CAD Software Licensing and How to Effectively Manage It

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software is used by artists, architects, engineers, researchers, and medical practitioners such as surgeons to develop technical illustrations and drawings as two-dimensional or three-dimensional models and prototypes.

Like all applications, CAD software is bound by rules and usage specifications in the software license. To protect against piracy and abuse of software entitlements, many licensing methods have been introduced by CAD software vendors. These licensing methods place restrictions and limits on how the organization can use the purchased software package, and are broadly categorized into Perpetual and Subscription-based.

Perpetual Licenses

This type of licensing model is considered as the traditional way of licensing or purchasing CAD software. The software is paid up front or with available payment options and the organization has all the rights to utilize the software based on the license agreement.

In this type of licensing, maintenance and support are often not included. Additional charges for these services, including software upgrades or updates, are paid separately. The buyer has the prerogative of purchasing these additional services, including rights to upgrade to a newer version.

However, even with additional services, perpetual licensing has not been able to cope with the fast-paced software updates. Because of this, as well as the push coming from major software vendors, perpetual licensing has now been taken over by subscription-based licensing.

Subscription-based Licensing

CAD software is expensive. Vendors of CAD software must find ways of selling new products and releasing new versions. In order to solve this dilemma, subscription-based licensing was developed.

The concept of subscription-based licensing model is to pay a per-user fee, either monthly or annually, which gives the rights to the organization to use and enjoy the benefits of the software during the subscription term. In other words, rather than owning the software in perpetuity, it is leased for a specified period. The subscription includes various benefits, including the software license, support and maintenance services and updates to newer version of the software. Commonly, subscription-based CAD software licensing is cloud-based.

Licensing Option is how users access the software licenses. The two most common licensing options for CAD software, both of which have their own advantages that can be useful for organizations, are Network Licensing and Standalone Licensing.

Network Licensing

Network licenses are controlled by a centralized license server that handles license usage requests from the network. This method allows the organization to install the software in several workstations but can only be used once a license is granted from the license server.

The efficiency and optimization of the license usage are covered by proper management and maintenance of the license servers, which have various features and functionalities in order to achieve optimal license usage.

Standalone Licensing

This type of licensing option is sometimes called the single-user access. A Standalone License authorizes a single user to install and utilize a CAD software on up to three devices. The provided license can only be used by the assigned user and cannot be shared with others.

Considering these different licensing models for CAD software, maintenance and management of software licenses can become tedious and unwieldy. Sometimes, managers may overlook important factors that should be taken into account when purchasing software licenses. These gaps can be addressed with the collected usage data from a powerful reporting and analysis tool like Open iT® LicenseAnalyzer.

Open iT LicenseAnalyzer offers multiple levels of solution that can fit the specific requirements of any organization in managing and controlling the usage of CAD software licenses. Not only can it provide an enterprise-wide overview of license usage, it can also generate a multitude of significant historical and real-time reports that can help in optimizing license usage across the enterprise and automatically harvest licenses that are not being actively used.

Learn more about how to effectively manage the usage of CAD software licenses. Let us guide you through your software asset management and optimization journey.


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