Leading West Coast Transportation Experts

270 users located across 15 different sites 3:1 ratio of users to licenses

Mobility is one of the great challenges of the Smart City.

Whether it is ensuring walkability for pedestrians, enabling energy-efficient transport, such as bicycles, preparing for autonomous vehicles, or improving traffic flow and parking, cities are engaged in resolving how their citizens can move freely. Our customers, from their base in LA, have over 30 years expertise in transportation management, and they assist communities and cities across the US to engineer solutions backed by data science and big data. Using a holistic view of the situation and rejecting one-size-fits-all models for customers, they have built a solid reputation in their field for multimodal modelling.

Original Acquisition of OpenLM

Geospatial and CAD software tools form an essential part of the transport design toolkit. We spoke to their Systems Administrator about how they manage licenses at their organization. He discussed how they invested in OpenLM about 4 years ago, following a 30-day trial and a brief extension needed to complete a compelling case to present to management. They evaluated several other products before they made their decision. OpenLM was chosen because it had all the features that were needed to manage their software portfolio. Another factor that helped the decision was its competitive pricing. The current installed version of OpenLM is fulfilling their requirements. Their representative does admit that they do need to upgrade, and is planning to do so in the near future, hopefully to benefit from additional features available in the new release.

User Base and Software Portfolio

The system administrator told us that the company has about 270 users of engineering software who are mainly project managers and CAD designers. These users are located across 15 of the company’s 17 US sites, which are mainly in California, but include other states, including Hawaii. The most heavily used software tools are ArcGIS for spatial work and AutoCAD for design and products from German specialist traffic and logistics software company PTV.

There is about a 3:1 ratio of users to licenses, with no more than 100 licences for the most essential products. Most of the software licenses are governed by software license manager FLEXlm, although PTV uses Wibu’s Codemeter for managing their licenses.
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IT had no visibility as to what was going on, i.e. they didn’t (couldn’t) know how many licenses were currently in use and by whom.

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OpenLM saves us an incredible amount of time.

Why a License Management Tool was needed?

The company, even with the license managers supplied by their vendors, had poor visibility of the state and usage of their licenses. This led to frustration among the users, questions from upper management as to cost-containment and lots of hard work by IT to come up with answers:-

  • Users would contact IT about license availability, as they were getting denials and had no idea of when a license would be made available to them.
  • When management queried how efficiently licenses were being managed, which they did regularly, the system administrator would have to invest a lot of time and effort in collecting the data in order to give a full and accurate answer.
  • IT themselves could not identify how many licenses from the pool were in use and who was actually using them, because the vendor products did not provide that visibility.
  • Each vendor’s licenses had to be managed independently; there was no overarching view of what was happening with the licenses in general. This also involved remembering which license manager came with which software and how it worked.

With challenges like this, it was clear that a better solution was needed, and the marketplace was searched for suitable products, of which OpenLM was one. Testing and evaluation made it the choice for this organization.

Implementing OpenLM

Engineers, by their nature, have enquiring minds and like to engage in problem-solving and prototyping. This logic seems to apply to engineering companies as well. Although OpenLM has a comprehensive manual and training videos, the company’s IT section preferred to apply experimentation when implementing. They did this by live testing and trying out the various packaged functions, with which they had already become familiar during evaluation. When they got stuck, they used the services of OpenLM’s California support team. The OpenLM support team also helped a bit with the installation and configuration of OpenLM, although the company’s IT team were able to manage most of the installation themselves.

How has OpenLM benefited the Company?

The lack of visibility prior to acquiring OpenLM was the root cause of most of the licensing issues. Once OpenLM was installed, the extensive and flexible reporting made life much easier for all concerned, from users through to the IT Director, who now could get meaningful and accurate reports on ArcGIS and AutoCAD usage for renewal purposes.

The systems administrator stressed how the removal of all the manual work done previously because of inadequate reporting saved an incredible amount of time. There were cost savings too, because it was easy to identify unused licenses and optimize the license portfolio.

We would like to thank the system administrator for granting us this interview and giving us some insights into how OpenLM plays its part at this specialist engineering company.

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