Software tip: Concurrent-user licensing or not concurrent-user licensing? That is the question!

David ShattuckLast year we deployed a new licensing option for all three of our major software applications. Up until that point, our customers licensed the software on a “per-computer” basis, meaning every computer terminal being used to run the program required its own unique license. As the software industry shifted towards enterprise and network licensing options, we received a steady stream of requests for more flexible “roaming” licenses. Thus, the concurrent-user license was born.

A concurrent-user license allows an organization to install our software on an unlimited number of computers on the same network, giving them the freedom to put these applications into the hands of any/all of their employees without the cost and hassle of managing individual licenses. The only restriction in the concurrent model is the number of people who can access the program simultaneously; when the sixth person attempts to log into a five-user license, they will get a message saying that the server is full.

We still offer the per-computer licenses, but the concurrent-user licenses have been steadily growing in popularity since they were launched.  Consequently, I routinely find myself answering the question “Should I switch to a concurrent-user license?”  My response is always the same:  “It depends.”

The value of a concurrent-user license versus the traditional per-computer license depends heavily on what sort of traffic to the program is anticipated. If you expect infrequent and fairly brief access from many computer terminals, a concurrent-user license would meet your needs for a fraction of what it would cost to license all of those terminals individually. On the other hand, if you have only a few terminals that need near-constant access to the program, it would likely be more cost effective to invest in per-computer licenses. In both scenarios, both licensing options could be applied to grant the required access, but selecting the appropriate license would save a pretty penny.

Please feel free to contact your account representative if you have questions about your specific application or contact me via e-mail at davids@pqsystems.com. We would be happy to discuss different licensing options with you.