Licensing Quick Guide 2015

09 June 2015
8 minute read
Software publishers Licensing Quick Guide 2015

09 June 2015
8 minute read

‘ licenses are nowhere near as complex as some vendors, but they still need active management to ensure compliancy.’

Compared to the likes of Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft and Adobe, licensing is reasonably simple to understand and manage. With that said, there are still opportunities for customers to utilise their licenses and make cost savings.

This guide aims to highlight the opportunities for cost saving and optimisation with your agreement, and give you an understanding of licensing. For those individuals responsible for managing software and services costs within their organisation, Internet or cloud based enterprise applications represent a new challenge! It is a case of using the principles and techniques that are applicable to on-premise perpetual licensing and adapting them for the cloud environment.

Please note that this document is intended as a guide only and not the ultimate source of truth. Please refer to the Master Subscription Agreement or your account manager for any clarification on your entitlement and appropriate usage.

Licensing Metrics provide users with a number of different license metrics to license software with. They are:

  • User based licenses
  • Permission set licenses
  • Feature set licenses
  • Usage based licenses 

Within each type of license metric there are a number of variations on the type of license users can have:

User based licenses statesa user license determines the baseline of features that the user can access. Every user must have exactly one user license. You assign user permissions for data access through a profile and optionally one or more permission sets”.


                     License type


Standard user license

There are a number of different standard user licenses for product. To view the standard user license types for all products please click here.

Chatter user license

Three Chatter licenses are available: Chatter External, Chatter Free, and Chatter Only (also known as Chatter Plus). In addition, all standard licenses allow free Chatter access for all the employees in your organisation.

Communities user license

There are three Communities licenses for external users: Customer Community, Customer Community Plus, and Partner Community. Best suited for business-to-consumer communities with large numbers of external users.

Service Cloud portal user license

Provides access to the service cloud portal.

Site and user license

Provides contacts unlimited logins to the Service Cloud Portal to access customer support information.

Authenticated website user license

Provides named sites users unlimited logins to your Platform Portal to access customer support information.


Permission set licenses states permission set licenses incrementally entitle users to access features that are not included in their user licenses. Users can be assigned any number of permission set licenses”.


License Type


Employee community user for

Ability to ‘view knowledge’ information and read/write access on cases
Files Connect for on-premises external data sources

            Ability to file Connect On Premise

Identity Connect

       Ability to use the Identity Connect feature

Orders Platform

     Ability to access a number of Order based features, including read/write access to said features.

Sales console

Ability to use the Sales console feature

Feature set licenses statesfeature license entitles a user to access an additional feature that is not included with his or her user license, such as Marketing or Users can be assigned any number of feature licenses”.

Usage based licenses states “usage-based entitlement is a limited resource that your organisation can use on a periodic basis—such as the allowed number of monthly logins to a Partner Community or the record limit for list users”. product library have a number of products available to customers, some with different editions. offer Group, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited software versions. They have broken down their products into different categories.


Sales Cloudsales force automation and CRM
Data.comB2B prospecting and data cleansing


Community Cloudconnecting customers, partners and employees

ChatterEnterprise social network


 Service Cloud Customisable support and help desk

Desk.comCustomer support for small businesses


Analytics CloudBusiness analytics on any data, any device


Marketing CloudDigital marketing platform

Pardot B2B marketing automation

Platform and apps

Salesforce.com1 PlatformCloud application development platform

AppExchangeBusiness app marketplace

Tracking usage

 Users can track usage by receiving monthly bulletins from that show the levels of activity and usage from the organisations users. However, at the time of writing (November 2014), the usage stats generated by are based around the on-going usage of products, and not about helping the organisation optimise their costs or licenses. The usage data that is provided by includes user logins and any new records that have been created during the month.

Getting the most out of your licenses

 Like all applications you need to manage licenses effectively to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. There are a number of ways in which you can do this with

Renewal negotiation charge based on what you have purchased, not what you are using, so an organisation could end up with all users using the same edition of software, which may not be required. The opportunity for cost optimisation lies in identifying the real usage of the application and negotiating your annual renewal (and subsequent additional users) based on real usage data.

For example if you are paying for 1,000 Enterprise users, but only 150 staff only ever use enterprise features, you can suggest to during your negotiation that you either need to downgrade all users to professional edition or that they should offer a discount for this mismatch of functionality. This tactic is best supported with facts – your usage data.

Repayments cycle

We mentioned the repayments cycle in our previous licensing quick guide, but it’s a key point and should be included in this version. If you have exhausted the search for users not using and need to buy an additional license – wait until the first of the month to start the subscription. Users added mid-month are billed for the full month – e.g. If you add a user on the 20th January your organisation will be billed for the whole of January.

Finally, it is worth noting that organizations need to give 30 days notice before their anniversary if they wish to decrease the number of users on their subscription.

Conclusion licenses are nowhere near as complex as some vendors, but they still need active management to ensure compliancy. Furthermore you need to monitor usage to ensure that licensed users are using the software correctly. You may be able to recycle an inactive license to another user, thus saving money and optimising licenses.

If you think we’ve missed anything out in this guide, then please get in touch!

This is an updated version to our previous guide.

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