The Long Tail of Application Usage

A long tail is a distribution of some data point where a few data point have a high value, but most of the data points have a much lower value. When sorting the data points by value, there will be a large “head” and a long “tail”.

Application usage displays the “long tail” characteristic: A few screens are used much more than others.

Long tail of app usage

If you are re-developing your application, for example moving from Oracle Forms to ADF, focus on the head – the 10% of the application that is used 90% of the time.

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2 thoughts on “The Long Tail of Application Usage

  1. Found your site when researching the cost of Oracle perpetual vs term licensing. In your article, you assumed the user would renew the term license under the same terms (e.g., a 2-year term renewed under another 2-year term). In a more realistic scenario, a user tries to predict the expected useful life of the software; if they underestimated this duration, they would typically renew for shorter terms to cover the additional time needed. So, the user under a 5-year term might only need a couple of years more, and would renew under a 1- or 2-year term instead. That cost model changes the comparison dramatically.

    1. You’re correct that I present a simplified scenario. Under your more realistic scenarios, the organization would pay 90% for 5+1 and 105% for 5+2. Buying your own license does present the possibility of overpaying if you get the life of the software wrong – if you have great uncertainty, the option to buy Oracle cloud services might be the way to go today.

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