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Upgrading to Adobe Creative Cloud

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Upgrading to Adobe CC

There are a number of changes within Adobe’s licensing metric for Adobe Creative Cloud, and they have re-organised the software bundles. We have posted a number of documents and licensing guides for Adobe Creative Cloud, including Adobe Licensing Quick Guide 2014, Creative Cloud – A look into the crystal ball and The Pros and Cons of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Hopefully you have read the articles mentioned above, so you should be familiar with Adobe Creative Cloud. This isn’t a cloud application, you still need to install and deploy the software on machines, merely the updates and patches are provided by Adobe through the cloud, plus they allow each user a set amount of cloud storage (based on your contract).

There are a number of steps that each organisation needs to go through when upgrading to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The following hints and tips are based on my experiences with Adobe CC, and what happened when I helped an organisation migrate to the new software and license metrics.

Upgrade processes

Firstly, you need some sort of discovery or SAM tool in place to see what current Adobe products are installed within your estate. Secondly, 3 months worth of reliable usage stats are then required to ensure you have trusted data in deciding which users should have which licenses moving forward.

There are a number of stages that you need to go through when identifying CC licenses for your users:

  1. Look at the current Adobe install base and usage
  2. Understand the changes in Adobe packages for CC. Also, take into account that the license types are based on users, not devices
  3. Identify those users who only need a single license for a single application (e.g Photoshop, InDesign, Muse etc)
  4. Identify the users who require CC suites. Look at their usage of previous Adobe suites to get an idea of what CC suite they require. Did they have Design Suite Standard installed, but only use one or two elements? This is a good time to ensure you do not overspend on Adobe licenses
  5. Create a document highlighting the number of users required for each new CC product. Ensure you are measuring this by user, and not device!

Whilst we have summarised the process down into 5 stages, it is a long and complex task (time and complexity obviously depends on the size of your organisation!). It took months for me to do the above work for a 16,000-seat organisation, with a lot of collaboration with users and deployment staff. I relied heavily on a SAM tool to look at current installs and usage before defining the new licenses that each user should have, and it took a lot of cross referencing between the old Adobe bundles and the new bundles to ensure everyone got the Adobe applications that they required.

User account management

Adobe Creative Cloud comes with ‘AdobeID’ logins for each user. The license assigned to the user is attached to their AdobeID login details, and also relates to the personal storage that they are allowed to use. Furthermore, the AdobeID allows users to access their Adobe software from other machines (other than their own) but logging on using their AdobeID details. Remember, this is allowed as the licensing is now by user and not device, although users are limited to installing/using Adobe software on up to 5 machines.

In essence, like Microsoft, this means that users can use their work AdobeID for using Adobe products at home. Organisations need to have a process in place for managing this to ensure that any leavers can no longer access software provided by the organisation. Incorporating the closure of an AdobeID account should be part of the leaver’s process.

Furthermore, whilst upgrading users to Adobe CC I encountered a number of problems in relation to firewall issues and allowing our security systems to automatically update CC applications. You may have to talk to your security team to ensure that Adobe CC has all of the accesses and rights it needs to access ‘cloud’ based services.

Deployment

The deployment process is the same as previous versions of Adobe as a local installer still needs to be deployed to computers. The ‘cloud’ element in relation to the actual software is that some updates and patches can be pushed to machines via the cloud, however as we will mention in due course, the ‘major’ updates or releases will need to be re-packaged and re-deployed by an organisations packing and deployment team.

Updates or patches 

At the time in which I was upgrading to CC, Adobe could not give us a schedule for updates or patches. This may have changed, but at the time it was a pain for our packaging team. Deciding when to update and repackage ended up being a bit of a gamble, and we had to assess the time it would take to repackage and redeploy the updated versions of the software against that value add that the updates would have on our users.

We have conducted some research and still cannot find a diary or schedule online that provides dates and details of the coming years updates and patches for Adobe Creative Cloud. Customers may be able to get hold of some sort of rough schedule, but it is not out there in the public domain. We would suggest that CC organisations create their own diary for packaging updates for CC. So, for example, set a 3 or 6-month time scale for each update, so the packaging guys will package the latest version at that point in time, regardless of what is to be released by Adobe over the next few weeks. Until Adobe provides more and better quality information, we don’t see any other way for planning Adobe CC updates.

Should I upgrade to CC? 

It depends on your organisation and how much you rely on Adobe products. If you want the latest versions of Adobe products and security patches and regular updates then yes, you should upgrade. However, if you were open to alternative software vendors then I would look around for a cheaper alternative that will work for your organisation.

There are a number of PDF creators and writers on the market, and there are a number of photo and video editing software. It’s the more bespoke applications that finding an alternative could cause some issues. The likes of Muse, Fireworks, InDesign and Dreamweaver are pretty unique to Adobe, so if your organisation are heavy users of applications like the above than it may be best for you to move to Creative Cloud. 

Do you have experience in upgrading to Adobe’s Creative Cloud? If so, please leave a comment below to share your opinions on the best way to upgrade to Adobe’s (reasonably) new licensing model and software bundles.

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About David Foxen

David Foxen is a Software Asset Management expert and enthusiast. He had a vast experience of successfully implementing SAM, SAM tools and also made huge cost savings. A member of the ISO Standards WG21, David is a massive ITAM geek, so uses any opportunity to talk about the subject to who-ever will listen. He believes that the industry needs to share its knowledge and success stories to help the SAM industry mature and become more effective. Always willing to help, his primary goal is to make a difference to organisations and the SAM industry so everyone will know how epic SAM is!

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