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There has been a big trend in the global software industry away from buying and ‘owning’ a software licence in favour of taking out a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription. Whilst some survey software companies have been slow to roll out this new subscription or in some cases Software as a Service (SaaS) model, some developers are leading the charge and offering a full field to office workflow solution that can deliver big cost savings and dramatic productivity improvements.

It’s likely that the computer you’re reading this on has several software packages already on a subscription based model. Microsoft office launched its 365 solution in 2011 and more recently Autodesk transferred its suites to a subscription only model. These changes are driven by consumer demand and come as a direct response to the change in the way we all treat software.

“Gone are the days where you buy a box with a manual and thirteen 5 ¼ inch floppy disks in it.”

Data speeds, hardware capabilities and competition have all made the subscription model possible and the benefits for office CAD and more importantly field software have some significant advantages over the old perpetual model.

“When we released the Magnet productivity suite 4 years ago, customer needs didn’t just stop at product features but continued to a commercial model that gave you the power to control your cash flow whilst maximising your productivity.”

The rapidly advancing hardware capabilities (Moore’s law) and large investments from Topcon into companies like VDC shows that that key factors in productivity will largely rest on software workflows, live collaboration and real-time visualisation……apparently it’s also very good for catching Pokémon.

Subscriptions aren’t just for the office

A surveying software workflow is optimised by a common platform, used for field and office tasks alike. Many suppliers don’t offer field software subscriptions but the commercial advantages don’t stop at the office door and should extend to the field.

To stand still in the surveying market is to move backwards

A subscription means you constantly have the latest version available to you within the yearly cost you’re paying. It also means you have all the modules so you can handle any situation when it arises.

“A good software purchase is a good partnership. Software vendors rely on feedback and feature requests. And consumers should trust developers to stay ahead of trends and provide leading productivity solutions.”

If you don’t have the latest version of survey software, office or field, then you’re being overtaken by your competitors as they take advantage of all the productivity and workflow benefits the latest software offers.

Ability to scale

With no hefty up front cost, the subscription model is much better for cash flow. If your needs change dramatically, a subscription will give you the ability to scale up or down. For instance, the NSW construction industry is poised for significant growth over the next 5 years. For a business to grow rapidly with  this market, maximising cash flow with software subscriptions rather than using capital purchases enables business owners to put the capital towards other essentials including cars and people.

On the other hand, in WA where there has been a massive downturn in the resources and construction industries, a subscription model ensures your capital isn’t tied up in software sitting idle on the shelf, often called shelf-ware.

“It’s also a great way to accurately manage projects by costing the software to the project. In the case of a JV there is no need to sell it off at a loss when the project closes.”

Stay agile in an ever changing market by taking back control of your capital purchases and leveraging operational expenses.

Capital expense versus operating expense

If I told you that subscribing to, rather than purchasing, your field software was less than the cost of your car registration and it never needs servicing, would you prefer it in your operational cost? You bet your Hilux you would! What if I followed up by saying that the total cost of ownership of that same subscription is less than a capital purchase of a perpetual licence even after 5 years of subscriptions? It makes sense…..lots of dollars and cents.

Subscriptions aren’t SaaS but they can complement them

Subscription software, certainly in MAGNET’s case, resides on your PC or field tablet and does not require a data center to run like a true SaaS (software as a service) solution. However, subscription software can be greatly enhanced with the addition of a SaaS solution such as MAGNET Enterprise, which enables real time collaboration and advanced data management workflows. A SaaS is  instantly deployable and one like MAGNET Enterprise will provide you with a world class survey productivity suite.

Come and talk to one of our team at any of our offices for a good coffee and good advice on ways to free up your capital and improve your productivity. 1300 867 266 www.positionpartners.com.au

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