For those buying from Salesforce you might be approached to consider a RUL – Restricted Use License (also referred to as a Restricted SKU). Why should you look at a RUL? Well, it’s a way to get a Salesforce license at a reduced cost. Sounds great – sign me up! Slow down, there is a catch. A RUL has a subset of features compared to a regular Professional, Enterprise or Unlimited License. Before you balk at RULs, let me give you some things to consider.
Salesforce uses RULs to address scenarios where you have a group of users with a limited or specific use case. The customer can’t justify the cost of a full license and a RUL license allows Salesforce to come to the table with a solution (i.e. “right size” the license for the requirement). Before you think you can convince your Salesforce AE to just create you a “one-off” RUL during your annual contract renewal cycle, let me stop you right now. RULs are rare and from my understanding require the Product Team’s involvement to create and bless. From what I’m seeing, they are meant to address specific use cases seen in an industry or a large customer segment and are not created to address the needs of a single customer. Being that ShellBlack specializes in Financial Service Cloud (FSC), we’re used to working with RULs (e.g. Bank Teller and Grow Client Relationships Fast Start licenses are RULs for FSC).
Why have I never heard of a Restricted Use License?
You’re not going to see much (if any) information about RULs on the Salesforce website. To me that makes sense, as it would only add confusion to 99% of Salesforce prospects. Only Salesforce anoraks like us find these little details fascinating. Also, you can imagine if RULs were more prevalent, this would likely create a huge internal burden for Salesforce with customer support, maintaining documentation, training 10K+ salespeople, etc. As a customer, if your Account Executive does not see a fit or identify a need, you’ll never hear of a RUL.
What’s the difference between a RUL and a Force.com or Platform license?
“Right sizing” license cost is not a new concept for Salesforce. It goes back almost a decade to the days of Force.com and Platform licenses (variations of these licenses are still available today in the form of Lightning Platform Licenses). At this point you may be thinking, well a RUL must just be variation of a Force.com or Platform license? Actually no. The difference is that a Restricted Use License is a contractually restricted license. Force.com and Platform licenses are physically (natively?) restricted. Still confused? Let me explain this a bit further. When you are dealing with a Force.com or Platform license, the license literally does not have access to certain objects (see the screen shot below of a Platform License). When creating a Profile for a user that is based on a Force.com or Platform license certain objects are flat out missing – there is no way to enable or expose them. With a RUL being a contractual restriction, access is available, but the User is neutered (made to comply?) through either a Permission Set (as with a Bank Teller License in Financial Services Cloud) or it’s simply up to the System Administrator to create a Custom Profile that does not contain any features or grant access to objects that are outside what is specified in a RUL.
Notice in the screenshot below of a Platform license, many Standard Objects are missing (e.g. Leads, Opportunities, Cases, Campaigns, etc.).
If you buy a RUL, be sure to stay “In the box”
I know that sounds like it can be hard to enforce a RUL, and it is. We’ve known clients that have been “busted” by Salesforce using features they were not entitled to with a RUL. I doubt this is malicious, but rather a case of a System Admin trying to solve a problem and didn’t realize they crossed the line (it would be safe to assume that most System Admins have never seen their company’s Salesforce contract). Not surprising, break out of the RUL box and you’re likely to find yourself in a sales conversation with a Salesforce Account Executive. Yes, RULs are enforced. If you use the features you have to pay for them!
Lastly, a couple of public examples of contractually restricted licenses. When Desk.com hit EOL (End of Life) Salesforce used a RUL to transition customers from Desk to Service Cloud. Small fact, did you know there are contractual restrictions for Lightning Sales and Service Cloud – surprise!