As an FBA member I have purchased new software, upgrades, and renewals for myself and for clients.
I have purchased these both directly as the FBA member with a credit card online or with inside sales, and on occasion via a Purchase Order.
When FMP 14 was launched the emails that were sent out were severely delayed or in several cases for myself and for a few clients never received. After a few telephone calls and email stalking the license numbers, finally arrived.
There has always been a bit of confusion when it comes to the requirement of purchasing software for a new client, since the license must be in the name of the organization of the end user.
In the past I have always used my email address in lieu of theirs so that I can ensure I receive all communication regarding the software.
Unfortunately, there was an upgrade to the internal systems at FileMaker in which automatically consolidated licenses based on email accounts. Several of my clients and my own licenses were merged which required someone to split these back to their respective accounts.
Recently I purchase an AVLA for a client and that requires the end users email address so they can be sent the Legal Agreement to digitally sign. However, before I was able to finish my morning coffee, the email was sent out to the end user with the license and the links to the software. As a result, they now have in their possession the software and keys, and yet I had not even gotten my contract signed or sent the client an invoice.
Thankfully they paid the invoice and in turn I paid FMI. I would imagine many other FBA members would have policies against sending product to a client before contractual or financial arrangements have been met.
So these experiences have me thinking of a system to solve some of these issues and in turn to provide less call volume to FMI to get license keys.
FileMaker FBA Managed Software License Locker
Every user who purchases software from FMI would automatically get an “Account”, and this account could include single sign on with other FMI systems. This account is tied to the purchaser's email address.
Prior or during the purchase process directly with the website or thru telephone sales, an account is created for the end user.
When the order is complete a legible and elegant HTML email confirmation is sent to the end user. If they are a first time customer, they would then provide personal credentials to this account.
Once the account is verified the end user logs in to the site and is presented with their current and past purchases and at a glance can see the products and quantity and all relevant expiration or renewal dates. If they had not yet signed the AVLA agreement they would have a button to proceed to sign the agreement.
Clicking on any product would reveal the software license and a link to download the most current Full Installer for each operating system - these links should never expire.
Additionally, another option that would prompt them to answer a few questions that would essentially build a custom installer package complete with the Assisted Install.txt that include the Organization name and License Key, and the other preferences they indicated in the form. This page would other links to the legal documents and license terms.
From the account settings menu or profile settings, the end user would have the option to include other authorized users or link developers to their account. To assign other IT people in their own organization this customer would create an account for them (if one didn’t exist). If for example they are embarking on a new relationship with a developer or consultant (FBA) who will be taking over software management then as an FBA member I would instruct them to login to their account and add me to their account, once I get the confirmation email I would be able to have access to this data.
Either party can separate themselves from other parties at any time should the company and consultant part ways.
From the context of an FBA member buying software for a company that has no prior sales with FMI, during the purchase process the end user account is created and they are emailed an invite confirm the account and provide their own password. Also during this process as the FBA member I should put a hold on the release of the License keys and download links but allow them to at least digitally sign any AVLA agreement.
When I log in to my personal account I would have an interface to see my products and a link to see my clients, choosing the later would display a list of companies that my account has been added to manually by the end user or automatically during purchase process. Selecting a client on this list would expose their purchase history and relevant keys and links and any pending signatures. If the signature was processed, then there would be a link in this interface that allows me as the FBA member to release the codes once the end user has also paid any invoices. Once done the end user would have this data visible to them as well.
This will provide much more streamed lined approach to communication and a central location where all license keys and download links are kept. I have had times in the past were I had purchased software late on a Friday, and the end user's email address was the company’s controller who signed the agreement and the email was sent to him. I was not able to install the software after 5pm on a scheduled upgrade weekend because I had no links or keys, and the individual left for a cross country flight.
this idea i have had kicking around for the past six months or so, just wanted to put it out there.