Problem With Milestone VMS License Ordered Through ADI

I am having an ongoing problem with getting Milestone VMS licenses in a reasonable time frame. I order them through ADI and I have never gotten one back in less than 3 days. Is 3 days normal in anyone else’s experience?

I don't know if it's Milestone or ADI, of course ADI says Milestone. I really don't understand why Milestone sells their licensees through distributors, what value do they add other than adding a layer to slow things down?

Summary:

Though ADI says one to two day delays are normal, Milestone says it is not and is working to fix this with ADI. Customer gave up on ADI and bought it through another distributor who completed the order and provided the licenses in 20 minutes.


Through Anixter, we often get Milestone licenses back the same day, and almost certainly no later than the next business day. Maybe once it was longer than that, and our Anixter account rep acknowledged something had gone wrong and followed up and got the license issued pretty quickly.

We utilize Anixter and generally receive them in a couple days, worst case scenario. Are you awaiting the license notification email or are you checking the software registration on their site? The license emails always have more lag if we even get them. The software registration info under "My Milestone" is infinitely better.

Yes, when you sell software that is downloaded online and managed online I too have to question why distributors are utilized when a shopping portal wouldn't be that difficult to setup. It is likely due to "bundling" and the fact that most distributors have outside sales people specifying their product. Also, I think Milestone only has to invoice a few distributors in lieu of 300 different integrators that may not pay on time.

Good feedback. I wonder what stops it from being instantaneous. In other words, what human intervention is required that cannot be automated?

Would save them money and make it easier for customers...

I never thought of checking under my milestone, just did and of course nothing. I made a call to Milestone customer service about an hour ago and they said that they had no pending orders from ADI for my account. Anyway i'm done with ADI, they offer nothing but frustration.

Thanks

distributors, what value do they add other than adding a layer to slow things down?

If you spoke to my Milestone customers, most would say I speed up the process. I ensure accurate pricing--Of late, Milestone has some new people and a learning curve--I am helping them get your pricing right. If you need a quote or a configuration, I can turn it around more quickly than your Milestone RSM or Inside Sales. I get projects registered that you may not be able to register, and often get them registered more quickly than you could do directly. I set it up so your license not only gets to your portal, but is also emailed to you at the same time it gets emailed to me. I (my company) extend you credit--often multiple lines and for varying lengths of time for projects/jobs. I sell my customer base over $600K of Milestone a year and believe they benefit from my efforts.

Then why can't you get 1 his licenses!!! I am kidding :)

Good feedback. So is the Milestone license process manual then? Do you have to set up each license purchased? Do you have to wait until Milestone sends it to you?

You have to send Milestone a PO to start the process, along with an existing SLC if you are adding to an existing system.

On their end, I believe they are verifying pricing, config, and SLC's and generating the new license(s), and SUP docs. It likely could be more automated. There is tiered pricing and varying discount structures, yet one would think all of that could be programmed in.

I consider it a more confusing process than it really needs to be as currently set up.

Adding care packs (SUPs) to that makes it even more confusing when there is an existing base license in place. "Care" packs are cumbersome for all involved.

But surely Milestone has some form of rules that are documented. Those rules can be programmed. Then the data input (customer, project, cameras, version, etc.) can be matched against the data they have stored for said customer, project, etc., compared to the rules and a decision can be automatically made for easily 80 / 90% of cases.

It is a kind of crazy that this is something even needs defending in this age of online services / Google / Amazon, etc.

Agreed. Generally, it takes our customers ~3 days to get the email from Milestone. Why it isn't automated, I have no idea. Ask Milestone, I guess.

Ok, I just did. Will let you know if they respond.

Wanna bet a dollar their response includes something about the open platform? e.g. "The Milestone open platform empowers multi-day delays to maximize delivery of software licenses."

UPDATE:

Response from Milestone:

"We are working with ADI to improve the process of receiving orders from their system into the Milestone online order handling system. We regret any delays our partners are experiencing and will work with ADI to resolve this as quickly as possible. Normal license turnaround time is very efficient and quick."

Even a non-answer can be instructive.

Undisclosed 6 Distributor -

Are your customers not Milestone partners and registered on the site? I ask because there is really no need to wait for the email announcing the new license SLC code. As long as the new SLC or old SLC having a license added is associated with an active account it will show up in the Milestone license list under My Milestone on their site. It's basically on the same page as the Milestone Dashboard, just a different tab.

I know the distributors don't see this but in Milestone's defence once the license is sold, they actually have a pretty tight process in place to download the license file, manage licenses, update the licenses to new iterations of software, etc. Of the few VMS I have played with that is an area where they truly exceed their competition that I have worked with.

Milestone has a bunch of different licenses you buy the version you want for your server and tell them how many cameras and thet then send you a key that is good for that version of software and the cameras. The software is limited until you get that key, you get up to 8 camera's with restricted recording.

So the customer is asking where the rest of his cameras are and why he can't see them. It just seems so simple that this should be automated, I really don't know what value distributors add to this process, it's such a pain I'd really need to start shopping around for another VMS it's just that I've invested a lot of brain cells learning this program and hate to do it again with another.

Maybe they need to ship you the box :)

What was that called in the old days? Shrink wrapped software?

But, yes, I am dumb founded by this process. Not only does it not add value, it pretty clearly destroys it.

The lack of automation in this industry in general is pretty atrocious.

Agreed, and unfortunately directly related to the lack of software development skills.

It would appear that there are (at least) two seperate computerized order entry systems involved, the distributor's and Milestone's.

Bridging the gap between the two islands of automation is most likely a clerk whose job includes manually rekeying the incoming license orders into Milestone's system, and probably other specials/drop-ships etc.

If the person is out or falls behind, a day or two goes by very easily. Perhaps the pricing and configuration are so complicated that Milestone insists on their tool being used for every order.

In that case, unless the disty wants to pay for b2b order integration, they have to keep on the clerk to stay on top of it. But it will never be near-realtime that way.

Is this normal for other VMS's or limited to Milestone? Seams like a huge waste of time for all partys.

Agreed.

Should just be able to get it direct from Milestone.

We use an independent systems integrator for our Milestone products here for our casino surveillance system. They've always had the licence(s) within one business day.

ouch. that cuts like a knife

I wish that was me. I wouldn't be in this business, that's for sure.

And the famous Bryan Adams would have had those licenses yesterday...

ADI has responded. Two parts:

"The value a distributor adds on a vms license is that the vast majority of our vms license sales are part of a larger system where we are providing the total solution of hardware and software for an integrator to be able to deliver to their end user customer. Our configuration center is able to configure the server, switches and software if needed and deliver a ready to plug in rack if required."

"The turnaround time on a Milestone license is 24-48 hours. Delays may occur when a dealer is not coded in Milestone’s partner program."

I have never seen 24 or even a 48 hour turnaround. I even once got a quote from Milestone which they turned around in about two hours, I then emailed the quote to ADI and said, here is what I want all I need to do is pay for it. In this case I gave it to them on Thursday and finally got the license the following Friday.

The license I ordered last Friday morning which they (ADI rep.) told me they probably could get me by the end of that day; as of close of the close of business today (Wednesday) I still don't have. There's nothing on milestone site showing any activity for this customer. The next license I'll order from Anixter and report back on the time it takes to get it done. I still think milestone should do this direct, the whole process is just ridiculous.

Mr. O'Malley called to find out why he couldn't get his new Milestone license today:

http://goo.gl/eybBeU

I am Milestone distributor. My customers can expect license delivery in 3 minutes after order confirmation.

Kestutis, What do you differently given that other Milestone distributors tend to take a day, two, three, etc.?

I think main difference is that we are smaller and more flexible than ADI. Problem definitely lays not on Milestone side, because Milestone uses online ordering system available 24/7/365. All orders are processed automatically and immediately. I didn’t face with any problems with this system during the years I work with it. Of course you must be sure about what you are ordering, Milestone licensing model sometimes can be complicated, especially for not trained resellers, so maybe main delays can appear here, because you need to clarify what your customer really needs.

But in ADI case I think their internal processes consuming most time.

A distributor order licenses in a Milestone Online Order System (Portal) Called MOOS - when the distributor enter the order - you will get the license approx 10 min. after (e-mail). so i guess the delay is caused by the distributor and not from Milestone.

Now that I know the system, the story makes me even more frosted. To think that I'm raising hell with ADI and they keep making promises that they don't keep and it comes down to somebody just not keying it into a system just gets me pissed.

I hope milestone is looking at this post and thinks about it's strategy on licensing at least for the bottom couple of verions of Xprotect because the current system doesn't seem to add value. I could see possibly a knowledgeable distributor (which they seem to be rare) adding value on some of the more complicated versions of the software, but the first three or four versions are pretty straightforward, in fact the first version "Xprotect go" requires no license and the dealer can register it direct.

We purchase all of our Milestone licenses through Anixter and almost always have them back same day or next day, depending on what time of day they are ordered. My guess would be your problem is ADI or their processes.

I have seen it take over a week in some cases. It's not Milestone's fault; it's the distributor's. Take it up with them, and threaten to take your business to another distributor who has their act together.

We are a Milestone distributor and find the process to be very streamlined. For regular license orders, we process the order through Milestone’s automated ordering system, and typically get very quick responses with the license keys within 2 minutes. For special projects, etc. there is typically a project ID that we order off of within the Milestone system, and again response time is very quick.

We really only find delays when the dealer isn't sure on current SUP, or Care Plus (as they now call it), and therefore doesn't initially order that portion correctly, but we usually try to catch that and get it figured out right away. The only other delay would be if the dealer wasn't already registered as a Milestone partner, in which case the license would not be able to be assigned to the dealer.

After a week I gave up on ADI, the rep said every time he would place the order it would bounce. It says to me that my order was not important enough to get some help from someone in the company that knew what they were doing.

I ordered from DWG Dist who had made the claim that the could fill the order in 5 minutes; I was a new customer, but in total it only took 20 minutes before the license showed up in my email. Still think Milestone needs to make this a direct order thing, but at least I understand the process now.

I know its Australia only but Video Security Products gets us our Milestone licenses generally in less than 4hrs (unless its a holiday or weekend or something) - for those in Australia I can recommend them for Milestone

Does it have anything to do with holidays? I.e. labor day, etc? It seems whenever theres a holiday, people are useless 3 days prior to and after the holiday.

I buy Exacq licenses through a distributor and receive license keys via e-mail within a few hours of providing the MAC address for the server NIC. Works great, never a problem.

Apparently Milestone has a 24/5 License Chat. Look for the Icon at the bottom right of the page:

Licensing questions only.

Response from Milestone:

"We are working with ADI to improve the process of receiving orders from their system into the Milestone online order handling system. We regret any delays our partners are experiencing and will work with ADI to resolve this as quickly as possible. Normal license turnaround time is very efficient and quick."

That's good to hear. Not so good that ADI couldn't do this in the first place but good to see action is being taken.

I work for Anixter in Australia,

most licence requests that come through are handled in a few hours by our guys, quicker if there's a real urgency and it's emphasised that it's super urgent!

Provided the purchaser is a Milestone partner, registered with Milestone, and they have the SLC to hand, it takes very little time, regardless of where the original system was purchased