Not quite as fun as the DMV
Understanding the different licensing that is available for data capture and OCR products can sometimes be difficult, but I assure you that the complexities involved will not be as painful as a trip to your local motor vehicle. There are a few aspects of licenses that trip up some users namely license type dongle or serial number, activation process, and finally page-counts.
License type can be very important but is not often clearly explained. The most common license type out there is “software license”. This is a license structure that is a license file tied to a specific machine. The benefits of such a license are, it’s more efficient and easier to install on servers and hardware that are not local. The downside is that because it is tied to a machine, if the license dies you may have downtime while waiting for replacement and proving destruction or may have to purchase a new licenses. Another very common license type is a hardware dongle. Dongles now are most often USB devices very similar to a USB thumb drive we are all used too. The benefit to this type of license is that the software can be installed on every machine in the organization but only the machine with the dongle in can run it. This means that if something happen to one machine it would be very easy to switch to another. The downside to this type of license is that the licenses can be lost, and it’s not the most efficient. After you have whatever license type it is, you will need to go through the activation processes.
Activation can be troublesome for some products and others very simple. The difference is usually the installers effort in understanding the activation processes BEFORE any installation. For many of these products activation has as many as 3 steps and it’s usually always in the form of sending an activation request, receiving an activation file, installing the activation file. The trend is for products to allow web activation and it’s becoming more popular, but because of the premium on some advance data capture products these steps are required. Now with an activated license the most important thing, what does a license give you?
Licenses are usually set with general operation rights, purchased add-on’s if they exist, and very commonly page-count. Page-count is the biggest contention of most any purchaser. Because of this most all vendors have the option to have unlimited page-count license for a premium. In the end most all companies end-up with a page-count licenses and are quite happy. What argument I would like to pose is that a piece of hardware has inherently a page-count, as each piece of hardware will only be able to physically process a certain number of pages a day, month, year. For this reason page-count is actually quite reasonable but a slowly dieing trend. In the future I expect to see far fewer page-count licenses. For most businesses pages are counted on a monthly basis but some seasonal companies may elect for an annual or pure page count.
License structure is important to ALL organizations and I encourage companies to spend the time during the discovery phases of technology acquisition to investigate the structures that are available from each vendor and how that may work in your environment.
Chris Riley – Sr. Solutions Architect