CAD Manager's Newsletter (#376)17 Jan, 2017 By: Robert Green
The move from perpetual to rental licensing is well under way — evaluate your needs and strategies now so you don't get swamped.
It's a new year, and that means making resolutions so we can all become better CAD managers than we were last year — right? Ordinarily, I'd say "Yes," but this year there's something more urgent at hand: the software licensing tsunami that's bearing down on all of us. This change could affect CAD so profoundly that all CAD managers should make reviewing their software environment a top priority.
In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll start the discussion of how imminent changes in the CAD software world might impact us, and suggest some coping strategies. Here goes.
Every tsunami needs a seismic event to set it in motion, and for CAD managers in 2017 that event is a tremendous shift in the way many of us obtain and license software. Some CAD software vendors have been moving toward a cloud-based/rental licensing model for years, but the trend has reached a tipping point as industry leader Autodesk has joined in. Autodesk, which already ceased selling new perpetual licenses, is now aggressively moving to eliminate perpetual software by offering special incentives and changing software package configurations. Autodesk's move portends great change for the industry at large, given the commanding market share the company's flagship software tools, AutoCAD and Revit, enjoy in 2D and 3D CAD and building information modeling (BIM) market spaces.
What does this big push to rental software mean for CAD managers? For starters, be on the lookout for the following:
Costs will go up. If you don't own your software, you can't just keep running it forever after an initial purchase; you'll have make rental payments year after year. As an analogy, it's like renting a house with no option for purchase. While rental makes sense for those who don't want to own a house or can't afford the upfront costs, over time the rental option costs more than ownership for many. Software works the same way. And just like your landlord will throw you out if you stop paying the rent, your CAD licenses will stop working if you don't renew your rental agreement.
Complexity will increase. If you must keep up with rental agreements for various software packages — and deal with the different licensing anniversary dates and terms — bookkeeping becomes more of a hassle. Factor in the increasingly likely scenario that you'll need a unique license for each user (the "named user" mode of software licensing), and now you've got a real administrative mess on your hands.
Upgrades may become problematic. If software companies choose not to offer upgrades for perpetual software, and new software packages are only made available via rental, even companies that currently own perpetual licenses will be forced to go the rental route eventually. Only you can decide if that will be a problem for your company. Read more »
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