By Pete Johnson
Many of the reporting capabilities in FlexNet Manager for Engineering Applications (“FlexNet Manager”) are there to help users understand their current and past usage of different concurrent license features that they own. However, there are advanced capabilities to allow users to understand their concurrent license usage trends. Understanding these trends can help you make informed decisions about future usage, and therefore help you make better engineering application purchase decisions.
Let’s first look at the trend analysis capabilities that FlexNet Manager offers. The main capabilities are integrated as part of the “Software Investment Planner” module of FlexNet Manager. Investment Planner allows users to enter contract data such as the number of licenses purchased and when the contract expires. It also enables the user to do feature to product mapping, so that license features used can be associated with the appropriate products in the contracts. With this data, you can produce a usage chart that shows the usage of a particular product over time, compared to the licenses available for that product.
Trend analysis allows you to see how the application usage may change in the future. Not to get too deep technically, but there are known mathematical formulas that can be used to analyze historical data and use that to forecast what the future usage is expected to be. For instance, if the past 9 months of data show a constant increase of usage of a particular product, trend analysis can analyze that data and project what the next few months of usage may be.
Refer to the following Trend Report from FlexNet Manager for Engineering Applications.
On this report, you can see that usage for “Product 101” is being shown in the bar chart, for all users in the organization. This shows total number of license checkouts for a period of 5 months (February 1 2013 -> June 30 2013). You can see that peak usage occurred around the middle of May, and that there was a period of no usage at the end of April. And while the most recent usage showed only about 40 license checkouts compared to the peak of almost 140, in general usage has increased over this time period.
Now note the yellow and red trend lines added to the chart. These trend lines are relatively simple, yet their projection is very interesting. The user requested a projection for just a month in the future, yet you can see that both trend lines support a license usage of between 135 and 145 by the first of August. Obviously, if the user requested to see the trend lines over a longer period of time, their trajectory shows that much more than 160 licenses might be needed.
The differences between the red and yellow trend lines are to allow the user to consider peak usage. The yellow trend line is the actual trend of the usage. However, if you used that line for your projections, you might under-purchase in the short term. Note that the yellow trend line never gets above the peak usage of almost 140. But the red trend line has been adjusted to make sure that the forecast starts out at or above the peak usage. Together they form a “band” of where the license usage might actually be, if you want to make sure that you minimize future license denials. (A denial occurs when all of the concurrent licenses are in use and the next user must wait for a license to become available).
Of course, when this data is analyzed, other factors must be considered. Was there a project that ramped up during this timeframe that will be ramping down in the future? Or is the trend increasing because users are moving from an old tool to this new one? What seasonal or geographic adjustments should be made to the data?
FlexNet Manager gives you tools to help you with this analysis. Based on this report, you could do one of several things as a next step:
- Increase the “Trend End Date” to see usage until the end of the year
- Increase the usage range to see actual usage over a longer period of time
- Narrow down the users to look for trends by project or geography
When armed with this data, you will be able to make more informed purchase decisions in the future.
To learn more about concurrent license management and optimization, view our on-demand Webinar: Creating a Mature SAM Process for Concurrent License Management.