Software License Usage, Portfolio Balancing, and Metrics: Bentley Systems Goes by the Numbers for Clients
Let's say you've bought several software products from your geospatial software provider and you find yourself using two or three more than any other. In fact, one product you thought you were going to use just sits on the shelf. If this scenario fits you or your company, you're stuck, right? It's money down the drain; a sunk cost.
Well, Bentley Systems has come up with a solution that makes perfect sense for clients in this situation. On an annual basis, Bentley allows its clients to "rebalance their portfolio" of software licenses so users are maximizing their software investment. Not using Bentley Map? Trade it in for another product. There are certain restrictions, of course, but the concept is brilliant.
Bentley Chief Marketing Officer Ed Mueller says that the company worked with market research firm IDC to explore this option for users which began in March 2011. In an interview with Mueller and Executive Vice President Bhupinder Singh, Singh said the company changed their accounting practices in order to facilitate the program.
As sometimes happens, a changing business climate, a project comes to conclusion or you lose the employee running that piece of software, companies often find themselves with unused or unneeded software. From a software industry perspective a solution to this problem is long overdue and Bentley has seized the upper hand in addressing the problem. And while it was an accounting headache for Bentley, and according to Singh caused Bentley to alter is generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) reporting practices, the opportunity to swap software titles provides flexibility not offered by any other software company. IDC has told Bentley they are still the only company offering this option, according to Mueller.
Bentley's attention to cost control for its clients extends to providing users with additional information about software usage. A client can readily determine utilization time for individual software products. In a survey conducted by Bentley, average overall spending per application utilization hour from the top design firms listed by the Engineering News Record (ENR) is less than $1.00. In addition, of ENR's top design firms that are Bentley enterprise license subscribers (ELS) each spends 12% less, on average, per application utilization hour.
Given information about both software utilization per software title and the option to then take advantage of software portfolio rebalancing, Bentley's clients can more readily justify both software investment or divestment. This partnership between solution provider and client is due to, according to Singh, "a direct relationship with the customer." Bentley does not work with a channel and Singh believes this offers a unique competitive advantage.
Editor's note: The interview with Ed Mueller and Bhupinder Singh was obtained during Bentley's Be Inspired Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Disclosure: Bentley Systems supported travel to the Be Inspired Conference