Does Third-Party Support Increase the Risk of an Audit?

Software Asset Management  •   2 mins read

There are many reasons why businesses are fearful of choosing IBM third-party support. Does the provider have sufficient experience? Can they provide similar response times? Will they really deliver on their cost-saving promises? 

But there is one concern that lingers – by choosing third-party support are you more likely to be selected for a “random” IBM software audit?

Every SAM’s IBM audit nightmare

Understandably, every software asset manager hates business software license audits, regardless of who the vendor is. Disruptive, stressful and generally quite costly, an IBM audit is best avoided.

Which raises the question – does taking out a third-party maintenance contract increase the risk of being subject to an IBM audit?

The truth is, no one quite knows. In theory, changing support provider should make no difference at all – audits should still be random (unless there has been a report of licensing non-compliance). But there are still plenty of stories from SAMs who claim to have been targeted for an IBM software audit after changing maintenance provider – or ending maintenance entirely.

Depending on who you talk to, there may be a slightly increased chance of being selected for an audit.

Every SAM’s worst IBM audit nightmare

A visit from the auditors can be stressful. But the very worst SAM nightmare is an audit. The trouble of preparing reports and license counts is nothing compared to the financial and political fall-out that follows.

First, IBM will demand that the shortfall in licenses is rectified immediately. They will also insist that those new licenses are covered by a new software maintenance contract. The cost of failure quickly spirals out of control.

Once IBM is appeased, the in-house blame game begins. As the person responsible for ensuring licensing compliance, the SAM will come under heavy criticism for allowing the situation to arise in the first place. It could be that a failed IBM audit results in job losses.

Which further emphasizes why everyone would rather not have the auditors pay a visit.

Protecting yourself against a failed IBM software audit

There are three certainties in life – death, taxes and business software license audits. No matter how hard you try, auditors will pay a visit eventually, whether you use IBM third-party support or not. But there are ways to protect your business – even if you do fail a check.

When partnering with Origina for instance, our contracts are based on your own IBM license estimates. Should IBM use your defection to a third-party maintenance provider as an excuse to trigger an audit, we have your back – even if you go on to fail the check.

We may not be able to protect you against the cost of buying new licenses – but we can help to reduce the financial impact of failure. Our maintenance contract costs are fixed for the duration, so any license shortfall will not trigger a financial penalty. Once you partner with Origina for support, any additional licenses will be added to the existing contract, subject to the same level of coverage as those included in the original estimate.

An audit may still be stressful – but you can minimize the fallout.

To learn more about the Origina audit guarantee – and how we can help you survive an IBM audit – please get in touch with us.

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