Packaging disparate applications into Suites or Modules has been going on literally since application providers started selling applications. Providers have to work with multiple forces driving their business. These forces include:
- New technologies enabling new capabilites
- Customer needs driving new functionality
- Competitors adding functionality
- Acquisitions bringing in new capabilities
- Multiple products creating customer complexity
- Licensing changes driving consolidation
The easiest way to address the confusion and complexity of overlapping products or functionality is to consolidate several applications into one product. This is technically more difficult if the applications will share a common database, or need to have a similar look and feel, so the pace of re-packaging is slower for enterprise vendors such as Oracle or SAP. They typically broadcast well in advance that consolidation is going to occur, to let their customers prepare for the change.
Desktop application providers such as Adobe, Autodesk or Bentley are driven less today by the shared database or look and feel problems of enterprise vendors. More problematic for them is the complexity of having large numbers of individually downloaded applications, license rights to copy on multiple devices, and counterfeit applications. By consolidating applications into Suites, the providers have the opportunity to engage customers in audit and usage activity to identify licensing problems.
Shifting from perpetual or per release pricing to subscription allows vendors to minimize license sharing. Cloud-delivered licenses let users make copies of applications on multiple devices, but the licensee can only use one login at a time. A typical user benefit when vendors consolidate applications into Suites is that users now have access to additional functionality at no or minimal increased cost. Licensees are more likely to “share” little-used applications because the cost of licensing the application isn’t cost effective. Users who don’t need the added functionality may have a different view of the benefits of the added functionality.
Enterprises with multiple copies of applications are forced to rethink how they manage their application licenses. Entitlements were typically established for a specific number of individual licenses or concurrent users. Entitlement management tools could track installations or meter licenses. When applications are consolidated into Suites, reporting becomes problematic: individual product numbers are consolidated into Suites, or licenses are consolidated on servers. Solution providers such as Autodesk may replicate core applications, such as the AutoCAD application, into multiple Suites, making license determination and usage reporting more complex.
Shifting from perpetual, subscription and server-based to cloud licensing requires enterprises to look at different reporting solutions. Entitlement management solutions address the issues of associating a license to a desktop, or restricting licenses from license servers. These methods aren’t effective if the user can run an application on one of multiple devices or on a Bring-Your-Own-Device basis because the license comes from the cloud.
Perhaps more fundamental is a need to shift from discrete licensing on a per-user basis to a shift in usage. Server-based licenses provide the notion of usage, but the usage reporting and monitoring is only as discrete as identifying when licenses are checked out and in. Cloud-based licensing removes the rudimentary usage reporting that license servers provided. A different approach to license monitoring/usage reporting is required.
Cetrus Process Meter was designed to support the server and device-specific license delivery usage reporting of the past, as well as the device and license-independent application monitoring requirements of today. By monitoring usage at the device level, Process Meter can enrich usage data with attribute information to provide context-specific reporting that enterprises need.