Full vs Light User licenses

This is short and sweet - as I don’t usually post “sales” types of things and don’t intend to start now!

It’s somewhat of a tale of two client scenarios, and advice to those who hear certain things from their clients, and are in a position to recommend license options.

I’ve got two clients right now both of whom have expressed a need for additional user licenses in the near future.  Both of them have decent user bases right now (12 and 16 user licenses respectively). Both of them are running into issues with the maximum number of concurrent users being logged in, at various times of the day or week or month.

Client #1

Client number 1 has been a Dynamics GP client for 10 years, and their accounting department has grown probably double in size since they first implemented GP.  They keep hiring and have more and more users using GP every year.  Right now they have approximately 25-30 actual GP users set up in the system, and at least half of them are daily, transactional users which need GP open all day long to do their jobs.  The other half range from people that do a lot of analysis and reporting, to people who perform tasks more at certain times of the month - monthly expense report entry, for instance.  So far a 16 user base has been OK, but over the last few months, as they’ve hired one or two or three more bodies, they are using all 16 licenses nearly every hour of every day.

With this client, there is very little that can entirely offset the use of Dynamics GP outside of the application via reporting tools, as most of the users in the “non-day-to-day” camp still need in GP to do lots of inquiries, not all of which are easily replaced outside of GP.  This client is a perfect example of when they simply need to consider purchasing additional full user licenses to relieve some of the pressure - as well as the inevitable “Can someone log out of GP for a minute please?” cries around the office!

Client #2

Client number 2 has also been a GP client for a number of years. Their 12 user license has served them well for many years but over the years, they added more and more users to GP to allow more non-accounting staff to run their own reports and do their own inquiries.  This seemed innocent enough at the time, but now as their overall staff level has grown, they too are running into issues where there aren’t enough licenses for the users to log in when needed.  In this case, they often also have a couple of users who do tons of reporting and analysis opening both of their primary entities (companies) at the same time so they can easily flip back and forth at will, without stopping something they are doing in one company. That right there is 4 licenses taken up by 2 users most days of the week.

In contrast to the first client, they have a small accounting department and only about 30-35% of the user activity in GP is from users who I would define as “needing to be in GP”.  The vast majority of their user base do things that can easily be transitioned to other external methods - excel reports, sharepoint, SSRS reports etc. Some need in only to look up the next PO number to use; some only need to check inventory quantities on hand; some only run project accounting reports to check the status of their projects.

With this client, when they first asked me about an estimate to add new users, I immediately thought that in this case, it’s a complete waste of money for them. They originally purchased users for something they never ended up implementing, leaving them also with 50+ light user licenses, which to me means they shouldn’t spend a dime on licenses right now.  I’ll be working with them over the coming weeks to make a plan to transition as many of these users out of GP as possible, to external reporting and inquiry options.

The difference between Full & Light

Before I get into details, both of these clients are GP 2010 users, not GP 2013. Both of them are also on Business Ready Licensing so that is what I am really talking about in this post.  This information is also intentionally generic and general - specific questions on all the purposes and usages of each license should be a question for your partner if you are unsure.

In these examples, a full user is a license to log into GP itself; a light user is a license that allows you to access GP data externally to GP - Excel Reports, SSRS, Sharepoint etc. all come to mind as ways to access data and use its information.

Pricing varies depending on market and other factors, plus there are price breaks once you buy 11 or more users etc.  For simplicity, let’s just say the cost of a full user is $5,350 + enhancement. The cost of a light user is around $175 + enhancement. That’s a huge difference!

In my examples, client #2 was considering purchasing at least a couple more licenses which means an expenditure of over $10,000.  What I explained to them was for the same money, and likely for a lot less than that, it would be better for them in the long term to spend that money on the services to identify the reporting needs, utilize the out of the box report options already there in Excel Reports and SSRS, and if needed write a handful of specific reports to cover gaps that aren’t addressed. They have more than enough Light User licenses to cover their needs, and if they need more in the future, a couple hundred bucks is a no brainer.

If you are a consultant, and you notice your clients often at or near their maximum user capacity, look around at what users are keeping GP “full” and whether there are external solutions for them that have the option to provide more service to them and more inexpensively purchase licenses.

If you are a client and you’re in a situation like I have described above, take a look at what the users in GP are doing and identify any that don’t ‘really’ need GP to do what they are doing. Talk to your partner about options, and extend the reach of the information in GP to other users in your organization!

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