A More Flexible Approach to IBM Software Maintenance

Not getting everything you need from your OEM maintenance and support contract but are hesitant to switch providers? If so, you could be hindering your company’s bottom line.

IBM software drives many businesses across the globe. Despite several well-documented issues with the OEM and with megavendors in general, some companies are still hesitant to explore alternative support and maintenance methods.

Contrary to what some believe, a move to third-party software maintenance (TPSM) will not diminish the capabilities of your IBM estate. Rather, it can add a more innovative, flexible, and tailored approach to support and maintenance that the OEM seldom offers.

Here are three myths about working with a TPSM provider and the reasons these inaccuracies are inhibiting your organization’s future growth.

Security Fixes and Protection

You’ve purchased your software licenses, so you’ll receive security fixes and patches for the lifetime of the software, right?

Unfortunately, no, that’s not always true.

You must sign up for a support contract with the OEM after the first year of purchase to have access to megavendor security fixes and patches. And, regardless of the number of software licenses you have or the terms of your support contract, most OEMs will not supply security fixes for software versions that have reached end of support (EOS) or end of life (EOL).

Older version software can still be used to support certain applications but will no longer be supported by the megavendors without a customized support agreement and an additional fee, according to Gartner in its “Market Guide for Independent Third-Party Software Support for Megavendors.”

“Evaluate [third-party software support] TPSS services to support these older-version products, which is a standard service performed by most TPSS providers,” Gartner states. “Engaging a TPSS vendor in this scenario can result in an average 50% cost reduction from the current software vendor’s standard maintenance and support fees.”

Most OEMs will not supply security fixes for software versions that have reached end of support (EOS) or end of life (EOL).

Software License Audits

Software OEMs cannot target you simply because you have chosen to leave them. That would constitute anti-competitive practices, and they could face legal action. However, it’s likely you will be audited whether you move to a TPSM provider or not because audits are large revenue generators for megavendors, especially since IBM licensing is complex and companies can face steep additional fees for noncompliance with IBM licensing rules.

“People tend to renew software licenses without even thinking about it,” says Guy Tritton, General Counsel, Chief Risk Officer, and Data Protection Officer at Origina. “Licensing metrics change for IBM software. Make sure to double check each year when renewing.”

Some IBM third-party software maintenance providers offer license audit support and consultation services. Delivered by ex-IBM license auditors, this Audit Defense Service can guide you through an IBM license audit to ensure a successful outcome. These experts can give insight into the tactics used during an audit to help customers avoid being pushed into a commercial settlement. This includes a review of your compliance position, an assessment of potential exposure, and advice on how to limit the scope of the audit.

Support equal to OEM

One of the main reasons IT and procurement leaders are hesitant to switch to IBM third-party software maintenance is fear of losing access to OEM expertise. That’s understandable, but megavendor customers also often struggle to get support from OEM technicians who are familiar with the software they run, especially for older versions that have reached EOS or EOL.

In contrast with OEM models that are allocated on a task-by-task basis, some TPSM providers like Origina operate on a concierge support model. Each of our 600+ independent Global IBM Experts (GIEs) are subject matter experts and software engineers for the products we support. Each has decades of experience working with their specific products. In fact, many of our GIEs were the original architects and developers behind the solutions you use every day.

We assign a primary and secondary GIE for each product. The same GIEs working with the same customers to help make the issue resolution process quicker. Since the GIEs are already familiar with their customers’ environment, they can jump right in and fix the issue in a timely manner.

Want to learn more?

Our “A Practical Guide to IBM Third-Party Software Maintenance” explores what TPSM can do for your IT estate and the added benefits of moving away from the traditional break-fix model toward a strategic partnership with a company who can help extend the life and value of IBM software as well as maintain it.

A Practical Guide to IBM Third-Party Software Maintenance - What's best for your business?


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