At the end of 2018, IBM extended the concept of token licensing from the Rational brand to the Maximo suite of products.
Put simply, tokens are the most flexible method of licensing – in place of one licence per user for each software product, a pool of tokens can be consumed based on actual product usage in real-time. It’s a floating software entitlement – across users and across selected products.
Until recently, Limited and Express Maximo user types consumed the same number of tokens as Authorised users. In April 2019 IBM announced updates to the token calculator to better accommodate the different types of users, making token licensing an even more attractive proposition for certain organisations.
In this article, we’ll touch on the what, why and how of token licensing for IBM Maximo, and outline how to decide whether it’s the right option for you.
- Token Licensing – a floating software entitlement across users and products – is now available for Maximo
- Limited and Express user types are now specified in the token model
- Previously limited to Maximo version 7.6.1 and above, IBM have just announced that tokens will now be backfitted to 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124
What is Token Licensing?
Remember the TimeZone arcades? Where kids’ hard earned pocket money is exchanged for tokens to activate pinball machines, video games or the prize grabbing claw based on the designated price of tokens per game?
Token licensing can be thought of in a similar way.
Each software product requires a designated number of tokens. When a user logs in, the associated tokens are consumed from the pool available. Unlike the TimeZone analogy however (where tokens are lost forever in exchange for a few minutes of fun and possibly a stuffed toy), when the user logs out, tokens are released back to the pool for the next person to use.
How does it work?
In a traditional licensing model, your organisation aims to manage entitlements for the required number of users for each individual software product (part number) that makes up the IBM Maximo platform. That might be 60 core users, 75 mobility users and 5 scheduler users, for example. To remain compliant, you need to plan and procure licences for your anticipated peak usage – which frequently means that you own more licences than you are using at any one time.
Under the token model, you manage one part number – tokens – for the entire platform. As the only limit is the total number of tokens available in the pool, there’s no need to adjust licensing for individual products as needs vary. This means greater efficiency in managing entitlements and a closer alignment between available licences and average utilisation. Moreover, your compliance is simplified as you cannot exceed your entitlement of tokens.
In exploring how the token licensing model could work for you, there are a few terms and conditions to keep in mind:
- Fixed Term Subscription: Token licensing operates like a subscription, available for a fixed term of 2, 3, 4 or 5 years. As a subscription, purchasing tokens can be considered OPEX rather than the CAPEX budgets typically required for perpetual licence purchases. Of course, this may vary according to your specific accounting practices;
- On-Prem Only: Tokens are only available for on-premise deployments of core Maximo, industry solutions and add-ons;
- No Product Changes: You must specify which products you would like to be available under the token model at the outset of the contract – even if you’re not actually using them (yet!). Once underway you can’t start using tokens to access a product if it’s not already on your agreement. As long as your token pool is large enough to allow at least one user of every product, a good approach is to list everything in the Maximo suite;
- Minimum Version: Your core Maximo platform must be at least version 126.96.36.199 for token licensing to be available. Other minimum versions may apply for other components of the Maximo family;
- Token Management: Tokens are managed in the Licence Key Centre. You will need to install a token Licence Server which provides data for reporting purposes and makes it easier to manage. Token usage must be reported to IBM every 12 months.
At the end on your token contract, you can choose to either renew or revert back to the perpetual licences owned at the outset of the contract. Renewing for a further contract term is an excellent opportunity to increase or decrease the token count and/or add further products to be available under the token model.
Is it right for me?
Tokens tend to represent the best value proposition for larger organisations. Clarita recommends further investigation of token licensing in the following use cases:
- You have a high number of concurrent users. If you run multiple shifts, have a pool of contractors or support users who only need to log in occasionally for a specific purpose (such as approving a Purchase Order), it’s likely that the token model will work in your favour. Because tokens are consumed and released back into a central pool, the need for individual named entitlements is eliminated when users don’t all need to be logged in at the same time. As a general rule of thumb, if around 60% of your workforce could work from a shared pool, then it’s worth considering token licensing.
- You are looking to rebalance/rightsize your licences. Needs vary over time, and you may find that your perpetual licence entitlements no longer align with actual usage of Maximo and its add-ons. Because token licences float across users AND products, you can essentially start and stop using different products at any time, eliminating the compliance overhead of maintaining specific product type and licence counts.
Returning to our earlier example, let’s say only 40 of your 60 Maximo licences are actually required now as a result of organisational change and maturing work practices. A growing interest in location analysis means that you would also like to start using Maximo Spatial. Traditionally, you would be required to determine the number of Spatial users and purchase licences accordingly, but the token model allows unused capacity to be applied against the new product set (assuming it is listed on your agreement) without fear of non-compliance.
Flexibility is really the overarching benefit of the token model. It gives organisations the agility to adapt and change their use of products across the Maximo suite as needs evolve. The compliance risk (and associated management overheads) are virtually eliminated, leaving dynamic organisations free to innovate.