The Perpetual Licensing Model: A Path to True Ownership and Lower Cost of Ownership for Industry 4.0

In the rapidly advancing era of Industry 4.0, manufacturers must choose the right technology to optimize their shop floor and embrace the potential of digital transformation. While some may opt for quick-fix solutions like cloud-based SaaS monitoring systems due to executive pressure, they often find themselves disillusioned with the lackluster results and the absence of true ownership. In contrast, the perpetual licensing model stands out as a compelling alternative, offering data security and control and a lower cost of ownership in the long run.

SaaS Model: A Short-Term Solution with Long-Term Pitfalls

Many manufacturers, seeking quick wins and minimal effort, gravitate towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models for Industry 4.0 implementation. However, likening this approach to joining a gym and expecting results without putting in the effort is an accurate analogy. The initial allure of low upfront costs and easy deployment can blind manufacturers to the long-term consequences of a SaaS-based system.

The true cost of the SaaS model becomes evident when calculating the expenses over a ten-year period. At $99 per machine per month, with 25 machines, the annual cost amounts to $29,700, reaching a staggering $297,000 over ten years. Shockingly, despite these significant expenditures, the manufacturer does not own any part of the software or infrastructure, making it akin to renting a service rather than possessing it.

Perpetual Licensing: The Gateway to Ownership and Lower Total Cost

In contrast, the perpetual licensing model offers a more attractive path to ownership and a lower total cost of ownership. Although the initial investment may appear higher, it pales in comparison to the cumulative expenses of the SaaS model over time. Let’s delve into the numbers for a clearer understanding.

With perpetual on-premise deployment, the licensing and deployment cost amount to $120,000 (for 25 machines) plus annual software maintenance of $12,900, totaling $129,000 over a decade. Adding these costs together results in a total cost of ownership of $249,000. While this number may seem substantial, it is significantly lower than the $297,000 spent on SaaS with no ownership rights.

Advantages of Perpetual Licensing over the SaaS Model:

1. **True Ownership**: Manufacturers gain full ownership of the software licenses by opting for the perpetual licensing model. This ownership grants them more control over customization, data security, and future upgrades, ensuring they are not at the mercy of a third-party provider.

2. **Data Security and Control**: Perpetual on-premise deployment guarantees data security within the manufacturer’s infrastructure. This level of control is particularly crucial for sensitive manufacturing data that needs to be safeguarded from potential cyber threats.

3. **Lower Total Cost of Ownership**: As demonstrated by the comparison, the perpetual licensing model proves to be the more cost-effective choice in the long term, offering considerable savings over the SaaS model, especially beyond the ten-year mark.

4. **Flexibility and Customization**: Unlike SaaS, perpetual licensing allows manufacturers to tailor the software to their specific needs and processes. This customization can lead to greater operational efficiency and productivity gains.

5. **Predictable Costs**: With perpetual licensing, manufacturers have more predictable costs, knowing exactly what they need to budget for the software and maintenance expenses without unexpected price hikes.


While the SaaS model may appear tempting at first glance with its lower initial costs and easy setup, it eventually reveals itself as an expensive and unfulfilling option in the long run. On the other hand, the perpetual licensing model proves to be a prudent investment, granting true ownership, data security, control, and a lower total cost of ownership. By committing to “own it” through perpetual licensing, manufacturers can confidently navigate the Industry 4.0 landscape, embracing the transformative potential of advanced technology while optimizing their shop floor operations.

Note to reader: The perpetual licensing model is reflective of MERLIN Tempus. Discounts on licensing increase with volume. The example for SaaS is a real-life example of a simple monitoring system costing more than a comprehensive operations management system. There is no denying the fact that there is cost justification in on-premise deployment with perpetual licensing. Furthermore, with emerging data of shocking data retention and egress charges, the scale is tipped fully in the direction of ownership and control.

Critique on the Negative Implications of Cloud Computing

Introduction: Cloud computing has undoubtedly revolutionized the IT industry, offering numerous benefits such as scalability, flexibility, and increased accessibility. However, it is essential to critically analyze the negative implications associated with this technology. This critique explores the potential downsides of cloud computing, focusing on the high costs and hidden expenses highlighted in several articles.

  1. Escalating Costs: The first concern revolves around the escalating costs of cloud computing. As highlighted in the Forbes article, organizations often underestimate the expenses associated with cloud services. Factors such as data transfer fees, storage costs, and performance requirements contribute significantly to the overall expenditure. This cost escalation can lead to budget overruns and negatively impact an organization’s financial resources.
  2. Hidden Costs: The InformationWeek article draws attention to the hidden costs that organizations may encounter when adopting cloud computing. These costs include additional charges for data egress, network latency, and the complexity of managing multiple cloud providers. Such expenses can quickly accumulate, catching businesses off guard and straining their IT budgets. The lack of transparency in pricing models further exacerbates the challenge of accurately predicting and managing costs.
  3. Diminished Return on Investment (ROI): Another issue raised in the critique is the diminishing ROI associated with cloud computing, as mentioned in the Forbes article. While cloud migration initially offers cost savings and increased innovation, companies may experience diminishing returns over time. This can be attributed to factors like cloud sprawl, where the sheer volume of workloads leads to uncontrollable costs and complex infrastructure. As a result, organizations may find themselves spending more on cloud services than they did on their previous on-premises systems.
  4. Vendor Lock-In: A critical aspect discussed in the Wall Street Journal article is the issue of vendor lock-in. Once organizations commit to a specific cloud provider, it becomes challenging and costly to switch to an alternative provider or bring workloads back on-premises. This lack of flexibility can limit an organization’s agility and inhibit its ability to respond to changing business needs or take advantage of better pricing options.

Conclusion: While cloud computing has undoubtedly brought significant advancements, it is crucial to consider the negative implications associated with this technology. The critique has shed light on the high costs and hidden expenses, including budget overruns, hidden fees, and diminishing ROI. Additionally, the issue of vendor lock-in can hinder organizations’ flexibility and strategic decision-making. By recognizing these challenges, organizations can better prepare and strategize to mitigate the negative implications while leveraging the benefits of cloud computing effectively.



  1. “Cloud Computing Costs: Are You Spending Too Much?” – This article from Forbes explores the potential pitfalls and hidden costs associated with cloud computing. It discusses strategies to optimize cloud spending and highlights real-world examples of companies grappling with high cloud costs. [Link:]
  2. “The High Cost of Cloud Computing: A Wake-Up Call” – This article published on InformationWeek discusses the increasing costs of cloud computing and the need for organizations to manage their cloud spend effectively. It provides insights into cost optimization strategies, including resource allocation, automation, and cloud governance. [Link:]
  3. “The Cloud’s Hidden Costs: How to Budget Wisely” – This article on highlights the hidden costs of cloud computing and provides tips for budgeting wisely. It covers various cost factors, such as data transfer fees, storage costs, and the impact of performance requirements on pricing. [Link:]
  4. “The Hidden Costs of Cloud Computing” – This article from the Wall Street Journal delves into the less obvious expenses associated with cloud computing. It discusses factors like data egress charges, network latency costs, and the challenges of managing multiple cloud providers. [Link:]