples.
This article addresses challenges relating mostly to conventional software that businesses still encounter, even as the newer categories gain greater prominence in modern IT systems.
We'll start with some Software Licensing and Deployment Basics, covering all three categories. Then, in the next section, Managing Conventional Software, we'll dive into these common topics of interest:
- When to use conventional software vs. cloud or mobile applications
- When to choose perpetual licensing vs. subscriptions
The final section covers how to avoid inadvertant software piracy.