Maximising the Value of University Software Expenditure: Software Licensing Evolution

December 8, 2016

As an IT Manager, interpreting complex software licensing terminology can feel like learning a new language. Add to this the budgetary pressure to strike the right deal from the myriad of options out there, and it’s no wonder that relationships between universities and technology vendors are ever-challenging.

Before I have you reaching for the caffeine, consider this; how would software licensing look if it scrapped the institution-wide, crystal ball gazing approach, and was instead, based upon the individual lecturers using the technology? Licensing has made its way from the corporate world into Higher Education and our universities are reporting that it more accurately reflects the actual usage of technology (and for a more attractive cost!)

Our take on this software revolution; the Instructor Model, enables IT managers to buy an ‘Instructor’ a license (instructor being a lecturer or teacher), who will then get ‘seats’ allocated to them under that license. For example, an instructor will have his/her own license to use our software, and then have (for example) 300 seats within that license for their students to use.

Student response technology is designed to be used flexibly and spontaneously and should be in the ‘back pocket’ of every lecturer to use as they see fit. Assigning them their own ‘set of licences’ facilitates this and puts more of an onus on them to use the technology and demonstrate the value you’ve financed for them. This more strategic approach to software licensing creates far greater efficiencies and uptake of technology as needs have been pre-identified before a spend is made.

As part of its customer relationships, a good vendor should be working with you to do licence tracking; analysing when/where/why your technologies are being used and where efficiencies can be made. However, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds, particularly when tied into annual contracts and prices based on minimum users. This is where new software licensing models truly come to the fore.

At Turning Technologies, we firmly believe that early adoption of innovative licensing approaches can be an attractive differentiator in the educational technology marketplace. Ultimately, if your vendor is late to adopt these innovations, they will lag the competition and you’re unlikely to get the best deal.