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RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

Just in case this is going to be as much a surprise to anyone else at it was to us.

Apparently an update come out for RSS on November 4th that fundamentally changed the licensing structure, the modules are no longer individually licensed. We received no communication that this was happening and no communication that the update happened. I just got the notification today in the connection client but that is hit or miss as everyone else in my office shows no updates available on the connection client.

Release Note Link: Link

I'm trying to get a call set up with Bentley to determine if the last few weeks of use are going to count as overuse considering we had no idea this change happened.

To the Bentley folks that may be monitoring this forum would it kill you guys to at least email the account administrators when major changes like this are happening??

Open Source Structural Applications: https://github.com/buddyd16/Structural-Engineering

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

Wow, if I'm reading this right, let's say each individual module cost you $1k, they turned each individual module to a license that can access and contains all modules, charge you full price for each of these, say $5k.

So if you had 4 individual modules (not on their can access anything scheme) you were quite happy using, you go from $4k to $20k overnight and you can still only access 4 modules at a time plus you get there overage fees still? .... Is this the way you read it?

If so, wow. If not they certainly could explain it better.

I don't use Bentley software, gave up after they started fleecing everyone.

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

So everything used to be individually licensed except RAM Modeler where you were given enough licenses to cover your total module license count.

As I read it an RSS license now covers all the modules as a current customer they are going to look at which module has the highest license count (not including modeler) and give you that many licenses. so for example if you had:
RAM Steel - 2 Licenses
RAM Concrete - 3 Licenses
RAM Foundation - 1 license
RAM Frame Analysis - 2 licenses
RAM Frame Steel Design - 2 licenses
RAM Modeler - 10 licenses

You would now just have have 3 RSS licenses.

So in the the above example before this update I could have best case 20 users in RAM structural system with no module overlap after this update I can only have 3 users total in RAM structural system. This is a massive blow to productivity.

Pricing seems to indicate a slight decrease in the total package but per my above example we would now need to purchase 17 more licenses to back inline with the previous concurrent possible users. This is just complete nonsense.

To add the proverbial icing on the cake the method they give us for license alerting still references the individual module licenses so that system is now completely broken for attempting to avoid overuse.

Open Source Structural Applications: https://github.com/buddyd16/Structural-Engineering

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

So 17/3 times more $profit$ from you chaps if you buy into it in drink their koolaid! .... Worse than I thought then if you're committed to using their products (provided people support that business model).

First time we got an overage charge for a whole year of overuse, something like $25k from memory. We had zero idea it was coming, not realising the system even existed. Boss refused to pay it and they begrudgingly agree to wipe the cost and turn our licenses back into perpetual licences. Next day he ditched Bentley altogether, never looked back. Perpetual licences still sitting in my email at last employer never having been used.

One can only imagine people will look quite hard at whether it's in their best interest to look elsewhere.

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

oh absolutely this may be the final straw that has us depart from using their products. Seems all programming effort has been expended to extort more money out of us instead of actually updating these programs to modern standards, I've had enough and will be working to convince the folks that cut the checks that it's time cut our losses.

Open Source Structural Applications: https://github.com/buddyd16/Structural-Engineering

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

An explanation of the new RAM Structural System license is available in this wiki below, covering the details of and motivation for the change.
This wiki includes information on when the price changes will take affect (see section What is the cost to me for this upgrade?).

RAM Structural System SELECT subscribers have been notified about this change by email. A message about the change was also posted on the RAM Structural System news feed that shows at the bottom of the RAM Manager window. The way the license now works, a user will be able to utilize all modules within RAM Structural System while occupying only one RAM Structural System license. For example, a user can now move back and forth between RAM Steel and RAM Frame without needing to check if both RAM Steel and RAM Frame licenses are available. This allows an engineer to move more freely through the software and utilize all of the system’s functionality while using only one license.

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

I'm trying to understand something. Say I had 4 copies of RAM Steel, 0 of RAM concrete and 4 of RAM Frame, 0 of ..... Now, I have been upgraded (for free) to 4 copies of RAM Structural System which includes all those programs.

However, does that mean that my yearly cost for maintaining my RAM licenses (which I only use RAM Steel / Frame) are going to go up significantly to cover the "free" versions of Concrete or Elements or whatever else they gave me?

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

Also, the RISA guys have to be completely loving this!! As long as their main competitor is screwing over their users, they look good by comparison. Even though they've screwed over their users a lot lately as well. Just not as badly or obviously as RAM.

Maybe this is just what happens when corporate overlords take over one of these companies. Geez.... Makes me really annoyed and I've never even owned a copy of RAM!

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4


Quote (JTaylor10)

RAM Structural System SELECT subscribers have been notified about this change by email.
Actually this did not happen an email went out to a random list of people none of which where the account admins or current employees. I've been working with Allen on this, he acknowledged the communication failure and mentioned others have expressed frustration. Also got confirmation of my assessment of the license situation which well is just not great for our usage patterns.

If only there were some other company that could offer a similar product at or near the same price point, would be great if they could respond timely to a purchase qoute request as well.

Open Source Structural Applications: https://github.com/buddyd16/Structural-Engineering

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

I see that I need to correct some serious misunderstanding about the license consolidation. I am the Senior Product Manager for the RAM Structural System. I am the structural engineer that has directed the development of the RAM Structural System since we began it in 1988. Those that know me know that I am a fierce advocate for our users. Since RAM was acquired 14 years ago by Bentley I have continued to fight for changes when I felt our users were harmed by any Bentley practices or policies. For example, I pushed hard to have the overuse warnings implemented so that users could better able control their use and overuse. But this license consolidation was my decision. I believe strongly that it will benefit the vast majority of our users. I believe strongly that it will be better for our users than the current – may I say “haphazard” – licensing scheme of the individual modules. It is confusing to almost everyone, both inside and outside of Bentley. Clients often don’t clearly understand what capabilities they have and what they don’t. The inadvertent overuse sometimes occurred because the engineers using the program weren’t aware of what their company had purchased and what they hadn’t. I personally spent a lot of time explaining the licensing to our users, which kept me from my real responsibilities of working with our developers to make the program better. Even inside Bentley many didn’t understand what the various modules were, nor that they were merely part of the RAM Structural System. This resulted in mistakes and worse service to our clients. And tech support was affected even more than I was, which hampered their ability to provide a higher level of service answering the more important technical questions. I can’t express how disruptive, distracting, and how often, this issue was. Consolidation of the licenses is going to be better for us all.

We started posting a message on the main screen of the RAM Structural System on August 23 announcing the upcoming release of the new version and the license consolidation. Then on September 5 we posted a second message with specific details about the consolidation. These messages appear every time an engineer launches the program. The consolidation took effect two months later on November 4. At that time a marketing email was sent out to our users. The following week a second email was sent out from the Technical Support group to the main contact at each company, notifying them of the number of full licenses they have been upgraded to. Celt83 contacted us with concerns about the lack of notification. He pointed out that engineers that use the program may have seen the notifications, but they didn’t necessarily pass that information up to the administrators. Furthermore, through that discussion we also discovered that the Marketing email list only included those who actively use the program, it did not include administrators, which is why Celt83 had never received notification. That email as subsequently been sent out again, this time including administrators. Furthermore, we intend to re-send the email from Technical Support, this time including all administrators, not just the single person identified as the main contact. We appreciate Celt83 for contacting us directly with his concerns so that we could take corrective action.

Everyone got upgraded to the full RAM Structural System license, but no one is getting charged overuse charges for this upgraded RAM Structural System license through the end of the year, and our intent is to contact clients that haven’t properly set up the entitlement warnings and help them do so, so that they avoid any such charges.

Agent666 and JoshPlum both have it completely wrong. Using Celt83’s example that he posted on Nov 13 of a mix of module licenses, that example user has now been upgraded to three licenses of all of the modules; that is, they were given, free of charge, an additional 1 RAM Steel, 2 RAM Foundation, 1 RAM Frame Analysis, and 1 RAM Frame Steel Design. This is more than $9000 of free software. This year they would have paid approximately $3800 for the annual SELECT (update and support) agreement. The new cost for the annual SELECT will increase to $4800, but that increase will be phased in over a three-year period in order to avoid an abrupt increase. They have been upgraded to the full set of modules now but won’t see any cost increase until their next renewal, next year, at which time they have the choice of continuing or not; we are not forcing anyone to do anything. Note that most of our clients have a more balanced portfolio of licenses; those clients will actually see a 12% decrease in their annual SELECT costs. In addition, the cost of the full package has been reduced 35%, making additional copies more affordable.

With this consolidation, some users will be impacted. Some will see an increase in costs. But it all comes down to the value. With these changes in licensing, is the program still a valuable asset for you? Does it make your engineers more productive? Does it make you more competitive? For the price, is something else going to make better business sense? That is a business decision that you have to make, just like consolidating the licenses was a business decision that we had to make. I realize that while most clients are going to be happy with the change, it may not be suitable for everyone. I hope it isn’t the case, but RAM Structural System may not be right for some anymore. I would be sad if they left, but I understand it is a business decision, just like it was a business decision for Agent666 to switch to something else several years ago (for a reason that no longer exists). I am confident that those who stay with us will come to recognize the value of the change, if they haven’t already.

And finally, I need to respond to JoshPlum’s posts. You should know that he works for a competing software company. His comments are self-serving and hardly representative of those who have actually used RAM.
Allen Adams, P.E., S.E.
Senior Product Manager
Chief Structural Engineer
Bentley Systems, Inc.

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

Thank you Allen.... That clarifies things a lot. I have a ton of respect for you... always have. I have personally witnessed you as a strong advocate for your users even when that meant you opposed some Bentley licensing practices. Therefore, I trust what you are saying here. Sorry if I stepped on your toes.

I only responded to what others had posted about what they BELIEVED the new RAM licensing was doing and how it would work. Please understand that my frustrations and any colorful language I may have used related to "corporate overlords screwing over their customers" is based mostly on what the new RISA/Nemetschek regime has been doing over the last several years. Obviously, I'm not an unbiased source (as a "disgruntled" former employee) regarding RISA either.

As you stated, I do currently work for a competing software company (CSi). I definitely should have been more careful to state that. For what it's worth, my comments were not intended to be serve CSi's interests. Before (when I worked for RISA), I was public face of the company on these sorts of engineering forums. And, my posts (which were technical, more than sales / marketing related) would usually reflect the RISA position on an issue. However, that is really, really not the case with CSi. I am quite low down the company ladder at CSi. I don't know how their sales work, don't know their pricing, don't know their corporate strategy, and have not been at all involved in sales / marketing. I haven't run any of my posts by other CSi employees. Because, they're my personal opinions as an engineer (however biased I may be). Think of me as being closer to an entry level engineer for their company who is just trying to learn their software and figure out how it works and what it does best.... Far removed from someone who's posts represent what CSi management's position would be.

RE: RAM Structural System - Licensing Change - Effective Nov 4

I would point out for completeness we were not using RAM, never have used it, it's just not popular in this part of the world. We were only using Microstran at the time.

Quote (Agent666)

.... If not they certainly could explain it better.

Thanks for trying to explain it here, but to clarify something:-

In Celts case, they had 10 licenses for the modeller, which presumably they used quite often with that number of licenses. If they now only have 3 license (as I understand it) as you've noted, isn't that a significant downgrade for what might be a typical use case in a larger company?
(keep in mind I have zero idea what modeller is but I assume its for building models, so excuse my curious/ignorant question)
Or do they keep the 10 licenses for modeller and get three of everything else in addition to this?

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