In my May article, Creative Suite 6 and the Bottom Line, I described Adobe’s new Creative Cloud (CC) approach-licensing its applications under a subscription model as an alternative to a traditional shrink-wrap license. Benefits include convenience, early access to incremental releases of Creative Suite (CS) applications, as well as access to newer applications not part of CS. What was discussed but not fully defined was the concept of "team licensing."
In a nutshell, CC team members have the same access to Adobe applications as individual CC subscribers, plus additional benefits, including more online storage, increased access to the Typekit Web font library, greater access to one-on-one technical support and troubleshooting, as well as mutual file sharing and collaboration. These benefits are described in the company’s Creative Cloud Team Ready offer. However, as of this writing, many of the team program’s particulars-contrasted with individual CC licenses-are still unclear.
Perhaps the most important aspect of CC team licensing is the ability to transfer a license or seat from one authorized team member to another. Whatever the other advanced features of CC team licenses may be, transferability of seats is a huge benefit for large organizations with a fluid freelance component.
That brings us to the issue of price. An individual CC subscription costs just under $50 per month, while a team subscription will cost just under $70 per month per person. When asked, Adobe spokespersons asserted that the additional benefits of a team subscription (e.g., collaboration features) would be worth the $20 difference. This is an untried assumption, to say the least, given that the full feature set for team subscribers has not been clearly articulated-much less tested for ROI.
When pressed, Adobe officials gave assurances that volume discounts would be part of CC team licensing for large enterprises-including publishers and agencies. Indeed, Creative Suite volume licensing is already a practice for traditional CS licenses. The unanswered question-still-is how large a team must be to quality for Creative Cloud team licensing discounts, and how steep those discounts will be.
The Team offering is scheduled for release this fall, so we expect to see more answers to these questions. Untl then, however, publishers and agency CFOs would be well advised to wait and see.