Time for TeamViewer to Consider a SaaS Licensing Model?
I am going to bend the letter, but not the spirit, of Esther's User Guideline #13. I believe that this is a discussion that should take place between the TeamViewer User Community and TeamViewer Corporate, and not something to be relegated to one-on-one coversations with the sales staff.
Context: until recently, I worked as a sysadmin at a small research institution that was part of a well-endowed U.S. university. We switched to TeamViewer 9 after our previous remote control service (rhymes with HogZeBin) abruptly changed their pricing scheme without notice and quite egregiously. TeamViewer technology served our needs and the TV Business license worked for us, although our management had concerns about the lack of availability of a maintenance contract to protect our investment. When the first bump from TV 9 to TV 10 happened, we were offered a discounted upgrade price for our licenses. We had the same bump from TV10 to TV11. I'm not there any longer, but presumably they received some offer to upgrade to TV12. With forward incompatibility of licenses, it is difficult to stick with an older version of the software for very long. However, the annual release of a new major revision of the software requiring the purchase of a license upgrade is starting to cause existing customers some heartburn. I don't think it has reached the same level of anger and mistrust that led many of us to switch to TeamViewer from the aforementioned company, or to divest our enterprises of any software that is subsequently acquired by that company. Not yet.
I believe that the time has come for TeamViewer to consider offering either a monthly pricing license option (i.e., a SaaS pricing model), or a fixed price license with a monthly "software maintenance" subscription that entitles customers to upgrade their license to the new major release license if they are current in their software maintenance payments. We should not have to be faced with a choice between paying a substantial upgrade fee, or staying at a fixed license level, at the risk of losing subsequent security updates and the inconvenience of managing their client base to avoid installation of new releases. One of the critical "moving parts" and benefits of the system is a TeamViewer-hosted connection infrastructure, which TeamViewer could choose to limit access to relatively recent software releases. I don't know if there is already such a limitation, but it is a risk to those who do not upgrade.
I am sure that a smart business analyst at TeamViewer Corporate can come up with an attractive price point for either option that will continue to keep the revenue level sufficient to maintain the service and software, fund future enhancements and new products, and still make a decent profit for the company.
I also believe that there is an untapped market for new TeamViewer customers and for converting some users who are using the "free for personal use" license for purposes that could be considered "pushing the envelope" of personal use. The current pricing model is difficult for small businesses that provide client support, or larger businesses for whom providing client support is a small part of their business. Having a predictable monthly license cost for the use of the TeamViewer service makes it easier for for a business to match up the cost of client support with the revenue generated from that client. Having a software maintenance option insures the investment in a license that is "perpetual" but loses value quickly after a new major release.
I have written enough. I hope that other TeamViewer customers, both paying and free, will chime in on this.