Software audits and business software license management is something of a dark art. The inherent complexity of licensing means that even experienced software asset managers are sometimes caught out. In fact, even your IBM account manager probably doesn’t fully understand the exact terms of the applications you use.
As a result, myths, legends and some complete BS have sprung up about licenses and IBM audits. Here are five that you really need to know the truth about right now:
1. A vendor can force you to buy new licenses
The contract between you and IBM is for a specific application, with a specific number of accompanying licenses. Typically you need one license per active user of the application or other (arbitrary) measurement method.
For example, if you have a rotating pool of employees accessing the application, they can often share licenses so long as concurrent users do not exceed total license count. However you do not need a license per user.
If you do fail an IBM software audit, however, you will be asked to purchase new licenses to cover the shortfall. You will also be expected to pay for two years worth of retrospective maintenance for those licenses.
2. A vendor can force you to upgrade
As your software nears end of life, IBM will begin to exert significant pressure in an attempt to force an upgrade to a newer version. Indeed, end of service life is often presented as a non-negotiable, unavoidable event – and upgrading is the only option available.
The truth is that you own perpetual licenses, so you can use your software for as long as you like – even after end of service life is reached. The only issue you may face is that IBM will not provide any support or maintenance for these older application versions.
You have complete control over the upgrade process – including the decision not to upgrade.
3. License management is straightforward
If license management was easy, the role of software asset manager would not exist. But the fast-pace of modern business means that applications are installed, uninstalled, moved, retired, archived and re-activated on a regular basis.
Keeping track of these moves is incredibly complex – and one of the reasons so many businesses fail an IBM audit. But no matter how complicated you find software license management you must bring your records up-to-date – or prepare to fail every future business software audit too.
And if any doubt at all, don’t hesitate to contact Origina about our IBM License Audit Services.
4. License audits can be avoided
IBM audits are drain on time and resources – which is why SAMs work hard to avoid them. Some believe that by keeping your head down, following the IBM-defined upgrade path and making all the purchases recommended by their account manager will help them avoid a business software license audit.
On paper, this sounds logical – but in reality, it is completely ridiculous. Eventually, your business will be subject to an IBM software audit. Rather than trying to avoid audits, you should devote your time and resources to keeping accurate records and maintain license compliance.
5. A third party can protect you from an IBM software audit
A third party like Origina can help prepare you for an IBM audit, but they cannot prevent a visit from Big Blue. Any organization making these kinds of promises is telling outright lies.
This is not to say that third parties cannot help. Origina provide post-warranty support services for your older IBM applications for instance. We also provide extensive advice about IBM licensing and how best to maintain compliance.
Most businesses find that these value-add services more than compensate for the inconvenience of an IBM audit.