IP Rights Management mid-year 2017: The Swiss Army Knife

IP Rights Management mid-year 2017: The Swiss Army Knife

My esteemed colleague Theresa Regli recently wrote an article on the current DAM system landscape and proclaimed “ECM is the New Black”. As anyone who’s seen Theresa’s presentations knows – she loves metaphors to describe the technology market. With that in mind, it made me wonder – what metaphor would be appropriate to describe the IP Rights Management landscape in 2017? After a busy half-year examining Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Management systems, I’ve found myself with one answer: the “Swiss Army knife”.

As anyone who spent time in the Boy Scouts knows, the Swiss Army knife is far more than just a blade. In fact, this “knife” contains a variety of tools that include a scissors, screwdriver, nail file, pliers and bottle opener. Heck, modern versions even have LED lights and USB sticks (at least according to my internet research). This utilitarian device can potentially solve any McGyver wannabes problems. So how is the current IP Rights Management system landscape like a Swiss Army knife?

As you may have guessed, the products in the market do far more than manage contracts and rights data. In fact, most of the major products contain a dizzying number of tools that may facilitate master data management, physical product inventory management, invoice generation, business intelligence, general ledger accounting, and financial calculation capabilities.

All this functionality built into one system can make it seem like “the perfect solution,” but as anyone who has owned a Swiss Army knife knows: you’re more likely going to use a dedicated nail clipper than the knife’s nail clipper.  While we’re not advocating point solutions in all cases, at KlarisIP, we know that before purchasing a system it’s wise to define your future requirements first. Unfortunately, far too many organizations procure first and define requirements later. We also know that IP Rights Management systems often end up being the business system where miscellaneous functional requirements get shoehorned. Given this scope creep, IP Rights Management vendors find themselves developing product capabilities that would traditionally be found in separate solutions. 

No one can fault the vendors for satisfying the needs of their clients, but the reality is that the typical 2017 IP Rights Management system is a veritable Swiss Army knife of purpose-built modules. So while we should celebrate the achievement of these vendors in addressing the diverse needs of their customers, today’s modern IP Rights Management products are looking more like an ERP system and less like Rights Management system. So unless you’re the type of person who likes carrying a a single tool that contains a nail clipper, screwdriver and bottle opener – be careful of trying to solve all your problems with one solution, for it may be easier to use a dedicated screwdriver instead.