IT professionals-business software licenses

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
nonnie
Posts: 1943
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Northern California

IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by nonnie » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:57 pm

I'd like some information on current software licensing practices in medium to large businesses. I'm not talking about Microsoft or Adobe product licenses but specialized software from smaller firms--software such as that used by attorneys, large CPA firms, educational institutions, financial professionals, etc.

Is it customary that every seat that uses the software gets licensed? Or is some other method generally used such as only purchasing 25 licenses to service 50 employees? If so how are the licenses monitored by the firm that purchased the licenses? Are there other methods employed to enable firms to cut costs?

Nonnie
This post may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.

hicabob
Posts: 3066
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:35 pm
Location: cruz

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by hicabob » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:02 pm

nonnie wrote:I'd like some information on current software licensing practices in medium to large businesses. I'm not talking about Microsoft or Adobe product licenses but specialized software from smaller firms--software such as that used by attorneys, large CPA firms, educational institutions, financial professionals, etc.

Is it customary that every seat that uses the software gets licensed? Or is some other method generally used such as only purchasing 25 licenses to service 50 employees? If so how are the licenses monitored by the firm that purchased the licenses? Are there other methods employed to enable firms to cut costs?

Nonnie
A lot of people and companies steal software much to the chagrin of those that work hard to create it, but to abide by the license agreement it's one license per seat. Typically many different people can use that seat but one at a time. i.e. you may have one license of the software on your laptop + desktop but should just be using one at a time.

User avatar
mas
Posts: 1461
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:54 pm

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by mas » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:26 pm

nonnie wrote:Is it customary that every seat that uses the software gets licensed? Or is some other method generally used such as only purchasing 25 licenses to service 50 employees? If so how are the licenses monitored by the firm that purchased the licenses? Are there other methods employed to enable firms to cut costs?
It obviously depends on the software, but there is the concept that I would call a "license server" which keeps track of who is currently using a particular piece of software and ensures that a quota is enforced.

Wikipedia has these related articles that discuss the concept, but not really specifics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_server ... censing%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_licensing

You would have to research your specific software needs to see what various types of licensing is available, but the technology certainly exists to do what you describe.

User avatar
jasonlitka
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:30 am
Contact:

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by jasonlitka » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:45 pm

It depends entirely on the software. Some software is licensed per user. You can install everywhere but only named users can actually use it. Some software is per device. You can have any number of users using the software but pay per computer it is installed on. A third method is concurrent licensing. You can have any number of users on any number of devices but only a certain number are permitted to use the software at any time. This option is typically a higher cost per license but can work out to be less expensive if you have low utilization at any one time (ie. shift workers).
Jason Litka

User avatar
Clearly_Irrational
Posts: 3087
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:43 pm

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:59 pm

Completely depends on the product, I've seen just about every license scheme imaginable. Use open source software and you can quit worrying about it and get on with your business.

MathWizard
Posts: 4158
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by MathWizard » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:05 pm

mas wrote:
nonnie wrote:Is it customary that every seat that uses the software gets licensed? Or is some other method generally used such as only purchasing 25 licenses to service 50 employees? If so how are the licenses monitored by the firm that purchased the licenses? Are there other methods employed to enable firms to cut costs?
It obviously depends on the software, but there is the concept that I would call a "license server" which keeps track of who is currently using a particular piece of software and ensures that a quota is enforced.

Wikipedia has these related articles that discuss the concept, but not really specifics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_server ... censing%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_licensing

You would have to research your specific software needs to see what various types of licensing is available, but the technology certainly exists to do what you describe.
We mainly use "floating licenses" for software that is used infrequently. These cost more per license, but can be used
by many different computers on a network, but only up to the limit on the number of floating licenses at any one time.
We might have 5 license for 20 people if we only expect 3 on average to be using it at the same time, and no more than 5.
"floating licenses" require a license server.

For software you expect exployees to use all the time, MS Word for example, we buy one per person.

I've seen more floating licenses when using Engineering or Math software and using Unix/Linux than for the MicroSoft Operating
Systems, which you likely use.
For Linux we use flexlm (Flexible License Manager).

User avatar
interplanetjanet
Posts: 2226
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:52 pm
Location: the wilds of central California

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by interplanetjanet » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:09 pm

Some licensing is also done by the "class" of hardware as well (bigger/faster computer = more expensive license). This has been common in the mainframe world for 30+ years but has trickled down to midrange and then desktop systems, especially over the last decade. Much of the software I work with easily exceeds the cost of the hardware it runs on, which means that finding an optimally fast system (or one fast enough for our uses in the "wrong" way, depending on how the vendor measures system performance) is a useful task.

There's no substitute for reading and understanding the license agreements in play.

-janet

KyleAAA
Posts: 8326
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by KyleAAA » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:25 pm

Understanding licensing is a full-time job. All I can say is, don't assume. Read the license for every piece of software you use. Sometimes there are reasonable open source alternatives, sometimes not. But a lot of open source alternatives have weird licensing caveats of their own, such as you can't use it to create a commercial product. If anything, open source licensing can be even more complicated.

Topic Author
nonnie
Posts: 1943
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by nonnie » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:05 pm

Wow--sure learned a lot so far. To be more specific I was actually asking about it from the point of view of what is usual and customary (and the variety of different approaches described may make the question irrelevant)--for instance in a mid-size law office where the software is used to calculate alimony and child support--is it customary to only have it licensed to or installed on the paralegal machines or would it be on lawyers' machines also? Or a CPA firm--would the SW only be on the machines of the juniors who do the grunt work or??? Financial planners or RIAs--same thing, only on the machines of the assistants who build the data base or also on the machines of those who propose the plans. From previous responses I'm sure it varies greatly from firm to firm and budget to budget.

Thanx,
Nonnie
This post may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.

User avatar
stratton
Posts: 11083
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 5:05 pm
Location: Puget Sound

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by stratton » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:02 am

It depends on how many people need to actually use it. I don't see why everyone should have a copy of software like that. Keeping one dedicated machine just for that task would be a better use of funds. The only advice I'd make is make sure there is a duplicate system available in case something breaks. The idea is to buy as few licenses as possible to do the work. If there is some kind of license server then you can install the software every where, but only so many can use it at once.

20 years ago a place I worked had an $8,000 software design and documenting program with one license, but it used a hardware dongle on a serial port. That software was installed on 20+ systems, but doesn't run without the dongle. Whomever was using the software had the dongle. The problem is dongles can cause crashes when removed even if the associated software isn't running because of driver issues.

Paul
...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.

MathWizard
Posts: 4158
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by MathWizard » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:14 pm

I can only give you a single use case:

I checked with my brother, senior partner in a 10 person CPA firm,
currently being bought out over 3 years so he can retire.

They put a copy of all software a person will use on each computer.
That does mean the expensive software is only on the 3 senior partners computers, the next most expensive is on the junior partners, etc.

His take:

You don't make a client wait because you don't have a computer with
the right software.

The most expensive programs are those for complicated and expensive
issues. Senior partners should be seeing these clients.

If we can't make money because the software is too expensive to put
on the computers of those that need it, we don't do that work.

An exception is if we need to handle cases for a high value client, and
the cost of losing the client exceeds the cost of the software, we get a single
copy for the (senior) partner who deals with that client.

User avatar
rob
Posts: 3198
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm
Location: Here

Re: IT professionals-business software licenses

Post by rob » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:43 pm

Depends on the software and distributor. Some are single seats and some are group and some are site.

We all like to think it's China that has bootleg software but companies are almost as bad - some thru deliberate stuff but mostly due to incompetent inventory systems.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

Post Reply