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Is There Money Hiding In Your Floating Licenses?

Allocating Floating Licenses Across Time Zones – Best Practices

Smart license management practices are the key to effective use of floating licenses and reducing their overall cost. If your company has many users across international time zones, you can realize a significant cost savings if you know how many licenses are in active use at any given time. License Statistics is your key to unlocking those savings.

Identify Users by Time Zone

The first step in better allocating floating licenses across time zones is to identify the groups of users in each time zone. In License Statistics, you can use the Usage History view to determine exactly when users are actively using the software. For users in different time zones, you will see their usage rise as their work day begins, or see it drop as they finish their work days.

You will also want to check current usage above 24 hours to see where users have left software running without logging out. Assess those users separately, and create a strategy to mitigate those temporarily “lost” floating licenses. Having an accurate picture of floating license usage is the first step in reducing floating license costs.

Determine Actual Floating License Usage

Once you’ve sorted users or license servers by time zone, you have a clear picture of which users are using licenses and when they are using them. License Statistics provides many views into the data you can use to help develop a complete picture of usage. For example, the License Server Usage History enables you to sort server usage history to quickly identify maximum (and minimum) usage. The Usage by User Report is also invaluable in identifying peak users and usage.

License Server Usage History

Usage by User Report

You will immediately see usage patterns emerge from the data, and across time zones you will be able to identify times during which usage for users in one time zone drops off as users in another time zone are logging on. They are non-concurrent users; you can therefore see the opportunity to decrease the total number of floating licenses needed – you do not need licenses for users who are no longer at work!

Calculate the Number of Floating Licenses Needed at Any Given Time

Since all global users are not accessing floating licenses at the same time, you can now make a better estimate of the total number of licenses needed based on actual usage across international time zones. Thus, When users are leaving for the day in Mumbai, their counterparts in the US are just coming into work. You therefore need enough floating licenses to support one group of users, not both.

A typical starting point for determining the actual number of floating licenses needed is to begin at the 50% mark. Evaluate usage over a work week using the Usage History reports to determine how many (if any) denials are occurring, then make an appropriate adjustment. Over the course of three weeks you will have determined a solid, workable number you can use – with data backup – to justify the purchase of the exact number of floating licenses needed. 

Conclusion

By making a small change and then measuring results with License Statistics, you will be able to zero in on a cost-effective floating license strategy. Reevaluate floating license usage regularly with License Statistics – you will be amazed when you discover the savings hidden in your software licenses.

In a coming article we will show you how to use the License Statistics API to create your own reports and actually import data into your favorite BI dashboard.

A Closer Look at the License Details Page in License Statistics v6.0

We not only completely redesigned the interface for License Statistics v6.0, we provided a quick and simple way to see the status of your License Statistics licenses. The new License Details page gives you an immediate picture of exactly what is happening with your users and license servers.

To open the License Detail page, first click the Administrative menu on the left. Scroll down and select License Details to open the License Details page.

Information at a Glance

The License Details page gives you an immediate overview of license servers status, including the number of current users and number of license servers used in an easy-to-read graphic format. You can also quickly check on license and maintenance expiration dates.

The gauges tell you exactly what’s happening at a glance. In the screenshot below, you can instantly see that the number of license servers has been exceeded, and that the number of users is approaching its maximum.

A new Hosts gauge has also been added for License Statistics v6.1, making it easy to see when the number of hosts is approaching maximum.

In previous version of Licenses Statistics, it was difficult to get a clear overview of your licenses, and when your licenses ran out you had to dig through logs to determine what was happening. That’s all in the past with the new License Details page – it now goes into a read-only mode if a license reaches its limits so you can instantly see what’s happening.

Most important, you now know ahead of time when license usage is approaching the limit in one easy-to-read report. Check out the new License Details page today and let us know what you think.

3 Tips for Getting More Word-of-Mouth for Your Business

What’s the most effective form of advertising? The kind you cannot buy – word-of-mouth from your best customers. About 90% of people believe brand recommendations from friends and colleagues, and that’s a number you cannot ignore.

The good news is that you can encourage people to talk about your products and services through a few consistent and intentional practices. Read our tips below and let us know what’s working for you to get good word of mouth for your business.

“Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”

The comedian Steve Martin shared that advice in his autobiography. It sounds obvious, but the bottom line for getting good reviews from your customers is that the experience they have with your product must be excellent. That means your product must deliver excellent value. Fail to deliver, and people will talk; deliver the best, and people will talk about that, too. 

Ways to ensure your software product is really good:

Storyboard new user interface features and share the storyboards with your best customers. Getting them involved in the design process helps ensure you give them something worth talking about.

We always believe half of the product is the product itself, and the second half is all the people behind it. That’s why our goal at X-Formation is to respond to user requests within 24 hours, and ideally much sooner, so we can make sure they get what they want. Speaking of which…

Give your customers what they want. Maintain an active database of customer enhancement requests, track them, and let people know when their requests are implemented. Get customers involved in the design process.

Talk to your best customers – and your worst. Building relationships with your top customers pays off in many ways. Talk to your top users and listen for ways in which you can help them be more successful in their businesses. Talk to your dissatisfied customers, too. They will help you spot the issues you need to fix. By enlisting them in the process, you may well turn the most difficult customer into one of your best.

At X-Formation we work hard to get feedback, and no feedback is more important than what we get from unhappy customers. They show us where we’ve tripped up and help us ensure we get it right the next time.

Deliver Top-Notch Customer Service

To deliver the best customer service is to plan for it. And it begins with your employees. To quote Sir Richard Branson, CEO of VIrgin Airlines, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Model the behavior you expect from your staff and show them what real customer service looks like.

Ways to ensure your customer service is top-notch:

Create exceptional value. Focus your customer service team on creating exceptional value in every customer interaction. Quick, detailed responses go a long way to making a customer feel like your company really cares about their problems.

Customers respect knowledgeable, timely answers. We make it a practice to answer all X-Formation customer emails with an internal 6-hour deadline (though we tell our customers 24 hours to ensure completeness). We always want to deliver more than our customers expect, and they appreciate our prompt, straightforward answers.

Have a process that tracks customer feedback – both positive and negative – and develop a strategy for responding to both. Create a library of resolution tactics you’ve used in the past to help customer service representatives have resources they can use to soothe a dissatisfied customer.

We give every customer an option to share their feedback on every interaction with the X-Formation team by sharing a survey link at the end of every email. They tell us how we did, and we share the positive ones with the team to let them know a good job has been done. We take negative responses even more seriously, and use them to improve our processes to eliminate future mistakes. This is a big part of being a learning organization.

Deliver everything you promise. Many companies have fallen out of favor simply because they failed to deliver on their promises. Honesty is paramount when working with customers. Keeping them informed about what can and cannot be done sets appropriate expectations and prevents disappointing results.

Bugs happen! When we discover a bug, we inform our customers of what’s happened and let them know as soon as a fix is available. Hiding problems is not good customer service! The X-Formation approach is to resolve bugs quickly, and to never sacrifice quality just to ship something out the door.

Above all, be human. The more you focus on building good business relationships, the happier your customers – and your business – will be.

Ask for It

The best way to get good word-of-mouth for your products is to ask for it. Make asking customers for feedback a core component of your customer service process. When you get really good feedback, post that on your website and any social media sites your organization uses (such as LinkedIn). Treat every customer interaction as an opportunity to build more good will.

Ways to get more customer feedback:

Survey select customers periodically to rate your customer service. Always include the opportunity to rate every customer service interaction.

Two things you can do right now to make it easy for customers to send feedback. There’s always a link in our X-Formation emails and our website footers to give our customers that ability. And because customer feedback is crucial to making progress, we also have our “Feedback for the CEO” page to give our customers every opportunity to give us feedback.

Conduct quarterly roundtables by invitation with select customers on key accounts. What’s working for them – and what isn’t? Use the information you gather to create blog posts, newsletters, and informational webinars.

We don’t wait for our customers to contact us at X-Formation – we frequently ask our biggest customers for their evaluation on our progress. Without them we are nothing, so it’s important to us that we ensure their happiness. Nothing beats a “Thank you – it works” comment. 

Interview customers and create case studies that highlight the successes they are having with your product. Let them tell you how they’re getting the most out of it. You can do case studies in an informal podcast or webinar format, or create a case study article you can use for newsletters, blogs, and marketing handouts.

Here at X-Formation we use blogs and customer meetings to ensure all feature requests get evaluated and taken seriously for future improvements. We’re big believers in customer-driven development. By letting our customers tell us what they really need, we can keep a clear focus on creating the right features.

Customer word-of-mouth is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have at your disposal. Create good relationships, deliver exceptional value, and communicate with your customers and clients as part of a planned process built into your customer service organization.