Frontline Systems has released a wide range of product enhancements throughout 2021, and throughout 2020 and every previous year. As of October 1, 2021, we've made several product line changes and pricing adjustments, that you might not have noted if you aren't regularly reading our blog posts and press releases. This post is meant to summarize our most recent changes -- and encourage you to read the blog posts prior to this one!
Product Line Changes
We have discontinued the product named Analytic Solver Basic for commercial use (it remains available for use only in university courses). In its place, we have introduced a product named Analytic Solver Academy: This is a “bundle” of all four of our Solver.Academy courses (formerly $395 each) for just $495 total per year. This is a great enhancement for any Analytic Solver version: Analytic Solver Upgrade, Optimization, Simulation, Data Mining, or Analytic Solver Comprehensive. If you have colleagues who don’t have an Analytic Solver license, they will get a “Basic” license with Analytic Solver Academy, with the same (low) problem size limits as the old Analytic Solver Basic.
We have discontinued selling separately the products named XLMiner SDK Pro and XLMiner SDK Platform. In their place, we have introduced a product named Solver SDK Comprehensive, which includes all the capabilities of our Solver SDK Platform product and our XLMiner SDK Platform product, at a 37.5% lower price than the sum of these two products. You can think of this as the SDK (Software Development Kit) counterpart to Analytic Solver Comprehensive, at a bargain price (for now). When you download and run our SDKSetup program, all the components needed for Solver SDK and XLMiner SDK – optimization, simulation and data mining – are installed.
We have introduced four new annual licenses for our RASON Cloud Service: RASON Optimization, RASON Simulation, RASON Data Mining, and RASON Comprehensive. While RASON has capabilities that go beyond Analytic Solver, you can think of these as the “cloud decision service counterparts” of Analytic Solver Optimization, Analytic Solver Simulation, Analytic Solver Data Mining, and Analytic Solver Comprehensive. If you want to deploy your model – make it easily available to other users, and easily usable within other applications as a decision service – RASON is for you.
A note on cloud computing usage: Most of our customers realize by now (it's been true since mid 2019) that every Analytic Solver license gives you access to both Analytic Solver Desktop – a traditional "COM add-in" for Excel for Windows, and Analytic Solver Cloud – a "modern Office add-in" that works in Excel for Windows, Excel for Macintosh, and Excel for the Web. When you use Analytic Solver Cloud, models are solved (optimization, simulation, machine learning operations are performed) on Frontline-supplied "cloud servers" (CPUs, memory, disks) running on Azure. After studying usage patterns over hundreds of thousands of "solves", we have adjusted limits on the number of "solves" and CPU minutes included free with each Analytic Solver license, as well as the same limits included free with each RASON license (these are 10X higher than their Analytic Solver counterparts).
There are some other, smaller changes, including a modernized Premium Solver product that is a subset of Analytic Solver Upgrade; for details on this, please contact us at email@example.com. Please note that all Analytic Solver versions (but not Premium Solver) continue to include access to our optimization, Monte Carlo simulation, data mining and machine learning, business rule and decision table features with “basic” size limits.
We have adjusted – and simplified – our pricing across our product line. For many or most customers and most products, there's no change in our first-year software license prices. There are some price decreases as noted above with Analytic Solver Academy and Solver SDK Comprehensive; there are also some price increases, notably in our renewal license prices after the first year. Even here, this is our first price change in nearly seven years as we've repeatedly added power and functionality – and we offer existing customers opportunities to “beat” the increases.
- We have eliminated Initial License Fees (aka Setup Charges) on all of our products.
- We've made our license prices the same every year, and equal to our former first-year prices.
- We're offering two-year and three-year license prices at very significant discounts to "one year at a time".
- We're offering special transition pricing to customers who have existing subscriptions as of October 1, 2021.
- We're pretty transparent with our prices: See our Excel Product Prices here and our SDK Product Prices here.
If you're reading this, especially as an existing customer, and wondering exactly what this means for you, please contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have good news for you, but our best deals are available to those who can move quickly, between now and January 31, 2022.
We've implemented one other change, which is a matter of “presentation and sales practice”, not an actual price change: For a number of years, we've had two price lists, one based on our Standard Terms and Conditions, and one for companies that do not accept our Standard Terms, and instead impose their own Custom Terms and Conditions – whether through a Purchase Order with extensive preprinted contract terms, or through a separate software license agreement different from our own. Our prices for orders with Custom Terms and Conditions have always been 25% higher than our prices for orders accepting our Standard Terms and Conditions; stated another way, our prices for Standard Terms are 20% lower than our prices for Custom Terms.
Because our software is most often used by large enterprises – who derive a larger business benefit and ROI thanks to their size – and these firms almost always have procurement processes where Custom Terms and Conditions are routinely employed, we're now leading with our Custom Terms and Conditions pricing, and offering our Standard Terms and Conditions 20% discount pricing to any customer – large or small – willing to (i) prepay with a credit card or check and (ii) accept our Standard Terms and Conditions. Compared to most enterprise software, our products are much easier to use, faster to realized value, and inexpensive enough to be purchased on a company credit card or by check. We are simply offering a clear advantage to companies willing to purchase this way.