2 ways to harness the power of SPSS Statistics

Global Product Marketing Manager – IBM SPSS Statistics, IBM

Online subscription-service businesses have changed how we access almost everything, from news to shopping to music. Is it any wonder that software has followed suit? Most software that was previously purchased with an on-premises license is now available as a subscription service, often referred to as software as a service (SaaS). In this blog, I’ll cover the differences between an SPSS Statistics Subscription and the traditional on-premises license that was the only way to purchase SPSS Statistics up until 2017. Now, you can choose which licensing model is best for your business.

In one corner, we have SPSS Statistics subscription

SaaS is a software delivery and licensing model that provides online access to software via a subscription plan.

In the case of SPSS Statistics Subscription, IBM has adopted a hybrid SaaS approach to provide you both data security and flexibility. The subscription application is made available to download and install on your machines. However, your software license, user access and entitlements like product features are managed in the IBM Cloud. This eliminates the need for traditional license authorization codes which are typical with on-premises software purchases, and it ensures your files and data do not leave your machine. Accessing the subscription software on your machine is easy – all you need is your IBM username and password.

The benefits of a subscription plan are numerous. For starters, software updates are made available several times a year and will be downloaded directly to your desktop, when you want them. This means you get new and enhanced features sooner than traditional on-premises customers. Plus, it’s easy to set up a subscription account for your company and enable as many users as you need for your team. If you have team members who  come and go, adding new seats or reassigning seats is easy to do with account user management features. Also, your subscription application can be used on multiple devices

Quite simply, the subscription is the easiest way to buy, manage and upgrade SPSS Statistics. To purchase an SPSS Statistics Subscription, select the Base edition and then choose optional add-ons as needed. The add-ons are custom tables and advanced statistics, complex sampling and testing, and forecasting and decision trees. If you are an existing SPSS Statistics subscription user, you can now add licenses and add-ons. Simply log in to My IBM!

In the other corner, we have SPSS Statistics 26  

The on-premises SPSS Statistics software license is a completely different product in terms of how it is purchased, accessed and upgraded when compared to the subscription license. It also has pros and cons.

Authorization codes: the on-premises license model requires every customer to download, install and apply a license authorization code each time they install or upgrade the application—and for every user. In theory, authorization codes seem like a straightforward design: apply a code to unlock the application – sounds easy, right? Wrong. In practice it has proven difficult for clients to generate the codes and keep track of who in their organization has access to the software over time as end users come and go. All of this adds complexity to IT departments. The upside of license authorization codes is that they allow the application to be accessed without requiring internet access. Many government, healthcare and academic organizations require this due to data security policies or other regulations.

Software updates: for on-premises software, new features are not available until the next version is released, which can be a year or even more. In other words, those who have SPSS Statistics Subscription are accessing new features regularly while on-premises customers will be waiting until the next version. It’s akin to Spotify users getting new releases from their favorite artists immediately, while record collectors need to wait months before their favorite albums come out on vinyl.

Flexible user types: For either license type – perpetual or term – customers will need to determine if they want to buy “authorized users” (one seat per end user) or “concurrent users” which is a network license that allows up to “N” number of end users at a given time. The latter is great if your company or university knows the upper limit of users but doesn’t specifically know who will need access.

Server options: Unlike subscription customers, on-premises customers can opt to purchase a SPSS Statistics Server to boost their analytics performance.

There are two primary ways to purchase an on-premises SPSS Statistics license. You can buy a perpetual license, which costs more but you own the software and can use it for a lifetime. Or, you can buy a limited-term license at a lower price point. Licensing options for on-premises are similar to buying a car – you can buy or lease. For some, it makes financial sense to lease. Others just want to own it outright. Regardless of the license type, there are four bundled packages to choose from that can be augmented by 14 distinct feature modules.

In summary, the on-premises license model is more flexible in terms of how you can tailor your order to exactly what your company or organization requires. However, the downside of on-premises software is the license authorization code management. This model of purchasing SPSS Statistics has been around for decades and will be familiar to the vast majority of SPSS customers.

Which SPSS Statistics is right for you?

Whether you are a small, agile organization or a large enterprise with numerous end users across multiple departments, there is an SPSS Statistics license that is right for you. Below is a simple breakdown of which organizations should consider Subscription vs. on-premises:

Subscription would be best if any of these apply:

  • You are a small organization, independent consultant or student
  • You are a large organization and have lots of end users to keep track of over time
  • You need occasional access to the application because your work is project-based
  • You want immediate software updates, delivered to your desktop
  • You don’t need to connect to a SPSS Statistics Server

You can purchase directly through the IBM Marketplace and chose to be billed either monthly or annually.

On-premises would be best if:

  • You want to own your software outright, or lease it
  • Your end-users don’t have access to the Internet
  • You need to boost analytical power with a SPSS Statistics Server
  • You need to have “concurrent users” on an internal network, like in a computer lab
  • You have a complex user base and need a highly-customized purchase plan

Still not sure which version is best for you? Visit the SPSS Statistics product page and chat with a representative about your requirements.