Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


Many companies increasingly rely on licensed standard software for system software and applications. In addition to the regulation of usage conditions, software licensing agreements increasingly include services, such as software upgrades and user training, as a part of the contract or these are optional for a fee, which can be made use of by the licensee during the term of the contract at a reduced price or as a free service. This benefit entitlement is called a discount option and must be valued during the selection and designing of a contract. This paper describes the basic valuation issues as well as some weaknesses of previous approaches, and subsequently presents a model which, on the basis of the real option theory, enables an assessment of the discount options using mathematical methods. As the value of discount options can in many cases only be estimated by using analytical methods under certain conditions, a practical solution method is explained on the basis of numeric backwards induction. The procedure for applying the model and the achieved advances in knowledge are illustrated with an example.