tvsdesign is an Atlanta-based architecture firm with projects ranging from healthcare to education to convention centers. Some of our recent projects include the Mercedes Benz stadium and the Javits Convention Center.
As head of IT, I oversee 150+ users in production work. Most of our employees are daily users of AutoCAD, 3Ds Max, and Revit. Until March 2020, all users were accessing software via their multi-user subscription. This is how it had always been, that is until COVID-19 changed everything.
How transitioning to named user became our top priority overnight
When COVID-19 hit, our employees went from working on-premise at our office to working from home in what felt like overnight. This is when our biggest challenge also became our top priority – how do we provide a stable work environment for our users away from the mothership?
- The challenge: I couldn’t control the speeds of their individual internet service providers (ISPs) and how they configured their at-home network. Also, having to be on the VPN to gain a network license further impacted the ISP speed for some users.
- The solution: To improve upload speeds (which is important when syncing Revit models, which could get very large), removing the VPN obstacle was critical. So became the decision to switch over to named user.
The process of switching over to named user took my entire company about 1 month. A common theme throughout our process was deliberate preparation and frequent communication. Let me tell you about what I did as head of IT to ensure it was smooth:
A day-by-day breakdown of our 30-day transition
Day 0: Before the switch
Before transitioning, it was important to prepare my teams. I did this a few different ways:
- I provided tutorials and tools from Autodesk and some that I created to our users to understand what was changing.
- I set up small test groups of users, which we used to test different methods of switching over the license from network to named user.
- I prepared the IT staff with instructions about what to expect and how to resolve any issues during the transition. The only problem we failed to account for was if the user borrowed a Revit license. Even though we retrieved all borrowed licenses through the network server, this was still an issue. But more on that later.
TIP:Preparation is key! The preparation process may look different depending on your firm, but make sure to communicate and provide your team with resources before the transition so they know what to expect.
Day 1-7: Initiating the trade-in
I worked with my Autodesk representative to initiate the trade-in for our 100 AEC Collection multi-user subscriptions. In return, we received 200 AEC Collection named user subscriptions.
TIP: We chose to trade-in 100% of our seats, but if you don’t need twice as many named user subscriptions, you can consolidate and save by dropping some of your seats at renewal.
Day 8: The day our named user subscription started & user assignment began
On the day our new named user subscriptions started, I received an onboarding email from Autodesk, notifying me that the new subscriptions were available in my Autodesk Account and ready to be assigned to my users. From the day your new subscription begins, you have 30 days to add users to Autodesk Account, assign them to their new subscription, and switch your network license to named user.
TIP: Use the “days left” counter at the top of your Autodesk Account home page to help you keep track.
We already had all of our users in our Autodesk Account because we are also using BIM 360. This made the process easier, as I didn’t need to create all my users. I selected about 30 users at a time to assign to the new license included with their named user subscription. As part of this change, we also decided to upgrade to a Premium plan to take advantage of single sign-on (SSO), among other benefits. After I assigned the users to their new license, I started the SSO configuration process, which took about 2 days to complete. The one issue we came across was finding out that only the primary admin and the SSO admin can set up SSO, not the secondary or SSO admin. At first, I had my secondary admin try to set up SSO, which they were unsuccessful at doing. It slowed down the process slightly until we realized the quick fix.
After configuration, I sent a detailed email to all users, letting them know what to expect and how to sign into their new licenses with their tvsdesign company credentials.
Day 9-30: Switching our network license to named user
Switching over the license from network to named user was pretty easy. During this phase, I sent out communications to all users (I sent multiple communications until the end of the whole process) to make sure they understood the license change. There are several ways to do this. You can either:
- Have your users do it themselves: Users can update their own desktop license in product. To do this, they will need to open their product, select manage license > change license type >, and select single-user.
- You can do it the automated way: You can run tasks that push down to all of your users’ laptops from the license server. But make sure your users are connected to your network, or they won’t receive the changes.
- You can do it manually: You can manually go into Program Data > Autodesk > CLM > LGS folder. The license type that is selected is cached on the laptop. If you delete those files, you force the user to have the opportunity to change their license type. You do this by deleting the LGS folder.
Your process will differ depending on your users – how they learn and how you communicate with them. At tvsdesign, it was important for us to have our users participate in the transition, so they understood that there was an active change taking place. For this reason, we chose option one and had users switch their network license to named user on their own.
Day 20-30: Manually switching over remaining users
After a few weeks, 90-95% of our users had completed the license switch on their own. We did an automated task through the network for the remaining users who still hadn’t switched over.
TIP: When using the manual and automated processes to switch over users, make sure first to retrieve all borrowed licenses (this is especially true for Revit 2020 and 2021). You may need to do a reinstall of the Revit 2020 and 2021 if none of the above options worked.
Day 31: Informing users of the new sign in process
By day 31, we had switched over 100% of our licenses and users to named user. As I mentioned earlier, we also chose to upgrade to the Premium plan at the same time. So, the new authentication process for our users would now be done through single sign-on. I sent out one last email to remind users about the new process.
My peer-to-peer advice
For us, the transition to named user went relatively smoothly. Even before our new normal that resulted from COVID-19, the required VPN connection for our users to get a network license had always been a challenge. We even considered transitioning in late 2019, but other priorities took over. The increased impact we felt with COVID-19 was what prioritized our need to finally transition. For others planning their transition to named user, my top tips to avoid any pitfalls are:
- Have a plan beforehand.
- Prep your IT staff to help with the switch.
- Go through several tests to find the option that works best for your firm.
- Have a backup if something goes wrong.
Preparation before was key for us at tvsdesign, and our users have benefited. To jump-start your preparation, you can review the four-step process or watch the Transition to Named User Webinar to see these steps in action (you can hear me share my experience at the 34-minute mark).
Use our email template to kickstart your transition
Your user communications will vary depending on the method you use to switch over your licenses. If you opt to have your users change their own license (like we did), feel free to use our email templates to kickstart your communications.
— State when the licenses will be switched over and how they will sign into their Autodesk Account. —
Starting immediately, your licenses for any Autodesk products (AutoCAD, Revit, 3DS, etc.) is now tied to your Autodesk Account. You may have also received emails from Autodesk.
— Explain what this change means. —
So, what does this mean? You no longer need to use the VPN to get access to an Autodesk (AutoCAD, Revit, 3DS, etc.) license. You will only need your Autodesk Account and your Internet connection to license your Autodesk products. This will help with some of the connectivity issues that some of you have experienced. In order to license your Autodesk product, you will need to log in with your Autodesk Account.
— Share what users need to do. We opted to have the users change their own licenses. —
To sign in to your Autodesk Account within any Autodesk program, find the sign in option in the top right corner.
You can also log into your Autodesk Desktop application to license all of your Autodesk products.
There are a few steps IT will need you to take:
1. Start your Autodesk software
2. At the upper-right, click the triangle next to your username
3. Select Manage Licenses
4. In the License Manager dialog box, select Manage License Type. The Let’s Get Started screen will appear.
5. Choose your license type. Depending on the version of the program, your selection with differ. For 2020 products, you will select the Sign in with Autodesk Account option. For 2017-2018 you will choose Change License, the program will close, you will reopen the program, and then select Sign In.
For Revit 2019, you will select Change License (the program will close). You will then reopen the program and select Single-User. When you go back and verify your licenses, it will say Autodesk ID or User Commercial.
— Provide further direction in case your users experience any issues —
If you experience any issues, please contact our team!
Have a great day.