The Four Things You Need To Know About Software Compliance

It’s no mystery that IBM software licensing and audits can be complicated. Chances are good that if you’re like many of the companies I’ve worked with over the years, you don’t have the right software asset management (SAM) strategy in place.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t have a strong understanding of software compliance—or the repercussions of a software audit. That’s why I’ve put together a quick reference guide to help you get up to speed with what you need to know about IBM software compliance and software audits.

You’re going to get audited. If your company uses IBM software licenses—no matter if you’re a Fortune 500 organization or a mom-and-pop business—you will almost definitely be audited at some point. It’s impossible to say when it might happen, but you’ve got to be ready.

Most companies don’t have the proper controls and plan in place to deal with an audit. And this almost always leads to findings that will cost your business a settlement. Lucky for you, you can avoid any surprises with proper IBM ILMT integration, and an experienced team of IT professionals on your side.

Compliance is your responsibility. I’ve been in this business a long time, but it’s still surprising how many companies don’t understand that IBM has absolutely no liability when it comes to compliance. In fact, there’s a clause in just about every software contract that gives the software vendor the right to come in and audit at any time. That makes it critically important for your organization to implement the right policies and procedures to maintain compliance—so if you haven’t taken ownership of your compliance plan, now’s the time!

Failure or neglect can cost you big bucks. The financial penalties for non-compliance can be significant because improper use of software licenses will cost your company in two different ways.

The first is that you’ll have to pay the upfront purchase/initial licensing cost. There are maintenance fees associated with this, too. And these fees will need to be paid retroactively if you aren’t compliant. The second way improper license use will cost you is through software consumption. If you’re using more units of the software than you’re licensed for, you’ll have to pay for these as well. And that gets expensive.

Successful compliance is a blend of people, processes, and tools. There are literally 100+ licensing metrics for IBM. There are even more when you extend these metrics to other vendors. With the complexity of these licenses, proper use of metrics tools becomes important—and using them the right way means more than just putting them in place.

You’ve got to make sure you know how to use them, how to report properly, and how to stay consistent with reporting. Not to mention, you’ve got to always be ready for an inevitable audit. This means a seamless integration with your staff, making sure they’ve got the tools they need to succeed, and creating a plan for the process.

Many companies don’t have the necessary expertise, time, or manpower to devote to software compliance. This is unfortunate, because it’s going to cost them in the long run.

About William Van Horne

William Van Horne is the Senior Asset Management Architect with CleanSlate