Fueled by technology advances and the needs of an aging population, the global market for medical manufacturers is growing rapidly. As healthcare facilities rely on an ever-growing population of medical devices controlled by FDA regulations, ensuring compliance becomes an increasingly complex challenge. At the same time, medical manufacturers have begun implementing more of their key features through software, turning these hardware providers into software companies that must confront issues related to software licensing, software product lifecycle management, version control, and software pricing.
The FDA mandates a serviceable lifetime for many electronic medical devices, and safety issues may require quickly removing a medical device from service. The Unique Device Identification (UDI) system was created to help address these issues; however, the UDI itself does nothing without a complete solution for tracking and enforcement—a solution best implemented via software.
In addition, medical manufacturers are increasingly battling commoditization, grey market abuse and high manufacturing costs. As a result, many are turning to embedded software as a means to cost-effectively differentiate and protect their offerings in a highly competitive market. Unfortunately, too many fail to see the strategic impact of software and, therefore, fail to deploy a strategic solution for Application Usage Management.
A strategic solution for Application Usage Management leverages embedded software licensing to unlock new revenue streams, protect intellectual property and implement configure-to-order manufacturing processes that dramatically reduce inventory while enabling greater responsiveness to changing market conditions. It also utilizes back-office entitlement management solutions to streamline license management, protect maintenance revenues, implement new revenue models quickly, and establish direct relationships with customers through multiple tiers of distribution. In addition, with device lifecycle management, manufacturers are able to efficiently manage activations, returns, upgrades/downgrades and firmware/software updates.
As competition intensifies among Tier 1 medical manufacturers, and as new Tier 2 companies enter the fray, it becomes essential that medical manufacturers retain customers and lower cost. To complete and win in today's highly competitive medical manufacturing market, manufacturers must find innovative ways to introduce new capabilities without causing manufacturing and inventory costs to spiral out of control.
Many cost cutting and revenue opportunities exist for medical manufacturers that develop the following types of devices and equipment:
- High end imaging equipment – high-speed, high resolution MRI and CAT scan systems, and digital X-rays
- Compact patient monitoring and diagnostic devices – ultrasound and vital signs measurement
- Easy to use, hand-held patient monitoring equipment – for use at home, often with a communication component that transmits status back to the medical facility
Medical manufacturing companies can leverage embedded software on their devices and equipment to
- Streamline regulatory approval of new devices by leveraging software-driven enhancements
- Offer capability and metered/prepaid licensing models
- Differentiate products with features tailored to specific needs and markets
- Get a clearer understanding and picture of their channel
- Reduce the number of SKUs that must be manufactured, carried and supported while enabling the creation of space-saving multi-function devices
- Implement and offer make-to-order channel inventory models
- Improve and unify customer experience by streamlining back office systems and processes
- Enable entitlement-driven upgrades, updates and up-sell opportunities that can be electronically activated
FlexNet Producer Suite is ideal for medical equipment manufacturers
FlexNet Producer Suite for Intelligent Device Manufacturers is the most comprehensive, end-to-end solution for software licensing, entitlement management and device lifecycle management available today.
- Embedded Software Licensing – allows manufacturers to capture customers at different price points, yet reduce the number of models and variants needed to meet customer needs while keeping costs in check with flexible configuration of capabilities and capacity. With many monetization models in their formative stages, software licensing technology that is flexible to deal with the evolution of licensing and pricing models quickly becomes a competitive advantage.
- Entitlement Management – offers a single, holistic view and portal for customers and channel partners to manage software licenses and entitlements, capabilities and capacities embedded on devices as well as standalone software applications – enabling manufacturers to reduce manufacturing costs and complexities while improving customer and channel experience.
- Device Lifecycle Management – automates device lifecycle processes for customers and channel partners including device activation, volume activation of license servers, re-balancing capabilities and capacity across devices and locations, de-activations, upgrades, returns and moves.
FlexNet Producer Suite for Intelligent Device Manufacturers leverages Flexera Software's 20 years of industry experience to deliver embedded software licensing and entitlement management technologies that enable medical device manufacturers to price and monetize their products the way customers want to buy and consume them. Its enabling technology allows manufacturers to price and license based on the unique needs of the market (i.e., metered or pre-paid software licensing models) while seamlessly and efficiently rolling out, managing and monetizing new capabilities and capacity as adoption and market needs change.