The finance director may not know exactly what the software asset manager does – but they are well aware that it costs money. Indeed, a quick check of the SAM’s cost centre will show that not only does it cost, but those costs continue to rise every year.
Unsurprisingly, the SAM comes under pressure every year to better control costs so that any savings can be diverted into other strategic projects. The trouble is that everything, from IBM’s cycle-driven upgrade sales model, to the wording in the actual maintenance contract, is stacked against the software asset manager.
Faced with the constant threat of an IBM audit, the SAM ploughs ahead and buys new business software licenses. You’ve got the budget, so why not spend it - better safe than sorry, right?
But there is a better way.
Get your records straight
The most common cause of IBM software audit failures is inefficient record keeping. An effective SAM will try and maintain an internal register of all business software licenses, but for an enterprise-class organisation operating across multiple sites, this can be a particularly complicated affair.
Ultimately, the SAM must invest time and resources into auditing licenses, defining exactly how many licenses are owned, and where the applications have been deployed. This preparation provides a good opportunity to get your environment in order before the inevitable IBM audit.
Consideration IBM audits tend to happen every 2-3 years, this is not something that you should not file away until the last minute each time.
Bonus tip: The IBM Passport Advantage portal contains full details of every license you own – and it is this definitive copy of the licensing data that an IBM audit will use as its reference point.
Does this mean you can forget about maintaining an internal software register? Absolutely not. Passport Advantage only records details of your IBM business software licenses; as a matter of principle you should maintain similar records for applications and licenses from other vendors too.
Know your licensing rights
Licenses and contracts are notoriously complicated to read and understand. Some experts would argue that major vendors like IBM® deliberately obfuscate key information to confuse their customers, providing added incentive to keep them tied into the OEM-defined upgrade cycle.
But to control future costs, you must understand what you are entitled to. Most IBM applications are sold under a perpetual license for instance, allowing you to retain full ownership and the right to continue using your software after official OEM support is withdrawn.
It’s also worth noting that despite the dire warnings of your IBM account manager, you are not obligated to renew your maintenance contracts in perpetuity. You are completely free to take out a competing contract with an IBM third party support provider whenever you choose.
You must familiarise yourself with the terms of your licenses and contracts if you want to reduce ongoing costs and maintain the same stable application infrastructure you currently rely on. Rather than studying for a law degree however, you should give us a call. Origina offers a unique IBM product information platform that highlights the key terms and conditions you need to be aware of, cutting through the legal jargon and confusion so you can make informed strategic decisions about your business software licenses.
Choose an understanding partner
Your choice of partner will determine the outcome and focus of an IBM® software audit. IBM are keen to sell more licenses – and maintenance contract tops ups – so they will do everything possible to trip you up.
IBM third party support from Origina takes a different approach. When agreeing a software maintenance contract, we ask for an accurate estimate as to license usage in your organisation. If you then go on to fail an IBM audit, you will have to buy new licenses to cover the shortfall, but we won’t gouge you for additional maintenance costs. Additionally by understanding what software licenses you have, you can investigate what they are used for and understand how long into the future you will need them. Ultimately, we will ensure you won’t pay a penny more for the duration of the maintenance contract. Which will be just what your CFO wants to hear.
Cutting through the bull
Key to avoiding unnecessary purchases of IBM licenses is transparency, knowing what you have and what your options are. Sadly transparency does seem to be high on IBM’s agenda.
To avoid failing the dreaded IBM audit, you must (a) educate yourself about current assets, (b) understand your contractual rights regarding those packages, and (c) partner with an IBM third party support provider who can not only provide maintenance services, but also help you define a cost-effective software strategy moving forwards.
To learn more about licensing rights, Passport Advantage or IBM third party support, please give us a call today.