ILMT: A Gateway to SAM?

To take advantage Sub-capacity licensing and its inherent value, IBM customers are required to: 1) Install either the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) or BigFix Inventory (BFI). 2) Produce audit reporting on at least a quarterly basis, and 3) Retain such reports continuously for 2 years. However, while IBM mandates the use of these tools for Sub-capacity license owners, it does not contractually require that they be used to their optimal capabilities. This is where many customers miss an important opportunity to start down the road toward formalized Software Asset Management.

IBM requires the use of these tools only where sub-capacity software is installed, but if the BigFix agenting is installed elsewhere, organizations can discover other non sub-capacity IBM software instances (and in the case of BigFix Inventory, over 40,000 other software titles from over 9,600 other publishers).

Like many IBM customers, the last company I worked for installed ILMT, and struggled with it initially. Early versions of the tool were hardly perfect, and this gave it a “bad rep” with the IT staff. With perseverance however, we were eventually able to stabilize the application and begin to extract some value from it in the form of software discovery reporting and the requisite audit reporting.

We quickly realized, however, that the value of software discovery data (on their own) is extremely limited. To make sense of the data that were captured, more background information was needed.

Specifically we required a complete understanding of the IBM licensing inventory we held; without which we were unable to accurately bundle products within ILMT or produce even the simplest reconciliation to our Effective License Position.

Once this was compiled however, we found that we were able to better control our software estate, and as an unforeseen secondary benefit, found ourselves well on our way down the path of Software Asset Management (all because we were using a contractually required IBM tool.)

If you are interested in understanding how ILMT can provide additional value and be a ‘Gateway to SAM’ for your own journey, please read the complete article at: //itak.iaitam.org/ilmt-gateway-sam.

You Win: CleanSlate is Now an IBM Platinum Partner.

You Win: CleanSlate is Now an IBM Platinum Partner.

Take a look at any area of human endeavor, from the Olympics to album sales to fine wines. You’ll find the distinction of platinum reserved for the rarest of achievements.

That’s why we’re so pleased to announce that CleanSlate is an IBM Platinum Partner. Because Platinum Partner status means CleanSlate will be able to offer platinum-level advantages to our current and future clients, while continuing to provide the expertise and dedication to quality that got us here in the first place.

As a CleanSlate client, you’ll now enjoy easier access to innovation across the IT continuum, as well as enhanced technical support and more innovative IBM financing solutions. You’ll also benefit from our ability to more fully leverage IBM innovations—like BigFix for systems management and security, or the Smarter Planet initiative for harnessing the potential of complex systems—as quickly as they become available.

Platinum Partner distinction offers us increased access to IBM product development through team members and senior management. We use this access to gain greater insight into what’s next in our industry, and to keep IBM in touch with our clients’ needs and concerns.

Platinum Partner is the highest level of the IBM PartnerWorld program. But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re now working to increase our competencies across IBM’s array of technologies and services, so that we can continue to provide uniquely innovative solutions for our clients.

We couldn’t be prouder of the teamwork and ingenuity this status represents. We’ve always worked hard to help you get the most out of your IT investment and maximize your success. And we’ve tried just as hard to earn your satisfaction and loyalty. Becoming a Platinum Partner represents all of this and more, and gives us the tools we need to take you further.

We can’t think of a prize that shines more brightly than that.

Contact us to hear more about the innovative solutions CleanSlate can provide as an IBM Platinum Partner, or any of our comprehensive technology solutions.

Get the Most from Your Upgrade

Get the Most from Your Upgrade

If your company uses IBM Passport Advantage, you’re probably aware of the licensing requirements. As part of your agreement with IBM, you’re required to implement and maintain the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT), generate quarterly license audit reports, and keep a two-year history on file.

You’re also required to stay current with regular product upgrades, and that’s where things may get tricky. In the fall of 2016, IBM discontinued support of the ILMT v7.2.x platform. Support for another platform, v7.5.x, discontinues on April 30, 2017. If your company uses either of these platforms, you’ll be required to upgrade to ILMT v9.5.x to maintain compliance.

Since this is a requirement to keep your business compliant, we probably don’t have to convince you to upgrade. But ILMT v9.5.x has a few surprises up its sleeve.

An Opportunity for Improvements
We don’t usually think of mandatory upgrades as something to look forward to, but with ILMT v9.5.x there are a few advantages you’ll want to explore further. Some of the improvements to look forward to include:

  • Robust Reporting: Audit snapshots and on-demand reports (based upon user criteria)
  • Enhanced Software Bundling Capabilities: Easier processes for the bundling of software packages and the inclusion/exclusion of chargeable items
  • Enhanced Details: Directory signatures for analysis and identification of false discoveries
  • BigFix Platform: Included endpoint management features that may be purchased for endpoint security, inventory tracking, OS deployments, patching, etc.
  • Better Performance: Reporting of up to 250K endpoints
  • Integration Features: Integration with 3rd party tools via exposed REST APIs

And if your company has a large endpoint footprint or a more complex software bundle, IBM will provide processes to migrate existing Virtual Mappings and software bundling decisions to ILMT v9.5.x. That way, the migration process will save you time and preserve the decisions you’ve already made.

The process of upgrading to ILMT v9.5.x and completing migration might seem intimidating, but we’re here to help. You can contact us for more information, or learn more by viewing our most recent upgrade webinar.

Four IBM software solutions we love.

Four IBM software solutions we love.

Managing hundreds or even thousands of computers across a network can get complicated quickly. You’ve got software distribution, patches, licensing issues, security threats—it’s easy to see how things can get overwhelming without the right systems management tools.

Luckily, there’s IBM BigFix—a platform that uses many different applications working together to assist businesses with systems management and security. It simplifies processes and gives users efficient endpoint management solutions that lead to better reporting and higher productivity.

While BigFix can help with many systems management tasks, these four solutions are especially important:

Patch Management. If your organization needs to implement a software update, you can’t just shut down your network to deploy the patches all at once. You need to do it according to a schedule to keep your operations up and running. This is exactly what BigFix allows you to do, and you can do it remotely from one console instead of going to each computer individually. Another great feature is that BigFix supports third-party products—so if you need to patch Adobe products, Java, Google Chrome, or other third-party software, you can do it with ease.

Software Distribution. Rolling out new software used to mean manual installation for every computer—something that can take weeks or even months. That’s not the case with BigFix. It can automate the software distribution process and execute the rollout over time, which optimizes productivity while drastically reducing the administrative manpower needed to install new software. BigFix also offers a self-service portal that allows users to directly install software themselves.

Inventory. If you’re managing a network of 10,000 computers, your users are inevitably working with lots of different types of software. Some people might use Program A all the time, and rarely use Program B. So it’s important to know exactly how your business is using its software to keep your licenses compliant and to maintain a clear understanding of what you’re paying for. BigFix provides detailed reporting to make sure you’re getting the most out of your inventory, and not wasting money on software you don’t use.

QRadar Integration. QRadar is IBM’s security intelligence platform designed to check your network for vulnerabilities, provide risk analysis, and categorize threats to keep your company safe. BigFix works together seamlessly with QRadar, providing a dashboard tool within the platform that shows your most important security risks. By working together with QRadar, BigFix can give you the updates you need to fix these vulnerabilities in just a few clicks.

Our team at CleanSlate relies on BigFix all the time to help our clients optimize their software and systems management. It’s a platform full of intuitive solutions that help make our clients better—which is why we love it.

Want to learn more about BigFix and how it can help improve your business? Contact us today.