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Licensing: Doc e Scan Part II

Andrew Daniel

Andrew Daniel
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In Part I of this article, we talked about the different types of licenses for Doc e Scan. As a quick refresher, there are three:

  1. Microsoft Terminal Service Client Access Licenses (CALs)
  2. Softdocs Thin Scan Licenses
  3. Softdocs Doc e Scan & Web View Concurrent User Licenses

Today we’re going to talk about determining how many of these licenses you need. All three of these licenses operate in what’s called a concurrent manner—meaning that a license is only in use when it’s really “in-use.” Translation: When a user logs into the application, a license is used. When they log out, that license is placed back in the license pool for another user.

The advantage of this licensing model is that unlike in the days of old, when you had to buy a license for every user and it could only be used by that user, you can now buy based on what you plan for in terms of peak usage.

So, what is “peak usage.” According to the Glossary of Software License and IT Asset Management Terms, peak usage is defined as “the highest level of concurrent access or device or user interoperation with a software or hardware product, asset or configuration item, at a point in time.”

In shorter words, it means the point in time where the most users are going to be in the system.

For many of our customers, the total number of users and peak differ significantly. In other cases, the number is right on.

A few examples …

We have a large higher education institution (~18,000 students) with 394 registered users in Doc e Scan. These users cross the boundaries of student services staff, finance staff, procurement staff, personnel staff, IT staff … the list goes on. All in all, it’s a lot of people! Here’s where it gets crazy—they only have 50 concurrent user licenses, and have not ever had a “license unavailable” error when a user attempts to login.

But then we have other higher education institutions where there are 50-60 users in the system and 50 concurrent user licenses—and most of the licenses stay fully utilized.

So it would appear these two statements might leave you more confused than when you came, and this is justifiably so. But here’s the kicker—the reason for this difference is all in the type of user in the system. In our larger example, many of those 394 were faculty advisors, support staff and other individuals that might login just 3 days a year. So for the other 362 (or 363) days, their username sits idle. And, since the licensing is concurrent, you don’t have to worry about carrying the cost of their license for those 362 days they aren’t using it!

In our smaller example, the college actually isn’t much smaller than in our larger example. There are about 15,000 students, and employee count isn’t very different. The difference is that in this example, the implementation is only within student service departments (versus throughout the enterprise). Adding to this, the users are all what we would deem as “power users”—meaning they use Doc e Scan all day, every day for just about every task they perform.

In short, they get into work, start Outlook, start Colleague (or Banner or Jenzabar or CAMS) and then they start up Doc e Scan!

So, now that I’ve provided a couple of examples, how should you use this information to determine how many users you need?

  1. Take a headcount—and a job role count. How many employees will need access, and what are their job functions?
  2. How will these users be using the product? Will they just be searching for and viewing documents, or will they be scanning and entering data? Will they be using the product all day—or just for a few minutes every now and then.

Once you’ve  got this figured out, you can move onto the next step—the math! While I’m starting to run out of room in this blog entry, I’ll quickly go over this.

Again, three license types:

  1. Microsoft Terminal Service Client Access Licenses (CALs)We typically suggest one CAL for each concurrent user license of Doc e Scan, so this number is totally dependent upon #3 (see below).
  2. Softdocs Thin Scan LicensesEach time a user logs into the Doc e Scan client with a scanner attached (and turned on) to their computer, a Thin Scan license is used. This enables that scanner to communicate with Doc e Scan. An important note is this is regardless of whether the user actually has rights to scan. It’s simply hardware-level communication. Of course, if the user doesn’t have permission to scan, they won’t be able to scan. But, the scanner and the server can have a nice background conversation!
  3. Softdocs Doc e Scan & Web View Concurrent User LicensesUnlike our competitors, we only have a single concurrent user license type (and that single type is usually far less expensive up-front and over the maintenance term than our competitors as well). This keeps things simple, but does require a little thinking.Whenever a user logs into the client, a concurrent user license and a Terminal Services CAL (license type #1) is used. If a scanner is attached, a Thin Scan license (#2) is used as well. When they log out, all three licenses are freed up.

    Building on this, whenever a user logs into Web View, our browser-based document viewer, a concurrent user license is also used. However, since this solution is browser based, and doesn’t allow scanning, a Terminal Services CAL and Thin Scan license are not used.

    BUT, if the user is using the desktop client—and also the Web View viewer—they will use two concurrent user licenses. Why? Because they are making two separate connections to the Doc e Scan database.

    So when would this situation happen? The best example is for a power-user that’s constantly scanning and also looking for documents through Auto Launch, our integration point with ERP solutions (such as Ellucian’s Colleague & Banner, Three Rivers’ CAMS solution or ERP solutions from Jenzabar). In these cases, when a user clicks the “find documents” button, the search results are presented in a browser window within the Web View application—versus the desktop client used for scanning.

    There are a lot of technical reasons why this is the case, but, in short, it amounts to security and creating a clean, smooth flowing user experience.

So, as you can see, it all breaks down to user type and how they will use the system. Still have questions? Contact us and we’ll connect you with one of our technical consultants so they can perform an in-depth analysis and ensure you’re getting exactly what you need!