SaaS fee

The term “user” is frequently applied without definition – but depending on definition and other “small print”, the total cost may end up very differently from the first impression.


The software industry has main principles and then the text with small print. The main principles are:   Named Users (NU) or Concurrent Users (CU) – and occasionally the Number of employees in the company.

Example: in total 100 employees, 50 PC’s  =  nearly equal to the number of NU’s  – and perhaps 25 CU’s  =  concurrent users of ERP database / functionality.

In the early days this distinction didn’t matter, as very few employees were IT-users – and if so also quite dedicated;  to bookkeeping, to invoicing etc. But now many employees have IT-support for either specific processes or anything ad-hoc  – perhaps for only a few minutes during the day.

Consequently the number of CU’s now much better reflects the real use of IT-support. For very small companies the number of CU’s may be equal to the number of NU’s, but for larger companies the difference grows – we have experienced an example with about 1000 NU’s generating only 120 CU’s.

Our CU-definition

All users who are active in relation to the SaaS ERP-database, from login to logout + 15 minutes, are counted and the aggregate result constitutes the number of Concurrent Users (CU).

CU-metric incorporates discount

Extra ad-hoc users will accumulate fairly few extra CU’s. Especially users with Smartphones or Tablet computers may access the main ERP-system for only a few enquiries and a few updates – like stock availabilIty, order status, time reporting. Some software vendors defines different types of NU’s – but this normally becomes complex and lacks flexibilIty.

The user definition is derived from the Oracle Named User Plus definition; for reference see the Oracle Software Investment Guide, section Technology products.

Exceptions from CU-definition:

  • logins originating from transactions, transferred from a B2C portal (WEBshop server) will only be counted regarding the time the executing webservice is active.
  • input from registration only, for example from barcode readers without direct interaction with the ERP database.

The number of CU’s will initially be set according to an evaluation and apply up to the end of the first calendar year. For the next year the number of CU’s will be set according to measurement of the actual level during the previous calendar quarter. The number of CU’s generates the fee-level, but technically no ceiling is imposed for the service. Consequently the customer will not need to pay for a) any extra capacity, b) increased activity during a calender year.