The subscription software revolution

Ah, the cloud. The debate rages on.

If you’re a fan of Adobe products, or even just a user, you may have noted a significant announcement this week. The company said its Creative Suite, which contains products such as Photoshop and Illustrator, will no longer be sold as stand-alone software.

Instead, the Adobe Creative Suite will now operate on a cloud-based subscription model only. This type of model has been available for a while, but now Adobe says it will only sell the Creative Suite this way.

It’s a significant change. Suddenly companies which rely on these software packages will be thrust into using a cloud computing solution they may not have even prepared for.

That’s not to say it’s a bad decision. Obviously Adobe sees merit in heading in this direction in a business sense, and that’s fine. The subscription economy is becoming a much more sustainable business model, in any case.

Companies like Hulu, Netflix and Spotify are thriving on the idea of the subscription-based business model. Just get your users to pay a few dollars each month instead of paying over $100 for a stand-alone piece of software. Not only does it help cashflow, but it’s also more technically sustainable. Changes to the software can be rolled out faster, and so on. Back-up technology companies thrive on this type of model.

Companies have become accustomed to having the “should we go into the cloud” debate. The only problem with Adobe’s approach here is that it has simply dismissed that debate entirely. Whether businesses using Adobe products like it or not, a subscription model is now a part of their business plan.

Most of the time, that’s going to be a good idea. And it’s why they should be looking to adopt subscription-model plans whenever they can.

There are always going to be risks with cloud computing. But complete outages are rare, and it’s about time businesses started figuring out where they can adopt subscription models rather than simply pay for licensed software.

It’s not always going to be a cost benefit. But whether you like it or not, subscription models are the software industry’s latest game. Why do you think so many accounting software companies are creating cloud-based solutions now?

You may have missed the Adobe announcement this week, and that’s fine. But pay attention, because sooner or later a subscription-based decision will need to be made in your business. And you need to be prepared.


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