Once a year at renewal time, the question “How many licenses do I need?” drives the beginning of a frustrating data gathering process. For metered applications, the simplistic answer is to determine how my peak use compares to my number of licenses. The reality is that, especially for mid-size companies, firms consolidating licenses, firms with similar applications, or Autodesk application/Suite/Collection users, etc., calculating an optimal answer is more complicated. We’ll try to address those some of those complexities in future posts.
For this post, we’ll just cover user ranking as a variable in license option decision-making. Some other variables are below:
Vendor licensing variables (and their operational impact) include:
- Does my provider offer multiple licensing options, e.g., metered, standalone, multiple seats/license?
- For multiple licensing options, what are the cut-offs (price/user or seat, number of users/use levels, etc.)?
- Can I monitor or track licenses to ensure compliance with one or more options?
Application use variables include:
- Who are the users?
- Can I rank use from heaviest to lightest?
- What use data can I capture?
- How granular is the use data?
- Can I capture use data for existing multiple license or deployment types?
- What metrics should I employ for use ranking?
We have found the most common metrics needed to address the above use questions (fora specific time) are:
- Ranking users by the number of individual sessions
- Ranking users by the average active session duration
- Ranking users by total active session duration
Having granular and accurate use data simplifies reviewing licensing options, as the analyst has a consistent set of metrics for comparing the cost of each option. Our customers are in a much better position to negotiate optimal terms because they know what the actual use has been.
For example: One of our customers with several hundred users wanted to reduce the number of licenses of an application suite and offer them to just those users who needed the multi-application functionality offered by the suite. They already had in-house a lower cost/functionality application, which they felt would be adequate for the majority of users. The suite vendor didn’t offer license option flexibility. The questions use ranking would help address included:
- What did the ranking “curve” look like, e.g., were there obvious breaks in use levels?
- Which users were using multiple applications within the suite?
- Which users used both the suite and the lower cost application?
- Which users were outliers compared to their peers?
- Which users were in the “gray area” or ambiguous to drive a direct conversation for need?
- Which users should get the lower-cost solution?
The customer saved tens of thousands of dollars in subscription/support costs because they knew the exact use of the two applications. In addition, the customer felt significantly more confident in their decision because: 1. They were able to identify the user subset where need was unclear, and 2. They had actual data to counter requests by users who wanted to keep the suite but hadn’t been using it. In the past, the customer would have erred by buying unnecessary suite licenses.
Would you like to be able to be able to improve the quality of your licensing decisions? Click here to get your copy of our Top 5 Application Use Questions Report, or here for a Process Meter Overview.