"Named Users" has frustrated many enterprise users, who see the cost of named users as the biggest barrier that stops them using AGOL or Portal. Should ESRI charge for a "Named User" account? Here is my thought:
Named user in ArcGIS Online is not only the way how ESRI licenses the subscription, it actually a very important (indispensable?) functionality for AGOL/Portal. By grouping these Named Users into Groups, you can restrict access to some contents to specific groups, you can expose different snapshots of your data through web maps to different audiences as well. these pretty powerful features can only be realized by giving each user an identity. Things are even better for the developers, you can have these out-of-box functions by simply configuring your content and sharing them with the predefined groups, you don't need to write one line of code (this may make me redundant very soon, ha.). So, in my view "Named User" is necessary, and it's an indispensable feature for AGOL and Portal.
Although "Named User" is necessary as a functionality, there should be a better way to license it. In many cases Named Users and Groups are only useful when you can implemented them in your project for the whole of your organization: there may be a few content contributors, one or two administrators and many information viewers who may need different access levels to the shared information (all sorts of items). I am not against charging content contributors (publishers) and admins, but you can't justify the cost of a user account that is only going to view the content, particularly for Portal that is sitting inside of your organisation and installed on your own hardware, that just does not make sense. yes I know, we can allow anonymous users to access our content, but as I said: NAMED USER IS A FUNCTIONALITY ! I am afraid the anonymous access will void this important function which allows me to differentiate viewers and give them different snapshot of my contents. Without this built-in access control function, some collaboration workflow is hard to realise, if possible at all.
So what's the ideal user licensing for me? If ESRI can allow free viewer account in the organization or charge them with very low price (much lower than publisher accounts) that will be helpful. For the publisher/admin account, ESRI can charge more for those "premium" accounts, that's fair enough, because they use ESRI hardware resources like disk and computing power etc. but they will pay credits (in AGOL) if they use too much of those resources, will they?
Just a thought, your comments are welcome.