Managing the Change from Perpetual to Subscription Licensing

Change Management can help ensure such a change in licensing models and technologies is implemented within the IT Infrastructure with as little disruption as possible. This is just one example of how Change Management can help with Software Asset Management related matters.

Organizations are constantly going through change. Whether that’s a change in personnel, office location or company structure, change is a daily occurrence. Obviously, some changes impact users more than others. For example, the recent change in how to deliver and license Adobe software has caused organizations a number of challenges.

Change Management can help ensure such a change in licensing models and technologies is implemented within the IT Infrastructure with as little disruption as possible. This is just one example of how Change Management can help with Software Asset Management related matters. There needs to be a close relationship between SAM and Change Management as software and technology changes all the time.


Change Management is an IT service management function that is a part of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) discipline.

Change management consists of a number of different processes. ITIL defines a change management process as :

The goal of the change management process is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all changes, in order to minimize the impact of change-related incidents upon service quality, and consequently improve the day-to-day operations of the organization.”

Within IT a change is:


This means that a change in hardware, software, communication systems or even documentation relating to IT requires change management to help communicate and implement the change the organization is trying to make.

Any changes that the business wants to make to the IT infrastructure must be discussed and approved by senior management or a Change Advisory Board (CAB). Organizations that have experienced large amounts of change in the past or are constantly going through change are likely to have a CAB already in place which is part of BAU processes.


In recent times, one of the most common changes within Software Asset Management and software licensing has been the upgrade to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Previous Adobe products were licensed to a device on a perpetual basis, but with the introduction of Creative Cloud, it has become a user-based subscription license. Migrating to the new model requires a lot of change – from a change in how you manage licenses and compliance, as well as how the software is deployed across the estate.

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Firstly, a Request for Change (RFC) needs to be submitted to the CAB highlighting the change in licensing terms, packaging and deployment methods. RFCs need to be opened and approved by the CAB before the contents are discussed. Once approved, the CAB will discuss how to manage the change and how it will impact the organization.

When moving from an Adobe’s device, perpetual license to a subscription user license, the CAB will meet with the SAM representative to discuss:


A change plan will then be created by the CAB highlighting how the organization will physically make the required changes. When moving to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, this will include the upgrade process (identifying users usage rather than what is deployed on a machine), roadmap for software packaging and how the new software will impact existing hardware (do they have enough RAM, Hard disk space etc.?).


It is then time to implement the change. We spoke to a SAM Manager of a Snow customer – an architecture practice with 16,000 devices – who used Change Management to help with a change in licensee models for Adobe..

We used our CAB and change management to help us with the process of moving from perpetual Adobe licenses to the Creative Cloud subscription model. “For us, this was a major change and our first foray into the Cloud subscription world. It meant a lot of changes in terms of our SAM processes, how we manage compliance and our packaging cycle,” says the SAM Manager. 

How will change impact existing systems?

The first question we needed to know was how will Snow License Manager report Creative Cloud applications and usage? Fortunately, it does this straight out of the box.” In this scenario, no changes were required to existing systems. However, there was an issue with packaging. The SAM Manager explains, “We packaged all our previous Adobe Creative Suite products, and because Creative Cloud is still a local file we needed to do the same. Unfortunately, Adobe could not provide us with a roadmap of updates, so our packaging cycle and process needed modification.”

How will change affect existing processes?

In this case, the change in license model and the way in which updates are distributed meant that a change in process was required. Instead of having a set and solid process for packaging Adobe products, the organization had to assess each release and identify how it would impact users before putting in the time and effort in packaging and re-deploying the software. “The SAM team had to change existing processes slightly and have the changes approved by the senior management. As it related to the packaging and deployment of software we felt we didn’t need to communicate the change with end-users,” continues the SAM Manager.

How will the change affect compliance? “Initially, the change in compliance was something that caused concern for us as the license model went from per device to per user subscription. Therefore, instead of looking at usage and compliance from a device perspective we had to assess each application that the user was using and align it to the Creative Cloud bundles.”

The SAM Manager continues to explain that during the upgrade and shift in license models they had to use Snow License Manager to predict compliance. He says, “We obviously still had a number of perpetual Design Suite 6 licenses that we wanted to continue to use until it became unusable for users who didn’t use Adobe products very much. Therefore, we had to identify the compliance position for the device perpetual licenses AND the user-based subscription licenses.” He continued to explain that thanks to the CAB and change management they planned well in advance for the change in licensing and management and created a custom report within Snow License Manager to highlight the compliance position for both the perpetual licenses and the Creative Cloud licenses.

How will the change affect financials?

There is a common misconception that subscription license models are cheaper than the old perpetual model. This is not necessarily the case. Whilst the immediate costs may be lower, the overall cost over three years can be significantly more.

We entered into Adobe’s ETLA for our Creative Cloud licenses. We calculated that the initial outgoings were less than all of our perpetual licenses, but over three years the Creative Cloud agreement costs outweighed our existing perpetual licenses and maintenance/support. The CAB obviously took this into consideration and communicated the expected financial changes with Finance and Procurement.” Once the change occurred and the process is managed by the CAB, they then meet again to discuss any further actions that need to occur. If no further action is required, then the CAB will close the Request for Change and provide the relevant stakeholders with a report on the actions carried out and how successful the process has been.


Any significant change made by the IT team needs to follow the right Change Management processes otherwise it could fall by the wayside and the change won’t be adopted correctly,” comments the SAM Manager.

Think about it: users who are comfortable and familiar with existing IT technologies, processes or software do not like change, so you need to help guide them through the change so it doesn’t come as a shock to them and they can see the benefits of the new software,” he states.

The sheer amount of change that occurs within Software Asset Management and IT in general is huge – new technologies, license models or innovative ways of doing things crop up every day. To clearly realize and take advantage of the new technologies you need to ensure they have been introduced to the organization and users appropriately. Change Management and the relationship with SAM, as you’ve seen from our Architecture company example, helps embed new license models and processes quickly, effectively and with the cooperation of the end users.   Change needs to occur in order to cut software spend, whether through the introduction of new processes – such as re-harvesting – or through new SAM technologies like Snow License Manager.

If you are looking to implement change management within your SAM processes, why not talk to our SAM experts? Snow’s License Optimization and Consultancy Service puts the Snow subject matter experts into the heart of your SAM strategy. Our experts will work very closely with stakeholders, users and IT teams in your organization to ensure that your investment in Snow technology is maximized to support your SAM goals, minimizing compliance risk and software spend.