If you plan to use software and certain online services, one need to make sure that they have the correct and up-to-date licenses for them to use it. Also, regular checks should be made to ensure that you are not paying license fees for software and services that you no longer using. Both of these scenarios can save your business financially, and you will face software compliance issues if you don’t have the up-to-date software licensing.

Changing Requirements

Over a period of time, business processes changes rapidly and with-it software requirements adjust and alter, so whether its applications hosted on your own servers, or cloud-based applications or Software as a Service (SaaS) that one need to regularly audit in order to remain absolutely compliant to it. At times, many software providers do ensure that appropriate licenses are purchased, however, there are often differences in the types of licenses available and regularly companies have the wrong kind and so run the risk of being financially penalized.

As an example, if a user moves their software services to servers with a higher power rating, they may incur increased license costs without realizing its implications. Another typical scenario is when your software is uploaded to test and development servers, most users do not realize that a further license is required for certain products which don’t include non-production environments in their license entitlement usage. At times, when software is uninstalled or no longer required, license costs will continue to be paid unless they are cancelled. Thus, changes in software license requirements may also arise due to organizational restructure or even reallocation of resources as a whole.

Juggling with jargon

A further complication in the IBM licensing model is the way it categorizes its products and licenses.

Products are further categorized as :

  • Infrastructure Software
  • Operating Systems
  • Development Tools (Rational)
  • Databases (IBM DB2)
  • Middleware WebSphere
  • Watson
  • Watson Customer Engagement (Marketing & E-commerce)
  • Analytics (Cognos, TM1 – Planning Analytics, SPSS)
  • Network/Systems Management

License models include:

Authorized User

  • User Value Units
  • Processor Value Units
  • Resource Value Units

Other licensing arrangements that one should be aware of is that of:

Full capacity licensing

Where sufficient licensing is required to cover all the physical processors that actively run within the server and where the software is installed.

Sub and Virtual-capacity licensing

It is a software licensing technique that covers less than the full capacity of the server or group of servers, required when using multi-core chip and virtualization technologies. In this situation IBM’s ILMT (IBM License Metric Tool) must be used to monitor and report on the license usage.

What is the cost of Incorrect Licensing?

The penalties for holding an incorrect license appears to be a punishable offense, and if IBM audit a company and they are found to hold an exceed license usage, the non-compliant organization will, have to pay at least two years of maintenance costs and any licensing shortfall cost as well. On the other hand, it can lead to a falling out between the vendor and the customer, damaging a relationship that would appears to be shameful by nature. It is vital to understand the full details of the legally binding license agreement that you have tied up with your software vendor.

Licensing – It’s not Just Money for Old Rope

IBM are not the only supplier to review their customers licenses, all software vendors invest a lot of time and money in creating software solutions to help their customers thrive in business. As a result, they want to see some return for their very own investment, and this is delivered through licensing of their products. On the other hand, the majority of software vendors will work with you to ensure that you remain license compliant, IBM for instance have their own ILMT which is available free to IBM Passport Advantage (PA) clients. Whereas, this tool will help them to determine the consumption of processor value units (PVU) for their IBM full and sub-capacity software, and it also produces a report that can be used for the IBM license auditing. As, they are providing a tool to help their customers confirm to their license requirements as a whole.

You’re not on Your own!

License management appears to be a complicated task and can prove costly if not managed properly, this is why we recommend that you work with a trusted partner, someone you trust and rely on to take care of your software license agreements and quite often saves your hard-earned money. At the initial phase of auditing, you will need to undertake an independent license audit, as a result, it will create a full review of the software being used alongside the associated licenses to ensure and determine full compliance in place.

Further, review will also identify any shortfalls plus opportunities to utilize software more effectively and importantly, and areas where savings could be made. The final audit report provides evidences to all the software vendor and (developer) that license compliance is in perfect place. If compliance issues are highlighted then it is often possible to find alternative software solutions or licensing options sometimes on the same platform and from the same vendor, this regularly uncovers better software optimization and cost savings.

In conclusion, it can be said that All Blue Solutions being a platinum partner of IBM, are positioned to be able to perform independent IBM software license audits mainly due to their IBM licensing system knowledge and experience. The IBM experts of All Blue Solutions, also works with numerous IBM software applications, as a result, they are able to efficiently perform the IBM license auditing work with full confidence and efficiency. They have processes that help you to manage your hardware and software assets, identify risks and ultimately reduce costs at once.

If you like to find out more about the IBM Software License Management services of All Blue Solutions, kindly get in touch with us!