Autodesk Flex: Is it the right solution for you?


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The transition from network-license to named-license model may benefit Autodesk, but it negatively impacts occasional users, as it pushes them to choose a single-user CAD or BIM software license for engineers. Available since September 24, 2021, Autodesk Flex offers an alternative, but it comes at a price.

Autodesk Flex pricing

Flex is designed for occasional users who access Autodesk software only one or two days a week. Autodesk says it is a pay-as-you go solution, but this needs careful planning, because without a clear understanding of actual usage of the software you may end up paying much more for your licenses. Just like its Token-Flex solution, Autodesk Flex charges a certain number of tokens, which varies according to the software the assigned engineer has pulled. AutoCAD, for example, costs seven tokens (at a price of $3 per token) for 24 hours. Revit costs 10 tokens ($30) per day.

To get started, account administrators need to estimate the number of tokens they need to buy based different data points:

  • the products you’d like the team/users to access occasionally (currently, there are roughly 30+ products available via Flex);
  • the number of users accessing the software;
  • the frequency of use (days per month);
  • an estimate based on the actual usage data you have.

The base is 500 tokens for $1500, and the price of the token falls as you choose a higher-value package. The token pool expires after one year without any refund from Autodesk. So, if it is not used, money is lost.

The benefits of Flex

With a proper monitoring system set up, this flexible licensing model leaves room for organizations to optimize their software assets and save money on licenses. To get started, SAM managers need to know how often users access software and the session duration. For power users (using AutoCAD for five days a week), it is more cost effective to select a one- or three-year, named license instead of Flex.

1) Give access to software the team needs

Autodesk’s flexible licensing solution fits well with end users accessing software for one or two days a week. Not all Autodesk products are available through Flex, but you can give access to those which are. However, you’ll need to instruct the end users to close the software if they are not using it; otherwise, you will end up using tokens for idle time.

2) Combine subscriptions with occasional use of software

Sometimes power users need access to other Autodesk software than what they have on their workstation. With Flex you can give them licenses to other applications as well.

3) Cost effective – only for occasional use

Shelling out $1500 for 500 tokens per year for occasional AutoCAD use is cheaper than paying $1,775 for a yearly subscription. However, this option is cost effective only when the software usage is less than or equal to one-third of the total workdays (without the holidays) of the year.

Screenshot of the Autodesk token estimation page.

4) Easy access to software to all global users

No need for migrating licenses across servers, as all global users have access to the same pool of licenses and can grab any product in the offered catalog.

The challenges

What’s the actual usage of the software?

Without insights into license consumption within the organization, the flexibility of license usage can easily turn into a financial nightmare. Autodesk provides some information about the tokens and software used; however, you need insights into the actual usage of the software; otherwise, you end up with a bunch of useless data points. With Flex, end users have access to software, but Autodesk will continue to deduct the token value of the software used while it is open. 

If the engineer opened AutoCAD on Friday morning and left the application open for the weekend, that will cost the organization 63 tokens. That compares to the actual usage, which was only one day. By relying simply on Autodesk’s reports, you don’t have access to such information. Thanks to OpenLM’s advanced license harvesting solution, SAM admins can terminate the session automatically  if the software is idle and save on licensing costs. 

Occasional user or power user?

To better utilize their license assets and keep costs under control, SAM managers need to be aware of the engineering team’s license consumption patterns. This is where OpenLM helps you: it maps the software the organization owns and matches that information with users and teams. You get the insights needed to make a decision in one dashboard in an easy-to-understand format: does this user need a named user license, or is it an occasional user for whom Flex would be a better fit?

Contact OpenLM, and we will help you in choosing the right Autodesk licenses for your end users.

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