Organisational licencing can provide lower costs per seat. Software Maintenance Agreements can make up-grades easier to administer
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The following information outlines the benefits of a centralised multi-user licensing options for
various assistive technology software products.
There are direct unit cost savings in Organisational Licences, which are indicated below, but it is just as important to recognise the invisible staff time savings, improved IT administration, and more
timely supply of AT software made possible by a centralised license compared to single user licences.
The functional benefits and cost saving arguments outlined below apply to all of the following
programs – JAWS screen reading software for blind users, MAGic screen magnifier for low vision
users, Zoomtext screen magnifier for low vision users, and WYNN Literacy software for struggling
readers including Dyslexia and ESL.
Direct Cost Savings
By incorporating AT software products into the standard PC image across the organisation,
significant cost savings can be achieved.
There is also the often neglected issue of maintaining and upgrading the software. It is not
compulsory to upgrade, but there comes a point when it is necessary, as older versions of JAWS
cannot work with some of the new versions of Windows, or new computers running 64 Bit
processors. To streamline the upgrade process there is a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA),
which is a rolling pre-purchase of 2 future upgrades, with a significant discount applied.
Functional Benefits of Centralised Licensing
With individual licences responsibility for maintenance rests with individuals and often materials and disks are lost over time.
There are two ways that a Centralised License can be implemented – Network, and Non-Network. It
is possible to compose a single Multi-User License that has a mix of both methods. There are slight
differences in the implementation between different programs, eg between JAWS, compared to say
WYNN, but the general idea is similar.
The Non-Network method
The licensed program, e.g. JAWS, is installed on as many PCs as needed (individual employees, the
Accessibility Team). The program will run in “demo mode” unless a License is also installed on the
PC. Licenses can be installed or removed back to the pool and re-deployed by a code system – an
administrator simply types License Codes into the PC. No disks are required, and this process can be done by Remote Access.
There are two advantages to the Non-Network method.
Firstly, “spare” activations are allowed, in case of PC failure, which means a license code can be
quickly re-installed on a fresh PC, without the need to obtain reset permission from the
Secondly, this system works well where laptops are involved that are not normally connected to the
network, where laptops are taken home, and in labs and other facilities that have PCs not connected
to the main network.
The Network Method
The licensed program is “burnt” into a network as a standard application, theoretically available to
all users, or just a group profile of users. A nominated PC anywhere on the network runs a License
Server Program, loaded with a count of Licenses, eg 20 for a 20 User District License. Any PC, that
can ping the License Server on the network can retrieve a license code on demand when JAWS is
run. As new people run JAWS, the License count goes down until the maximum number is reached
and the person is advised that JAWS will run in “demo mode” until someone exits JAWS and releases a license back to the License Server.
This process is totally automatic. It is highly efficient, as it works on concurrent users rather than on
Therefore, rather than purchasing as many JAWS licenses as there are JAWS users, you only
purchase as many licenses as can be used concurrently, which is certainly going to be a lower
number. This also allows for fluctuations in demand.
The Mixed Method
It is possible to implement a mixed license, where some of it is Networked Licensing, and some Non- Networked. It is important to get the balance right, as there will be cost implications if the license mix is adjusted. However, the Mixed method guarantees the greatest flexibility, and there is no cost difference between the different licenses.