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Dear MicroStation Maxine: What Are My Bentley Software Licensing Options?

13 Feb, 2018 By: Cadalyst Staff

Bentley Systems continues to offer perpetual licenses as well as term licenses and a variety of subscription programs that you can mix and match according to what’s best for your business.

Dear MicroStation Maxine:

I am a CAD administrator overseeing nearly 50 seats of primarily Autodesk software. Autodesk's recent licensing changes are requiring that we consider moving to subscription, which doesn't make good business sense for our company, or paying tens of thousands of dollars extra to keep our perpetual licenses on maintenance, which is nearly out of reach financially. As a result, we are looking at whether we should move to a software provider that offers more flexibility, and several of my peers have pointed me to Bentley Systems.

Maxine, what can you tell me about Bentley's software licensing options and pricing?

—Researching Options

Dear Researching:

Flexibility should be Bentley Systems' middle name! What sets Bentley apart from many other software developers is its long-time dedication to delivering options that meet its customers' business needs, not its own. Bentley respects that your design software is fundamental to your success; that your business is unique in terms of how it procures and uses software, and that your software needs change over time. All that adds up to one thing: Businesses need lots of options. And Bentley delivers.

Bentley has always been a few steps ahead of the software market when it comes to licensing models. Not only does Bentley offer perpetual licensing as well as numerous subscription options that you can mix and match to fit your needs, but the company makes it very easy to change the quantity of licenses and even the mix of Bentley software you use. Some infrastructure design organizations have nonstop changes to their project loads — whether it's because of changing project types, an unpredictable economic environment, or any other reason — and software needs fluctuate accordingly. Working with Bentley means you're always prepared to take on changing landscapes and win new business.

Let's dive into those options!

Bentley Licensing

Many companies see their software as an investment, and Bentley shares that view. With Bentley, your organization can purchase perpetual licenses to support predictable, on-going work. For workload spikes, you can add term licenses. Or, you may prefer to rely solely on term licenses. It's entirely up to you! No matter which license type you choose, you'll have access to all the same subscription options for added benefits.

Most products in the Bentley stable are available via perpetual and term licensing, and most (via Bentley SELECT subscription) are eligible for license pooling (which allows software use within a country without restriction to named users or devices) and portfolio balancing (which lets you exchange current titles for something new once per year). Certain products also are available for home use and/or by free trial, and several products are completely free. Finally, some products are Passport and Visa enabled, which adds functionality for named users. Specifics for each product are spelled out in Bentley SELECT Licensing Program Eligibility.

Bentley Pullquote A perpetual license is a one-time purchase of software that you can use in perpetuity on a single computer at no required additional cost. With Bentley, you have a choice — you will not lose the option to purchase perpetual licenses! And Bentley will not treat your perpetual licenses like second-class citizens. As they see fit, perpetual license holders can add annual SELECT coverage for additional benefits.

A quarterly term license delivers software on a three-month term for a fraction of the perpetual license price. It's not paid for in advance, but in arrears based on actual usage. You use exactly what you need and pay only for what you use. Term licenses automatically include SELECT coverage.

Bentley Subscriptions

Bentley subscriptions add a layer of benefits on top of your software license. Think of subscriptions as protection plans for your software investment!

Watch the video to learn about Bentley term license options.

Bentley SELECT CONNECT subscription is included with term licenses and is available as an option for perpetual licenses (billed annually). Akin to the "maintenance" agreement familiar to Autodesk customers but with more benefits, SELECT helps you keep pace with changing needs through included software updates, portfolio balancing, license pooling, access to network licensing, 24/7/365 technical support, access to the Bentley Communities forum and the full online repository of support resources, and Bentley's new CONNECTservices for project collaboration, adaptive learning (including thousands of online courses and access to web-based classrooms), and personal mobility. See the SELECT Subscriptions Benefits Fact Sheet (PDF) for full details.

Enterprise License Subscription (ELS) is designed for large, multi-office organizations that have fairly stable or growing demands for software and need to nimbly respond to changing software needs while managing expenses. It offers all the benefits of SELECT plus continual, unlimited access to Bentley's comprehensive software portfolio and enterprise-wide license pooling that helps distributed teams balance software supply and demand across offices and geographies. Billed according to a set annual fee based on the previous year's software use, ELS can reduce licensing costs, administration, and the constant worry about whether you're equipped to meet workload demands.

Cloud Services Subscription, like ELS, provides access the entire Bentley software portfolio, bills only for what you use, and is designed to help manage expenses and software administration. But Cloud Services users maintain a subscription balance (set according to anticipated software use), and actual use is measured monthly and charged quarterly against the balance. Any unused balance carries forward and never expires. Every Cloud Services subscriber also gets access to ProjectWise CONNECT Edition.

License and Subscription Costs

A quick visit to the Bentley Store will give you an idea of list pricing of software perpetual licenses. If you're an Autodesk customer, you'll find that most Bentley Systems software is priced within approximately 25% of the equivalent Autodesk product when it was offered via perpetual license.

Many people think MicroStation is priced much higher than AutoCAD. The truth is, prices are not terribly different when you consider that MicroStation is more robust technology — and that Bentley continually invests in its development, such as the latest addition of cloud-based services.

Through a special offer from Bentley, Autodesk users can receive full credit for the current value of Autodesk perpetual licenses toward the purchase of Bentley perpetual licenses, therefore salvaging some of the software investment you would lose if you moved to subscription with Autodesk.

If you're adding Bentley SELECT subscription to a perpetual license, you can expect the annual subscription fee to be approximately 20% of the software purchase price. Quarterly term licensing is priced at 14% of the software list price per quarter, and a Cloud Services Subscription is 10% less for quarterly term licenses per quarter. Keep in mind for comparison purposes that Autodesk customers who aim to keep perpetual licenses rather than move to subscription will find maintenance renewal prices increasing by 10% in 2018 and by another 20% in 2019.

I especially appreciate that customers deal directly with Bentley for software licensing and subscription transactions. Although some might have a channel partner who assists with the process, Bentley carries out all transactions directly with administrators.

All these generalities can vary from country to country, of course.

Bentley channel partners as well as Bentley sales representatives can provide pricing specifics for all licensing and subscription options. Tell them Maxine sent you!

Next Time

In the previous installment of "MicroStation Maxine," I showed readers how to determine which Bentley software you'd need, and now I hope you also have a good understanding of Bentley licensing options. Next time, I'll talk about what it's like to transition to Bentley software — in particular, which services and resources are available to ease that move for IT and CAD management and get users up to speed. In the meantime, do you have a question for me about transitioning to Bentley Systems software? Click here to submit!



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