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When an organization purchases a software/hardware tool, it most often purchases a license for the features associated. These licenses are the soft dollars that can eat into budgets and pop up unexpected expenses down the line if not understood completely. Although new features may be missed, getting the most of purchased licenses is key. Pooled licensing provides the efficient utilization of tools within any organization. Pooled licensing can take many forms. Small organizations will use remote desktops to share a static license among many users. Large organizations will have large pooled license servers closely monitored through reporting to determine the minimum requirements or even enterprise with licenses for all. No matter the method, it provides organizations with the maximum return on their investment.
Things to consider on your license structure:
- Usage – An organization with only a single user, doesn’t require pooled licensing. Rather single shared licensing. Remember that a pooled license will typically cost from 2x to 5x the price of a static license. If you aren’t getting the efficiency to match that investment, pooling is not providing you savings. Large organizations on the other hand may want to go straight for enterprise licensing for unlimited users. Don’t get bogged down in the exact number when you can get a price that covers everyone.
- Automatic License Return – if a user checks out a license and it isn’t returned to the pool by some default manner, you aren’t getting pooled licensing, rather a pool of static licenses that get dispersed easier than hardware dongles. Without an automated means for the license to be returned such as check-in/check-out when the application is opened and closed, license checkout expiration after X minutes/days/etc, or automatic administrator recall you may be wasting more than 50% of your licenses at any one time.
- License Pool Management – Simple setup and management of pooled licensing is the key. If it takes more than a single user to manage the license pool on a regular basis, the system is costing your organization time and money. This is the sign of complex registration, license maintenance complexity, and typically reporting short-comings.
- Transparency – If your organization doesn’t have transparency to the system, the utilization, and the metrics odds are somebody is hiding something they don’t want you to know or they themselves don’t have a full grasp of the system. Transparency comes through the ease or use and user visibility as well as the reporting available. License pools are like government transparency, we know we need it, but might not like what we see.
Beyond just the licensing of a tool, it allows for the automated feedback of a tools usage. Pooled licensing servers possess the ability to see who uses the tool, which features are utilized, and how is a tool utilized over time. This sort of insight is invaluable to an organization. This lets corporations know if they are purchasing the correct tool, addressing the right features, and focus training on the areas of a tool that may be underutilized. Organizations need to work closely with their suppliers to open up this communication for both to succeed in today’s marketplace.