For over 50 years Gerber Technology delivers integrated software and hardware solutions that enable apparel and industrial customers to design and manufacture clothing, furniture and automotive interiors. Its end-to-end solution effectively manages and connects the supply chain, from product development to production.
Gerber technology currently serves customers in 134 countries in the aerospace, furniture, apparel, transportation, technical textiles, packaging, and sign and graphics sectors. Its solutions provide CAD, nesting and workflow management solutions for the industry that maximize material management and production output. But, most of Gerber’s desktop software offerings were only licensed through USB keys which are inflexible, costly, and time consuming to manufacture.
“USB keys are not designed to support different business models. Manufacturing USB keys is all physical: burn the key and the software, put it in a box, and ship it,” says Melissa Rogers, Senior Vice President for Software Solutions, Gerber Technology. She further added, “This resulted in long shipping cycles, often taking four to eight days from order to customer and the obvious high COGS.”
Gerber’s USB key process had very poor customer experience. If keys got lost, customers’ production was interrupted while they waited for another key. “Our customers spent far too much time waiting for their software and then getting their software running, which took on average 4-8 days,” added Melissa Rogers.
The complex and technical workflow of Gerber’s USB key production often required customers to call support. Also, nearly 24% of support calls the firm was receiving were related to licensing queries. “We want to spend both our time and our customers’ time on the product functionality, not on licensing,” said Melissa Rogers.
Reaching out to Thales
While evaluating the licensing options offered by a variety of companies, their first and foremost priority was finding a company that had deep expertise in licensing and intellectual property. Melissa Rogers commented,” Since a majority of our users work on desktop, we needed a licensing provider with extensive desktop experience, which is far more difficult to license than cloud.”
After carefully reviewing Thales solutions’ robust feature set – deep piracy, comprehensive data insights, intellectual protection and extensive and thorough set of APIs stood out from its competitors, particularly when coupled with its best value for investment.
Implementing the Solution
Thales implemented licensing using the Sentinel Software and Service solution including Sentinel EMS for entitlement and license management, Sentinel RMS for license enforcement and Sentinel Cloud Licensing to enable leased licensing from the cloud.
Sentinel EMS was integrated with Gerber’s SAP to automate creation of entitlements and initial assignment of licenses to an end-customer administrator. “Thales introduced a customer portal that could be used by the end-customer administrator to assign licenses to other users in their organization and for assigned users to download and install the application software,” Dave DiMillio, VP of Global Licensing Solution Sales of Thales said. The customer portal is integrated with Gerber’s identity manager (Cognito) for Single Sign-On so customers can use the same credentials to login into all Gerber applications and systems across the organization.
Sentinel RMS was integrated into Gerber’s application to control which features the end users can access and to collect usage information that can be used by Gerber for business intelligence and future usage based license models. However, the entire process wasn’t as seamless and wasn’t without hurdles.
Thales dealing with implementation challenges
“Gerber wanted their application to be licensed “by user”, only allowing a specific user to use one instance at a time,” says Dave DiMillio. He added, “We ensure that at any point in time, a user could not login to the software application from two devices. This also meant we needed a mechanism to force a logout if a user inadvertently forgot to logout from one location/device and needed to login from another.”
Thales needed to enable each user to get a license and be disconnected from the Cloud for up to 30 days. Because Gerber had many end-customers that cannot be connected at all time, they did not want to distribute perpetual licenses that resulted in overuse or misuse.
Supporting Gerber’s workforce
The Thales Professional Services and Client Services Teams collaborated with Gerber’s Engineering, User Experience, Operations and IT Teams to share best practices and provide guidance on user experience. Thales provided training and consultation on the use of Sentinel solution and EMS and RMS APIs to enable a fully automated platform that enables end customer self-service and manages the licensing and use of AccuMark applications according to Gerber requirements.
Thales supported Gerber through design, development and implementation and continues to offer technical assistance and support through the Sentinel Client Services Team on an as-needed basis.
Capitalizing on Thales’ user Licensing
After implementing Thales user licensing, Gerber Technology saw a dramatic increase in customer experience. “Customers love the power to view and manage their assets without having to contact Gerber, as well as the ability to upgrade their products with no hassles or slowdowns,” commented Melissa Rogers.
After implementation, the support call surged for some time, however, there are too few calls now and more happy customers as they know they can manage their user licensing problems on their own. Even though there are still COGS for licensing Thales products, the COGS for USB keys are zero.