IBM SPSS Stat Licensing Options

IBM SPSS Stat Options
June 3rd, 2020

Options for Buying IBM SPSS Statistics

Are you an IBM SPSS Statistics user or looking to buy SPSS Stat?  Then you must read this because IBM has changed their licensing model over the years, and you might be on the wrong licensing model!  There are many options for buying IBM SPSS Statistics.  IBM offers SPSS Stat as a subscription often called a SaaS model or the traditional on-premise licensing model.  Below I will explain the difference and things you might want to consider. 

Click here for more information on SPSS Stat.

IBM SPSS Stat as Subscription or On-premise Licensing

The SaaS, subscription model is really a hybrid SaaS approach.  You download and install the software on your machine, but your user access, entitlements and features are managed in the cloud.  The benefit is that it eliminated the need for authorization codes.  Since the software is on your machine you do not have to worry about your data being in the cloud, as it does not leave your machine. 

Benefits of SaaS SPSS Stat

Get Updates Faster - There are several benefits of SPSS Stat as a SaaS offering.  In addition to not having to deal with authorization codes, the updates are made more frequently and will be downloaded to your desktop.  So, you can get the enhancements sooner than if you had the on-premise licensing. 

Multiple Users - If you have multiple users of SPSS Stat the subscription licensing model may be a better fit.  You can enable as many users as you need for your team.  Where it makes life easier is that if you have a change in team members and need to reassign a license.  With the SaaS model you have user management features that simplify this process.  You can also easily move your subscription to a different machine. Check out this article for reference. 

Manage Devices

SPSS Stat Add Ons - Do you use advanced statistics, complex sampling and testing, or decision trees?  No worries, with SPSS Stat subscription you can add on the additional modules.  For help with the functionality including the various modules, email and we will provide you an easy to use cheat sheet of functionality.

How long do I get access to SPSS Stat? - In the SPSS Stat subscription model, you will have access to the updates and new releases as long as your subscription is active.  But note, if you discontinue or let the subscription lapse you will lose access. This is different than on-premise licensing as stated below.

IBM SPSS Stat On-premise Licensing

The alternative to SPSS Stat subscription is called on-premise licensing. This is the more traditional model of licensing.  For anyone that purchased before 2017, this is probably the model you are on.  But that does not mean that’s what you should be on! 

What is On-Premise SPSS?

On-Premise SPSS Stat licenses are considered an asset.  You purchase the software as a capital expense and then every year you renew and pay for support. The support subscription fees for SPSS Stat give you access to IBM support, patches, and updates, but only if you are current on support.  If you discontinue support, not recommended, you still own the asset and can use it, but you will not have access to updates.

Two Versions of On-Premise SPSS Stat

Just to add a little more complexity, it is important to note that IBM offers two different versions of what they call on-premise licenses for SPSS Stat.  One is called Fixed Term.  In fixed term you only get to use it for the term of the contract, usually a year.  So, it is almost like it is on premise but expires. The annual fee for this is usually less than purchasing the asset but if you plan to use SPSS Stat for 3+ years, it is typically cheaper long term to purchase the asset.  Additionally, the fixed term licenses for SPSS Stat is typically not a capital expense because you do not own an asset, but rather an operating expense. 

If you need help with support Lodestar’s team can help you determine if you should stay with your current licensing or if moving to the subscription model is a better option. Contact us at

Here a link to a previous blog on renewals. 

What type of SPSS Stat license should you buy? 

As we explained there are several options for buying IBM SPSS Statistics.  The type of license that is best for you, subscription or on-premise depends on your unique organization needs.  I know you hate that answer, but it is true.  But here is the good news.  Our Lodestar team members can help you determine what the best fit is!  We will give you your options, explain the difference and help you save money.  What are you waiting for?   Even if you have no clue what type of license you have, we can help decode your IBM SPSS and Analytic licenses.  Just contact us at

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