Many SME owners across Africa believe that pirating their business software is a good way to save money. However, the reality is that purchasing legitimate software licences yields powerful return on investment (ROI) and allows organisations to eliminate the heavy costs and risks associated with pirated software.
That’s according to Nikki Summers, director for Sage One in East and West Africa, who says that any discussion about pirated software should not only focus on the dangers of piracy but also on the many advantages of going legit.
Summers outlines five ways that buying legitimate software licenses benefits your business:
* Access to top-notch technical support and service – With officially licensed software, you can phone/email the vendor or an official reseller for support and expert advice when you run into a problem or simply need some advice. That can save you time and money as you can often resolve the technical issue without spending hours of your own time on it or paying for a technician. This keeps your business running smoothly. Official resellers are able to help you with services such as training and installation. You also get the instructions and documentation you need to make the most of your software solution.
* Regular patches and software updates – When you buy officially licensed software, you will get the security patches and feature updates for your product, ensuring that you remain up to date with the latest version of the software at all times. This will help you to improve your information security and allow you to benefit from the latest functionality. When it comes to accounting and payroll software, these regular updates are essential because they keep you up to date with the latest tax and labour regulatory requirements.
* Fewer technical issues and less risk of malware – According to a Business Software Alliance (BSA) study, computer users around the world cite the risk of security threats from malware as the top reason not to use unlicensed software. There is a very good chance that pirated software you buy from an unethical retailer or download via the Internet will contain some spyware or malware. Indeed, in some cases the motivation for giving or selling you pirated software is to plant a virus or key-logging software on your computer to steal your information. The risks you face could include theft of sensitive data (customer and financial records, passwords) or loss of all your data.
* Supporting your country’s economic development – When you buy your software legally, you are helping your country and community to grow. The BSA noted increasing the amount of properly licensed software in use globally by 1 percent could add an estimated $73 billion to the world economy, compared to $20 billion from pirated software. Your purchase benefits the local companies that sell, support and distribute the software. It also gives software vendors incentive to localise products for your market and invest in your economy. The result is that the ICT industry can create jobs and develop new services. Your government also gets its slice of tax revenue for social services spending and the software vendor earns revenues it can reinvest in making its products better.
* Long-term value and cost-savings – If you buy legal software licences, you will be able to establish a stable, reliable and effective IT environment, which will save you money in the longer term. For example, you won’t need to keep reinstalling pirated software when it becomes out of date – you can simply upgrade. Furthermore, you will be able to plan for the future and work with the vendor or its resellers to design a solution that makes sense for your business.
Summers notes that software vendors today offer user a range of flexible volume licensing agreements as well as cloud (online) software offerings that make legitimate software solutions more affordable than ever. For example, you can buy software as an online service, paid per month and per user. That means you don’t need to spend a lot of money upfront to get access to the best technology.
“As the global market leader of integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, we have become an indispensable business partner. In a time of seismic technological change and digital invention, our smart people are making software more accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes,” he says. “We enable our customers to focus on their business and help them to leapfrog to the future”