IBM are commonly known as the as a publisher that isn’t afraid to audit customers.

In our experience IBM customers are audited and scrutinised more than other product customer in the market place. And at the end of the day, it is their contractually granted right after all.

 In realty, what impact can an IBM Audit have?

IBM have tend to bring in the big guns, often including one of the big 4 audit firms audit from very beginning of the audit process. This in itself can be a little intimidating for an ITAM Manager who hasn’t experienced an IBM audit before.

Secondly there is widely felt reputation that IBM audits (or at least the ones people are brave enough to talk about) end up in negative findings against the organisation, thus leading fines and large back payments.

How to avoid an IBM audit disaster

The key to managing the risk associated with an IBM audit is to prepare now.

IBM do make significant amounts of documentation freely available, but does take time, resource and expertise to digest, understand and action this guidance.

When we start working with a new audit with our own customers, here are the initial steps we follow, to create a robust line of defence against IBM audits

  • Validate the work that has already been carried out either by you or another third party. Just because a Big 4 firm did the work on an audit that it’s fully correct.
  • If you’re utilising sub-capacity licensing, and you’re obliged to roll out ILMT or similar (e.g. BigFix) then you must roll this out. It’s a simple task, but many organisations fail to do this in time.
  • If your organisation is having issues rolling out an IBM supplied measurement tool, then ensure a call is logged and recorded with IBM. Unfortunately IBM will never allow technical issues with measure as ‘an excuse’ unless it is already well-known issue to them.
  • Wherever you are contractually obliged to report usage to IBM on a quarterly/yearly basis, always ensure this happens. There may not be any immediate or obvious consequences of not doing this, but in an IBM audit this will be used against you.
  • If you chose an alternative tool to measure and audit sub-capacity usage (other than ILMT/BigFix), you must seek approval from IBM in writing (some third party measurement tools forget to tell you this!).
  • Don’t mistake your warm and friendly relationship with your IBM sales/account manager, for a ‘get of jail’ ticket on your audit. The two things are not connect within IBM and your relationship or contribution in sales, will never come into consideration during an audit.
  • Certain IBM software bundles may not be automatically recognised by certain ITAM tools. Always ensure that bundles are correctly applied to ensure that licences are not being unnecessarily consumed (get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more on specific software packages).
  • If you are going to seek external support, always use an independent ITAM advisor. There is obviously no proof of collusion in the marketplace. However, what outcome do you think a big four consultant with IBM on the books, will be most likely be incentivised to create for you? An independent ITAM adviser, will never share any interest in striking ‘win-win’ deals, but instead fight your corner to ensure you come out on top.

Seeking independent advice on Audits

When seeking guidance on any ITAM challenges, it is important to gain experienced and independent advice. Many large consultancies, including those within the big four, may sell or describe themselves as independent.

However, there will always be some crossover and between your interests those of many software publishers, who can often also be customers of theirs. This can create quite subtle conflicts, which will sometimes lead to compromised outcomes.

An independent ITAM adviser will always be 100% on your side of any assessment or negotiation, All the data, reports or calculations shared between you and your ITAM advisor will forever remain confidential, any mistakes in previous licence management are treated sensitively and with the best end result for you in mind.

To speak with a truly independent ITAM advisor, get in touch with our expert team today, fill out the form below…

Get in Touch

If you’d like to find out how SAMGarde can support your business in succeeding with software, just get in touch today, using the form or details below.

Our Confidentiality Guarantee

We appreciate that sometimes you can find yourself in tricky position with licencing, and it can be difficult to share information on mistakes or accidental software misuse.

This is why we promise to keep all conversations confidential, and always approach your scenario with practical advice and without any judgement.


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