Software licensing

This is the second blog in a series on how to effectively manage your software licenses to get the most value from your investment. In the first blog, we discussed reasons for keeping your licenses up to date. Today, we examine ways you can save money with careful license management.


In the 'olden' days of software licensing, there weren't many options for how you bought software, even for a large company. Most licenses were Single User – which means the software could only be used by one person. The price was usually the same whether the assigned user spent five minutes or five hours working with the application each day.

Times have changed and so have licensing options. The Concurrent, or Floating license, is possibly the most valuable licensing structure now offered by nearly all vendors. This plan allows multiple people to use the software on different machines as long as their usage is not concurrent. In other words, two people can't use the same floating seat at the same time.

This option becomes increasingly valuable for a large enterprise where a specific package will be accessed throughout a 24-hour day by multiple personnel spread across many time zones or workers on different shifts at a single location. In these enterprise environments, the software resides on desktop computers while the license is managed via a server, which gives a user access to the package assuming the floating seat isn't in use elsewhere.

Concurrent licenses are more expensive than single user because they offer greater flexibility and increased access. They key to deciding whether a Concurrent/Floating or Single User seat works better for you is to examine when and how long your users typically access the package. If all users are located at one facility and they use the package for many hours throughout the day, the single user might be best. But if each person accesses the software only a couple hours each day or you have personnel working two or three eight-hour shifts, the concurrent license might work.

Consider the math. Even if a concurrent license costs twice that of a single-user seat, you can still save money if four people can share the software. The savings becomes considerable if three concurrent licenses are purchased to serve 12 users instead of buying a dozen single user licenses. This may require some internal scheduling if everyone works the same eight-hour period, but the coordination pays off in cost savings.

Many software developers help you determine the most cost-effective license options for your situation. Give their sales department a call and start asking questions.


In the next blog, I will discuss additional options for saving money without buying new licenses.