Salesforce license optimization-cost and usage


Salesforce customisation is an ongoing process, as new products and features are released over time. Even business grows in scale and complexity with time. As a result, Salesforce license purchase decisions, which were carefully made before the CRM deployment, may not stay optimum forever. Hence, Salesforce license optimization is also an ongoing process.

Salesforce also provides license usage report which administrators use to get a high level view of the activities. But this report presents usage metrics rather than Salesforce license optimization suggestions.

At Cymetrix, as a Salesforce consulting company, we frequently advise clients on how to choose the most cost effective Salesforce license and to optimize the usage of purchased ones. During such interactions, we have observed some operational inefficiency related to usage of licenses, which often fail to grab the attention of business heads.

Salesforce Licence Usage and Operational Inefficiencies

When license features are being under-utilized

This can happen when the Salesforce license type assigned to an end user does not match his or her actual use of the product. Salesforce product subscriptions are offered at different price levels depending on the scope of features that can be accessed.

We have observed that it is common for end users to be over-licensed because of feature usage. They have license for features which are not required and hence remain under-utilized. They should have been assigned a less expensive license type to begin with.

When license entitlements are under-leveraged

Specific entitlements in the contract that dictate the ways in which customers are entitled to use the product (i.e. the right of second use, downgrade and upgrade rights, multiple installation rights on the same device, etc.) differs than how the product is actually being used.

If all the rights are not being leveraged, an organization may avoid purchasing additional software until all the entitlements have been applied and consumed.

When less number of licenses are being used than purchased

In this case, resources counted toward the Salesforce license do not match the actual use.

The most common example is found when decision makers use the number of end users (i.e. employees or contractors) as the licensing metric. Enterprises can easily drift to an over-licensed situation when end users leave the organization or simply no longer require use of the product.

Best Practices for Purchased Salesforce License Optimization

So what can business heads do to optimize Salesforce license usage in their organization?

1. Current usage

Monitor Internet browsers and URLs corresponding to Saleforce.

Your IT Admin can deploy tools or custom scripted programs on firewall or proxy server of the organization to access Salesforce. These programs can then track organization’s user requests from various browsers to create track logs.

You can use log information for Salesforce license optimization by determining which and how many unique users of the organization are accessing Salesforce. These logs can also reveal the frequency of usage. You will be able to assess whether the Salesforce licenses and its modules are used optimally.

2. Salesforce usage report

Tally your usage with the data generated by Salesforce. Salesforce provides the ability to track usage of its service and generates monthly bulletins so that administrators can enjoy a high level view of activity. This report is primarily aimed at Salesforce adoption.

3. Renewals

While renewing licenses, consider data collected above to purchase number of licenses which are actually used. The fees charges by for the use of their service are based on what you have purchased, not what you are using.

Also, consider attrition and new joiners to the organization before the renewal date.

4. License reduction application

Apply for “License Reduction” through your admin as soon as the user is deactivated from the system and if that license is not required being re-assigned. Although reductions apply at the renewal time, but proactively following this procedure can be helpful in managed tracking, esp. for companies with large number of licenses.

5. Access allocation

List all the departments impacted and possible feature use of the respective users. This will help in optimally allocating access to license type to reduce total cost.

6. Adoption approach

There should be top down approach for universal adoption of Salesforce within the organization. This will improve advantages derived from implementation and hence ROI.

Apply best practices to improve Salesforce user adoption. Without full user adoption, no company will gain the benefits that were anticipated from the investment in licenses.

7. Agreement

Study End User License Agreement to fully understand entitlements post purchase.

This is the first article in the Salesforce License Optimization series published by Cymetrix team. The second article gives an overview of the Salesforce License Types and introduces main characteristics of licensing and agreement. By having necessary knowledge about license types and policies at the time of licenses procurement, IT and business heads will be able to identify opportunities for optimization and cost savings.

About Cymetrix Software:

Cymetrix Software provides full-cycle Salesforce consulting services to help businesses strategize and implement perfect Salesforce solutions. From strategic road-map and package evaluation to set-up, configuration and customization, Cymetrix takes a holistic approach and is equipped with certified & experienced resources to deliver best-fit Salesforce solutions.

Cymetrix is headquartered in India and has offices in Mumbai, India and Long Beach California, USA.