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.

ILMT upgrade: The Good, the bad, and the ugly.

ILMT upgrade: The Good, the bad, and the ugly.

IBM recently discontinued support for the legacy License Metric Tool version 7.x (as of April 30, 2017). Companies running any versions of ILMT prior to version 9.2.x will no longer receive product updates, patches, or software catalog updates. Continuing to run these legacy versions of ILMT will likely lead to non-compliance with the latest security patches, and will also lead to non-compliance with IBM for PVU-based software usage/reporting.

Here are the good, bad, and ugly points regarding the ILMT upgrade:

The Good – The latest version of ILMT comes packaged with the BigFix endpoint management platform—one of the industry leaders for enterprise endpoint management. BigFix comes packaged with many different modules that may be enabled to expand your organization’s endpoint management capabilities, including lifecycle, security & compliance, patching, and software inventory/usage for all vendor products.

The Bad – Companies that do not currently use ILMT or are operating off a legacy version are not capturing usage metrics to allow them to effectively manage software compliance and recognize savings and/or compliance risks. If your company falls into this scenario and you are audited, get ready for big fines and a potential loss of the reduced PVU-licensing costs.

The Ugly – Organizations not on an updated ILMT platform are living on borrowed time. IBM requires companies that do take advantage of the reduced pricing offered through PVU-based licensing to stay on the latest-and-greatest version of ILMT. IBM is strict about these requirements and is serious about enforcement and penalties for those that do not adhere to their PPA agreements. Those that are not currently in the process of an upgrade are putting themselves at risk as there are indicators within Passport Advantage that serve to tell a company’s position with ILMT, as well as the version they are operating on.

Don’t delay in preparing for and implementing ILMT, or the upgrade of your existing ILMT platform. Whether your company is just in the exploratory phase or is starting to plan for deployment, you are not alone.

CleanSlate is currently upgrading ILMT for clients of all sizes. Whether your organization manages 100 or 100,000 endpoints, we have the experience as IBM’s go-to partner to assist you with your deployment and reporting. You can contact us for more information, or learn more by viewing our most recent upgrade webinar.

 

CleanSlate wins prestigious Ingram Micro IBM Business Unit Partner award.

CleanSlate wins prestigious Ingram Micro IBM Business Unit Partner award.

Close-up of Ingram Micro's IBM Business Unit Partner of the Year awardAll of us at CleanSlate are excited to announce that we’ve just received Ingram Micro’s IBM Business Unit Partner of the Year award. It’s a great testament to our team and the exceptional work we’re doing—and we’re always happy to be recognized by a company as influential and innovative as Ingram Micro.

Founded in 1979 and based in Irvine, California, Ingram Micro is one of the world’s largest IT companies with more than 27,000 employees across the globe and more than $43 billion in revenue in 2015. We’re lucky to work with them, and even luckier that they’ve thought enough of us to give us this award—especially since this is the first year that the award has been given.

“As one of the largest and most respected IBM Software partners out there—and Ingram Micro’s top IBM Software partner with $50 million in IBM business in 2016—it made sense to give CleanSlate this award,” said George Wagner, market development executive at Ingram Micro. “They’ve also grown their IBM Software business by $16 million within the last five years, which is a huge achievement. We thought it was important to recognize them.”

Ingram Micro is our VAD (Value Added Distributor) of choice, and we’ve been working with them for more than a decade. Our relationship has grown immensely over these last 10 years as we’ve gotten to know the company and its senior management. We think it’s pretty cool that a company with tens of thousands of employees has taken the time to work closely with a determined, growing business like us—and to become such a valuable partner.

As we’ve rolled out our new CleanSlate brand this year, we’ve been encouraged by all the positive feedback we’ve gotten. Winning the IBM Business Unit Partner of the Year award from Ingram Micro is great affirmation that we’re moving in the right direction. We hope our outstanding relationship with them will continue for many years in the future.

Want to learn more about CleanSlate and all the ways we can help your business thrive? We’d love to chat—contact us today.

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.

Trip Report: IBM InterConnect 2017

Trip Report: IBM InterConnect 2017

IBM InterConnect is one of the industry’s premier Cloud conferences, and several of us from CleanSlate had the chance to attend this year’s event in Las Vegas. We had a great time—but more important, we learned a lot about new solutions and innovations that will help us be an even smarter, more versatile company.

With hundreds of different presentations and open labs for hands-on experience, InterConnect can be a little intimidating without a focus. Our team spent most of our time learning about security and asset management, which meant attending lots of discussions and labs about IBM’s BigFix platform. We went to sessions covering topics like QRadar, Detect, and Resilient that were full of information about useful ways these applications can work together for a seamless BigFix experience.

Since there’s so much going on at InterConnect, it’s impossible to see everything. But a great thing about the conference is that IBM makes the majority of the lectures and materials available for attendees right on their website, so you’ll never miss a second of content. For many people, access to this huge library of knowledge is worth the price of admission alone.

One of the best things for us about the InterConnect conference is the networking opportunities. We got to meet all kinds of people this year, many who could closely relate to our business and the challenges we face. We were also fortunate to meet with IBM product development team members and senior management members—a great benefit CleanSlate enjoys as an IBM Platinum Partner. These connections are incredibly valuable to our business, and leveraging them effectively is a big reason we have so much insight into what’s going on in our industry.

The chance to speak with product developers in particular is important to us because it’s a rare opportunity to talk directly with the people responsible for creating the applications we use every day. We love that they listen to feedback from us and our peers, because they integrate it into future product development—and that can make our lives a lot easier.

While we went to lots of panel discussions, we also helped host one: Our own Chris Konow spoke about how BigFix can help with software audits and contract negotiations. It was a well-attended talk, and we’re happy we could contribute some of our own knowledge to help businesses protect themselves against costly audits and unnecessary software purchases.

If you work in IT and want to learn all the latest and greatest information about Cloud technology, you can’t afford to miss the InterConnect conference. The endless networking opportunities and wealth of information are useful for anyone in this business—and the potential to help influence future IBM product development is a bonus that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’re interested in finding out more about all the useful stuff we learned at InterConnect 2017, be sure to contact us. We’d love to share our knowledge with you!

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.