Surviving a Business Software License Audit Failure

For the software asset manager, there is only one letter worse than receiving notice of an upcoming IBM audit – the one that tells you that you’ve just failed a business software license audit. The unfortunate reality is that unless you (and your predecessors) have been maintaining exceptional records, there is a very good chance of failing an audit.

There are two things to be aware of when the failed audit letter arrives.

1. Your professionalism will be called into question

As the individual responsible for maintaining business software license counts, the blame for a failed audit will naturally land on your shoulders. One of your key duties is to ensure you have enough licenses to cover the installed user base.

You already know that the software licensing buck stops with you. But theoretical knowledge, and experiencing the fall-out of a failed audit are two different things. For the SAM, surviving a failed audit is an exercise in mental fortitude – at the personal level.

2. IBM will send a big bill

A failed audit is inevitably accompanied by a very large bill – probably larger than you expect. First, you will be expected to pay for the missing licenses, almost certainly without any kind of discount applied.

Second, there will be a software maintenance contract tacked on to cover the new licenses. Again, there will not be any kind of preferential pricing applied.

Prepare to fail

With high penalties for failing an IBM software audit, it makes sense to prepare for the worst in advance. Ironically, these preparations will go a long way to preparing you mentally for failure – at least you will know you have done everything possible to minimize fall out.

1. Get your records in order

The importance of maintaining accurate records of business software licenses cannot be understated – indeed, we repeat that message regularly here at Origina. Using IBM®’s Passport Advantage portal as your starting point, you must create your own asset database that records where licenses are being used, and how many are in/out of circulation.

By finding discrepancies in advance, you can get ahead of the IBM audit – and any potential fall-out.

2. Review your IBM maintenance agreement

What does your choice of software maintenance provider have to do with an IBM software audit? More than you might think.

Choosing to partner with an independent IBM third-party support provider cannot protect you from an audit. Nor can your partner help you to avoid buying licenses to make up for a shortfall. But they can help to insulate against maintenance costs.

With the world’s leading IBM third-party support specialists, Origina, every IBM support contract offered comes with a special guarantee. Should you fail an audit, the cost of your maintenance contract will not increase until the next review. This will help to soften the financial blow of a failed IBM audit– and it will also help to reduce the fallout with your CFO.

Act now

The only proper way to survive a failed IBM audit is to prepare for it in advance. Yes, there will still be problems, but you can help to minimize their impact, for your business and for you personally. Oh and don’t fall for any of the BS myths about licenses and IBM audits.

It is also worth noting that dropping IBM software support may be a particularly good strategic move to help survive future audits. To learn more about Origina’s IBM third-party support services – and our maintenance contract guarantee – please get in touch.


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