In a new blog post , Randy Littleson, a Senior VP at Flexera (Accresso Software until renamed a few weeks ago) refers to survey findings around the growth of usage-based licensing. There are some interesting figures in here, such as the very low percentage of organizations that have robust application usage measurement tools in place. Usage measurement has long been a strong point in our ITAM solution family, and customers gain great benefit from the information they gain about their use of the software they own (or at least, the software they have installed!). The irony is that we have found it very difficult to identify a usage-based licensing model for this one of our own ITAM functions. Inventory scans and Software Distributions can be recorded and totalled for monthly billing, but software usage monitoring is by its nature a 100%, permanently-on, function. An installed application cannot be reliably categorized as ‘unused’, or its usage assessed for user-department charge-back, unless it has been permanently monitored for the period in question. Just looking at the last recorded data of access to the key executable of an application is no longer reliable. Recent iterations of Windows have disabled that. Charging per use of the Reporting Portal can be considered, but we very much want to encourage maximum use of the data which has been collected, and charging every time a report is run feels counter to the customer’s interest.
If you are already using software usage monitoring, we’d be very pleased to add you to a circle of friends we can consult with on the future of licensing for this capability.