CAD Manager's Newsletter (#442)

24 Mar, 2020 By: Robert Green

Autodesk Delays Implementation of Named-User Licensing Approach

The move from perpetual or floating network licenses to named-user licenses has been pushed out to August 2020, but it is definitely still happening — so CAD managers need to prepare now.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we explored Autodesk's announcement that it would retire network licensing by May 2021, in favor of a 100% named-user subscription licensing approach that would begin in May 2020. Right after publication, I was contacted by Autodesk's PR team. Autodesk asked me to share some additional information that may help clear up some of your questions, and to inform my readers that in response to the business turmoil created by COVID-19, the date for implementation of the plan has been moved to August 2020 (and the retirement date moved to August 2021).

This forthcoming change in licensing policy is somewhat intricate, and has generated a lot of questions from readers, so in this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter I'll provide some clarification on the changes that will have the most impact CAD managers. Here goes.

The Basics

If you've not had a chance to look at the announcement video Autodesk released on February 24, 2020, I suggest you take a moment to do so (remembering that the May dates included therein are now pushed back to August). It contains some of the details of this announcement that were clarified in my conversation with Carl White, vice president of business models and pricing at Autodesk (which we'll delve into shortly).

Many questions about these policies can be answered by visiting the FAQ entry in the Autodesk Knowledge Network, which was published right after the announcement. I'll not reprint all the FAQ responses here, but I do want to highlight a few of the new policies as they pertain to CAD managers with network licenses:

•  Transition to named-user licensing. Autodesk is transitioning to a named-user licensing scheme, where each individual user must maintain an account (like individual Autodesk subscriptions work now) rather than using a network license manager to share licenses among multiple users.
•  Existing network licenses may be renewed at the same price until August 2020, while new network licenses may be obtained at the 33% price increase that was announced in February 2020. This has the effect of allowing you to increase your network license pool now and postpone the trade-in date for a year (see Trade-ins further down in this list).
•  Existing maintenance plans for remaining perpetual licenses will go up 20% in August 2020, and will not be renewable other than via the trade-in offer (see Trade-ins below).
•  Trade-ins begin in August 2020. After August 2020, at your next renewal date, any network licenses may be traded for two named-user subscriptions. If this trade-in is not completed prior to the cutoff date of August 2021, then network licenses will either run in legacy mode with no ability to access the latest version or can be converted to single-user subscriptions.
•  No more network licenses or perpetual maintenance after August 2021. As of August 2021, the FlexLM license manager (which resides on a company server, behind its firewall) will no longer be supported, as license tracking will be moved to Autodesk servers and perpetual maintenance renewal will no longer be available.

There are some cases — such as existing multiyear subscriptions that run past August 2021 — that fall into grey areas of the policy, and those cases should be resolved with your reseller. But the inescapable conclusion is that by August 2021, you must either convert fully to named-user licensing or lose your right to renew network or maintenance programs.

I asked Mr. White, "Why make the change to named-user licensing now?" and he replied, "By helping customers move to subscription over the last several years, we have been able to know and serve customers as individuals, and deliver the value they increasingly expect. Today, approximately 80% of Autodesk customers are accessing our software on a named-user plan. This effort is to help the remaining 20% so they can start benefiting from this improved experience."

Questions I've Received

As you can imagine, this change in policy has raised questions among CAD managers. Here are the ones I have received most often from my readers:

•  What does "named user" really mean?
•  How are named users tracked?
•  " What is the "Premium Subscription" mentioned in the announcement video?

Understanding these terms is crucial, as they will all impact the decisions you make as you plan for your company's actions between now and August 2021. Let's tackle these issues and list some diagnostic questions that CAD managers should ask themselves to prepare for upcoming budgets. Read more »

Tools and Resources

NVIDIA Offers Free GTC Digital Conference Sessions
In place of this year's in-person GPU Technology Conference (GTC), NVIDIA is offering GTC Digital, comprising online access to the training, research, insights, and keynotes of GTC. Live webinars, trainings, and Connect with the Experts sessions began on March 24; new on-demand content will be announced every Thursday starting March 26. Other talks, panels, research posters, and demos are available at any time. Registration is free.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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