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Top 10 IBM License Audit Triggers

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It often comes as a surprise to many organisations when they receive notice of an IBM license audit.  They might feel they have a good relationship with their account manager and have been spending a significant amount on S&S over the years.  So why are we receiving notice of an audit?

There are many reasons, or triggers, why you might have been selected for audit. Here are 10 of the most common triggers. You should review them to see if your chances of an audit are about to go up.

#1 Significant growth in business

If your business as a whole appears to be undergoing significant growth there will be an expectation in IBM that you should be investing with them.  They will expect you to buy more licenses for existing and new products. If this is not happening then an audit can be expected.

#2 Restructure of Organisation

Significant restructuring within your organisation such as a merger, acquisition or divestiture brings with it significant license compliance risks.  During an organisational change it is common for license agreements to require significant changes.   Short falls in entitlement frequently occur between entities.  Couple this with the fact that there is a budget specifically assigned to an organisation restructure. You can understand why IBM see a reason to request a review (audit) either during or soon after a restructure.

#3 IT Infrastructure Changes

Large IT infrastructure changes will attract the attention of IBM audit as it commonly introduces compliance risks for products with a PVU license metric.  As you upgrade hardware add more nodes and virtual machines to an estate you are creating a requirement for additional licenses. This is not always understood or even in scope for the project.

#4 Drop/levelling in investment in IBM technologies

The revenue from all IBM accounts is expected to grow by a minimum of 3-5% per year.  This is typically achieved by an increase in annual S&S.  Where the overall investment does not increase or actually drops due to cancellation in support your risk of an audit increases.

#5 Cancellation of a project that included IBM product

If a project that included a significant investment in IBM products is suddenly cancelled there is an increased audit risk. There are a couple of reasons this might happen.  A known gap in licensing has been tolerated with the expectation that the new project would either fix the problem or buy more licenses. The deal resulting from the project being approved may have been critical to the IBM Account Manager making his number for the quarter.

#6 ILMT not deployed or maintained

If IBM suspects you are not managing the deployment of their products they will audit you. The most common evidence you are not managing deployment is not having ILMT deployed or up to date.  IBM requires quarterly ILMT audit reports to be run. Frequent updates to the database tool in order to be eligible for sub capacity licensing are also mandatory.  The full capacity licensing fees that are required in the absence of ILMT significantly increases IBM’s incentive to initiate an audit.