Software Suites need to go A-La-Carte…


There must be millions of softwares in the world. Some of these softwares are free or open source, on the other hand, some cost more than the computer they are supposed to run on. Some of them are made by individual programmers while others are made by large corporations and are more like commodities.

In these commodities, there are software systems that are called suites or Software Suites. These are a group of softwares that are in a similar field or serve similar purposes and are therefore companies tag them together for the people to buy them together.

The two best examples for this kind of suite are – Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.

The first one is an Office application with softwares that range from Word (for writing) to Powerpoint (Presentations) and from Excel (data crunching) to OneNote (notes). Adobe creative suite consists of softwares like Photoshop (Image manipulation), Flash Builder (Flash), Illustrator (Vector Graphics) and many more. Basically, there are softwares for all the creative pursuits, be it web designing, pictures or videos.

Software Suites

There are many other suites as well- LibreOffice, Seamonkey, Corel Graphic suite, Microsoft Visual Studio etc.

All these have a few things in common-

  • There are versions from light to heavy with heaviest containing all the softwares.
  • Most of them are bloated, especially the heaviest (or pro) one.
  • Those which cost really have steep prices.

With the coming of cloud, the numbers of services that can be offered have increased and so has the option of downloading the software online. Microsoft even has started its own Office 365 which it is promoting even more than its original Office suite. Add to that the fact that the last iteration of both Windows and Mac OS were downloadable and relatively quite cheap and we know that the physical distribution is soon going to become obsolete.

Why I am bringing this is because there was another flaw of physical distribution system. The different kind of softwares that can be added in the suite (the less costly or the lighter versions) was to be decided by the software developing company. They could not give the option of choosing to the user without giving away the whole suite in the CD or DVD and locking the rest of the softwares (this was also done sometimes).

With the internet distribution channel, this is not a necessity anymore. Thus, I think there should not be package systems like they currently are.

All the softwares can be given an individual price and buying more than one can get the customer appropriate discounts. This way, if a person wants a particular combo he can get that without having to buy extra software. Think of it like TV paid channels, you can either buy a single channel or have a pre-fabricated combos or create your own combo.

After all let me ask you- “How many softwares from a software suite does a person actually use?” No one uses all of them.

More importantly, people barely use half of them. For example, I need only the student edition plus Outlook. There might be a person who uses InfoPath, Publisher and Powerpoint only. Yet again, there might be someone who uses some other combo.

Same can be said about any other suite as well. Not everybody manipulate photoshop and design web. Some might just like to create videos. Yet again, there might be someone who uses a completely different combination.

The two advantages of this to the customer are-

  1. Prices go down. You pay for what you use.
  2. Bloat reduces. System resources are less used as not the whole suite is installed.

For the company also, there are advantages. They can know which software is used less thus can be given less focus. The bandwidth will reduce that is used for downloading.

It might seem that the profits will reduce for the company as people will not buy the complete (and costliest) version. That is true. But the company can still price the individual softwares in a way that this impact is minimal. Also, once the company knows where to give maximum focus the resources used will reduce as well.

I think this is a win-win situation for both the parties. With internet distribution increases, this type of choice should become a norm among the companies.

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