The meteoric rise of Software as a Service has radically altered the way we do business – and buy applications. But as much as some processes evolve, others remain the same. No matter how you buy software, there remain three certainties in the SAM’s life – death, taxes and IBM® software audits.
SaaS – making software management easier. Or not.
Hosted software is supposed to make asset management easier. A fixed monthly per-user contract ensures that every user is properly licensed when they use SaaS applications – including those from IBM®. If a new user account is created, your subscription increases by one; de-enrol an account, and your bill reduces accordingly.
And the fact is that SaaS licensing works brilliantly for you and the provider. There’s no risk of buying extra licenses “just in case”, and you only pay for what you use.
SaaS does not mean the end of IBM® audits
No matter how much of your estate has been migrated to the Cloud – even IBM®’s own hosted applications – IBM® auditors will eventually arrive on site to check license coverage of your remaining on-site assets. Legacy systems may be maintained for archival purposes – but they must still be licensed correctly.
Most legacy IBM® applications are sold with a perpetual license, so you can use them indefinitely – but they will still conduct audits to verify that you are not exceeding your maximum license count or usage terms. If you do fail an audit, you will be required to purchase new licenses to cover the shortfall. In the event that you are using a post-warranty or End of Support (EoS) version, you will also have to pay additional (extended) support costs to IBM®.
Be a scout – be prepared
IBM® audits are conducted using your Passport Advantage records as the baseline. Passport Advantage (PA) records full details of every application purchase your business has ever made, including application, version and license count. You must familiarise yourself with the PA portal – and the license counts recorded there.
WARNING: An IBM® audit is about more than raw license count
You should also take some time to understand what each license entitles you to do with the application. Just because you have the correct number of licenses, does not mean you are fully compliant.
Obviously the specific terms of your licenses tend to be quite hard to find, buried in pages of complex legalese. In the event that you are unable to find specific details you should contact Origina. We maintain a database of every license for every product – and our licensing experts typically understand the ins-and-outs of each application better than your IBM® account manager.
Once you know what you are supposed to have, you have an official statement against which to compare your own records. Where you identify a shortfall, it is far better (and cheaper) to purchase additional licenses before failing an audit.
Getting your affairs in order
When it comes to death and taxes, forward planning and preparation helps to mitigate the impact of these unavoidable events. The same is also true of IBM® software audits; investing time and resources in advance will help to minimise potentially negative outcomes.