CleanSlate Presents at the 2017 IBSMA SAM Summit

CleanSlate Presents at the 2017 IBSMA SAM Summit

The International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA) is the world’s largest nonprofit association of business-focused Software Asset Management (SAM) licensing and compliance professionals. The organization is focused on the continuing education of software asset managers and provides a series of IT Asset Management (ITAM) professional development courses and certifications.

In addition, the IBSMA brings together professionals with the resources they need to manage software assets within their organizations, and gives them tools to expand their knowledge base while providing a forum for advancing SAM innovations.

CleanSlate was recently approached by the IBSMA to speak in two sessions during their annual SAM Summit at the University of Chicago School of Business. These sessions were focused within the IBM track and provided a deep dive into the process for the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) upgrade as well as tips on using BigFix and ILMT technologies to better manage the Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) renewal process.

One of the high points of these sessions was a client success story presented by TransUnion as they talked about leveraging the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) and the services of CleanSlate that significantly reduced their software compliance expenses within their ELA. By leveraging these tools and services, TransUnion got an extensive view of their software footprint and compared that to current entitlements to set an accurate software position. Because they had access to this detailed information, they were able to make intelligent decisions on purchases made in their upcoming ELA renewal, literally saving them millions of dollars.

At CleanSlate, our team is excited to play an integral part in these types of client success stories—and we have many similar stories, too. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the IBSMA and helping to advance the latest knowledge, tools, trends, and processes within the ITAM community.

If your business is looking to implement a new SAM strategy, CleanSlate can help. For more information about all the ways we can help your business become more efficient and more profitable, contact us today.

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.

 

Five signs it’s time to reevaluate your SAM strategy.

Five signs it’s time to reevaluate your SAM strategy.

Having the right software asset management (SAM) strategy in place for your business can save you time, money, and lots of headaches—especially if you run into an unexpected software audit. But many companies have an outdated SAM strategy—or no SAM strategy at all—which is a risk that can be easily avoided if you take the right steps.

To help companies make smart decisions about reevaluating their SAM strategy, we’ve put together a quick list of five key signs that it’s time to take another look at how you’re managing your software.

#1: Your internal audit process is out of date. If you haven’t looked at your internal audit process for at least a couple of years, it’s probably obsolete, which can lead to a host of issues. It makes evaluating your software footprint difficult, and that might mean you’re overpaying for software you’re not using. Or it could mean you’re underpaying, which could lead to a costly audit. But if your internal audit process is up to speed, you can avoid these issues. (If you’re using IBM software, don’t forget they’ve recently upgraded ILMT)

#2: You’re going through a merger, acquisition, or divestiture. If your business is changing through a merger, acquisition, or divestiture, you need everyone on the same page—so it’s a good time to review your objectives and SAM strategy. These scenarios can take years to complete, so if you get audited during that time you need to make sure your software usage is well documented to prevent any snags in the process.

#3: You’ve recently expanded internationally. International software licensing is a whole new ballgame. If you acquire a foreign company or foreign assets and need to purchase software that will be used outside of the U.S., you’ll need to make sure you’re following the rules and regulations set by the foreign government. For example, in many European countries, trade unions require strict review of each individual software license. You need to be prepared for both the added time and expense of these processes.

#4: You change your IT support outsourcing or go cloud-based. When transitioning from one IT company to another, you need to make sure your new IT partner is providing accurate, detailed reporting. And if you transition to a cloud-based infrastructure, you’re going to need to take another look at your software licenses to make sure they align with the requirements of using cloud.

#5: Your IT architecture has changed. If you’re going through a major hardware upgrade, you need to take another look at your SAM strategy because new hardware can alter how you utilize software. Faster, more powerful hardware can change your licensing footprint—and that might mean spending more for the cost of additional processing. If these costs are unexpected, they can really hurt your bottom line.

Taking a closer look at your SAM strategy is always a good idea. Even if you think your strategy is optimal, it’s worth the time to make sure. Our team can help—contact us today to find out how.

Over-deployed? Self-reporting Keeps You Compliant.

Over-deployed? Self-reporting Keeps You Compliant.

There’s nothing wrong with self-managing your software assets. But if you do, it’s important that your company knows what to do if you discover an over-deployment of licensed products. When that happens—and it happens to the best of us—here’s what you should do next.

Figure Out What Happened—And Why

When your company has over-deployed licensed software, it’s important that you understand why it happened. The difference between a one-time fluke and something more systemic in your company will have an impact on how you go forward.

Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself before you decide what to do next:

  • Is the overage due to additional project work or company needs?
  • Is the company’s infrastructure itself responsible for the overage?

If the overage can be tied to specific project work, especially new projects, your best bet is to work directly with the software reseller. They can work with your company to figure out an action plan to manage the next steps. This approach will also help you get the best rates for your licenses, and ensures a good relationship with your vendor.

If the overage is tied to something systemic about your company’s infrastructure, that’s considered a true over-deployment. In that case, the best thing you can do is to maintain transparency and work with the software reseller to self-report the overage. By being open and transparent about the overage, you can avoid raising red flags that could otherwise lead to a vendor audit.

Good Communication is Key

Over-usages happen. Your vendor understands that and has almost certainly seen it before. By maintaining good communication and transparency, you’ll show your vendor that you’re acting in good faith to correct the situation. That will help reduce the risk of an audit, and ensure you get the best pricing for your organization.

And if you have any questions about software entitlement needs or your current license position, we’re here to help. Email our software asset specialists, or call us at 866.885.3249.

Making sense of the Software Asset Management (SAM) puzzle.

Making sense of the Software Asset Management (SAM) puzzle.

Picture this: You’re blindfolded, trying to complete a 4,000 piece puzzle—and the clock is ticking. Your company is in the middle of a vendor audit, and you don’t know who to talk to or even what to ask to accurately finish the puzzle on time. Stress and panic begin to take hold.

That’s how software asset management (SAM) can make you feel. But don’t panic. A strong SAM program reduces the guesswork, improves long term financial standing, and creates a proactive approach to software licensing and expenditure.

Many companies over-purchase and/or over-deploy software products to try and fulfill a business need, and they end up losing sight of their current license position. Every company is different, with differing goals, needs, and business strategies. An effective SAM practice implements policies and procedures that address the lifecycle of  software assets. A software asset manager is responsible for the management of the purchase, understanding the terms and conditions and the contract negotiation, as well as the actual utilization in the company’s IT environment. At the end of it’s lifecycle, he or she is responsible for the reharvesting of the software license or the retirement of the product. This in-depth knowledge allows companies to  optimize future purchases and take advantage of software bundling opportunities and other ways to save money.

SAM can be complex, and finding the right solution takes careful consideration of many factors. Company policies, budget, current and future projects, and historical data markers are simply a few things that have an impact on the effectiveness of a SAM practice. Your SAM strategy must address your company’s needs today—but it also needs to be fluid and adaptable so that it can withstand organizational changes. Software asset managers have to adjust his or her approach based on the situation, whether facing software vendor audits, compliance remediation and maintenance, or taking advantage of  new purchase and renewal opportunities.

A software asset manager must do a deep dive investigation of all factors that affect the SAM practice and then present the overall picture to company executives, helping them understand the current license utilization and how it’s influencing the bottom line and compliance position. That means showing not only what products are deployed, but also how they’re being used—and if they’re meeting company needs.

Corporations implement SAM strategies to help control and lower cost—but more important, they do it to maintain compliance. Sometimes SAM seems like an impossible puzzle, especially when you’re crunched for time and resources. As a software consulting firm, CleanSlate leverages our years of experience and depth of knowledge to help our clients do just that.

The CleanSlate team is presenting at Compliance Manager Summit 2017.

The CleanSlate team is presenting at Compliance Manager Summit 2017.

Software licensing compliance can get complicated quickly. And with the constant changes in rules, updates, and trends, it’s easy to get left behind. But what if you could get licensing compliance strategy tips and advice directly from the industry’s top companies?

This year, two of our own—Jason Westfall and Bay Van Horne—will be giving a presentation called IBM Sub-Capacity Compliance During Discovery Tool Transition. The focus of the presentation will be on upgrading ILMT, managing licensing compliance during the upgrade, processes to migrate historical data, notable improvements to the system, and strategies for ongoing maintenance.

At Compliance Manager Summit 2017, you’ll also have the chance to hear from other SAM professionals at IBM, Veritas, Oracle, and other companies give presentations, hold roundtable discussions, and dissect case studies to help attendees get a stronger grasp on compliance.

The conference is great for anybody working in SAM, but especially helpful for:

  • Software and hardware asset managers
  • IT audit and compliance program managers and staff
  • Software compliance auditors
  • Legal, finance, and accounting staff
  • Executives wanting to start or grow an internal software management program

Topics covered at Compliance Manager Summit 2017 will include:

  • Preparing for software audits
  • Reducing hidden audit costs
  • New trends in IBM compliance
  • Cloud licensing
  • How to successfully challenge audit findings
  • Legal approaches to reducing audit/compliance risk
  • Compliance contract terms

If you work in SAM, Compliance Manager Summit 2017 is a conference you won’t want to miss. It’s all happening March 13 and 14 at the Crowne Plaza Foster City-San Mateo in San Francisco, California. To purchase tickets for the event, or to get more information about the schedule and speakers, be sure to check out the Compliance Manager Summit 2017 website. We look forward to seeing you there.