Although one of the biggest software publishers on the market, IBM didn’t get that much attention in the past as say Oracle. Usually, their audits are rather rare compared to other vendors (although their number increased in the past few years), but don’t lack complexity. This means that even if you don’t get audited every year, you should still be prepared and in control of your IBM license position. Everything starts with understanding the basic IBM license information: what kind of contracts, products and metrics IBM is providing to its customers.
Types of IBM license agreements
Considering that IBM sells different types of products with different types of licenses, there are also various license information documents. These agreements include the use rights that you have, as well as the terms and conditions the programs are licensed under.
One of the most known agreements that IBM uses is Passport Advantage. This is a standard framework used mainly for large enterprises. A relationship-based contract, it offers organizations better discounts for volume purchasing over time – an important benefit to keep in mind if you foresee organizational growth. Medium sized companies can also make use of a version of Passport Advantage, called Express.
Both Passport Advantage versions allow customers to:
– purchase new IBM licenses (for one location or network of offices around the world)
– obtain authorization to use, update and support selected programs at volume pricing
– acquire IBM Appliances and IBM SaaS subscription
– renew Software Subscription and Support
Other documents you should keep an eye on, in order to remain in control of your compliance position are the Product License Agreement, License Agreement for Non-Warranted Programs, License Agreement for Evaluation of Programs, Agreement for Acquisition of Software Maintenance, Enterprise Licensing Agreement, IBM Customer Agreement, End User License Agreement, Proof of entitlement certificate, as well as the ordering documents and invoices.
Why should you keep track of IBM license information?
As previously mentioned, even if IBM doesn’t aggressively audit its customers, it’s still a matter of when, not if you’ll get an audit from IBM. In order to not panic when the dreaded letter lands on your desk, our advice is to start early. How early? From the moment you acquire your first IBM products. If that’s already way in the past, a good moment to start is also the present moment.
To recap what you should keep in mind:
– the contracts – understand what types of contracts IBM uses with its customers and which ones apply to you. Keep track of any updates that IBM might release and check how they might affect you.
– the metrics – the main IBM licensing metrics are hardware and user-related metrics. Understand the IBM metrics and how they might affect the way you’re using the IBM products.
– the products bundling – since you can buy IBM products individually as well as part of a bundle, it’s important to understand how the bundle impacts your licensing or compliance position.
Need to get a better grasp of your IBM licensing position? We developed a service to help you do exactly that. With our IBM LMT Health Check you make sure your deployments remain compliant and at the same time get insight into the financial risks you may encounter. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.