The reliance of engineers and scientists on software applications grows and progresses year by year. We have evolved over the last 60 or so years from the days when a few pioneers started purchasing very expensive computer hardware to run the early CAD software that was available, to the point where CAE software vendors like Solidworks have created “Apps for kids” which children as young as 4 can access on a mobile phone. Today, no industry that requires engineering skills can function without a full range of software tools, whether designing electronics or drilling oil and gas reservoirs. The engineering software market is huge, and while there are major players that offer every conceivable toolset, even mid-size businesses will have different vendors supplying the tools they need to design and compete.
The right to use such software requires the customer to pay for licenses. Licensing started off as a very simple process where software was sold on a per-user basis, and has gradually evolved through network and site licensing, where an agreed number of licenses are purchased by a company to be shared by its employees on-site, to subscriptions in the cloud. The engineering software portfolio of most companies today will be subject to a variety of license models, some of which are extremely complex. Each vendor usually provides a license manager tool that is used to control license usage and ensure that companies are compliant with the terms of their agreement.
The Evolution of License Management Software
If software is issued by the vendor to manage licenses, why should anyone purchase an application that is vendor-independent to measure and monitor license use and activity? It seems pretty pointless to purchase yet another software tool that duplicates work already being done by free vendor software. What’s more, why purchase a product that focuses mainly on engineering software? Well, there are some compelling reasons, which is why engineering companies, from SMEs through to global enterprises, public and government bodies, and academic institutions have invested in OpenLM.
- your vendor’s license manager is not your license manager
- the administrative overhead puts a strain on your budget
- you probably have bought too many licenses
- you keep buying more licenses to reduce denials
- the period for ROI in OpenLM is usually 6 months or less.
This list is not exhaustive, but is enough to explain why acquiring OpenLM in a scientific or engineering environment is essential.
Your Vendor’s License Manager is not your Friend
We thought long and hard about the role a vendor-supplied license manager plays in your organization and came up with a parole officer. We are perfectly sure that you have never been in a situation where you needed such a person, but now you have this watchdog in your environment. Like a parole officer, the application:-
- helps you find work – no license manager, no licenses
- monitors your behavior – ensures you are keeping to the straight and narrow of your licensing agreement
- reports on any infringement of your licensing conditions, which could cost you
As if that were not bad enough, you have a whole bunch of them, at least one for every supplier, and more where you have several agreements, as happens when you have branches globally, or a hybrid of on-premise and cloud licenses. You have to manage all these relationships.
It’s a Costly Exercise
While most software vendors purchase their license management from a specialized software vendor, like Flexera or Reprise, there are custom versions as well. Handling all these products becomes an administrative nightmare, especially when it comes to managing entitlements and access to software. So, whether you are on-boarding a new employee, terminating employment or merely moving someone from one business unit to another, you have to go and update each license manager for each piece of software required. Not only is this laborious, it is also error-prone.
The next problem is in reporting to management. You have reports with different formats and no common look-and-feel, unless you rework each of the outputs into a common format. You also don’t necessarily have the right data to estimate what license numbers you really need when it comes to renewal time, or when a new project is starting.
This is where OpenLM makes your life so much easier; you can manage everything through a single, easy-to-use interface instead of hopping in and out of a whole slew of license managers. You also can report on one or all of your applications with a comprehensive set of reports that are tailored to supporting renewal and purchasing decisions, as well as overspend and sub-optimal productivity. From our interactions with customers, we are pretty sure you have more licenses than you need, and this could apply to several products. Our reports will help you rectify this situation.
You Bought More Licenses than You Need
This is a very common problem and probably the best reason for purchasing OpenLM, as you can save a lot of money cutting down on unnecessary licenses. Needless to say, your vendor-supplied software is not going to help you here; it is not in the vendor’s interests to have you operating as economically as possible.
Potential savings include:-
- identifying and getting rid of “shelfware”, software purchased but not being used.
- high-end licenses purchased when a basic license is all that is needed
- named user licenses where a concurrent license is all that is needed.
Surprisingly, this is a big problem with subscription licensing. Based on market surveys, the disparity between budgeted and actual costs for SaaS software is generally double to treble the original estimate. So the expectation that “Pay-as-you-go” licensing eliminates the need for license management is unfortunately not true.
Your Productivity Levels could be Better
Denials are a common problem in any networked license environment. Every company experiences peaks and troughs in license demand and the knee-jerk reaction is to purchase more licenses to keep your users happy. None of the proprietary license managers will show you why you are getting denials and if they are “true” denials (i.e. repeated denials over a period of time) or just a single denial that was resolved thirty seconds later. You also cannot see if the licenses booked out are actually being used or are lying idle. Even where you can identify licenses lying idle, you lack a toolset that can automatically harvest idle licenses according to your in-house software policy. OpenLM lets you tailor an automatic harvesting regime that suits your business and reduces the risk of denials, because only licenses that are actually being used are checked out.
You Achieve ROI in No Time
Engineering software licenses don’t come cheap. Eliminating just one license usually pays for your OpenLM purchase, and some of our clients do precisely that to justify their spend. On average our customers save 15% in their first year of using OpenLM, with year-on-year savings through optimizing their software portfolio. The ability of OpenLM to analyse usage right down to feature level, as well as additional features, such as reporting on custom software and detecting unnecessary spend on time-based licenses make our totally ono-essential software a critical component in your software toolkit.