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IBM Insight: IBM License Compliance Reporting Implementation

How we helped a large European* organization implement IBM license compliance reporting to meet their contractual obligations

ITAA were engaged to support a large European organization with a reporting obligation to IBM as part of their IBM Enterprise Software and Services Offering (ESSO) agreement. The objectives of the project were to determine the organization’s licensing requirements for its use of IBM software in order to meet their reporting obligations while also opening up commercial discussions to rightsize their license costs to their estate.

The scope of the project included several key activities:

IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) deployment

A topic that is always very relevant when it comes to IBM software licensing is subcapacity licensing and ILMT deployment. As the client had not deployed ILMT previously, their knowledge and understanding of ILMT reporting was insufficient to be able to leverage the tool to determine their license requirements for capacity-based products.

This is where ITAA played a critical role in assisting the client. Through our extensive knowledge and experience of working with ILMT and IBM licensing, ITAA were able to help the client in all the key ILMT reporting steps, such as: providing support in applying the correct software classification (software bundling), validating the coverage across the estate and correcting mis-reported data points to calculate the client’s requirements for Processor Value Units (PVU) and Virtual Processor Core (VPC) based products.

Non-ILMT data collection

Due to the complexity of IBM licensing and the broad portfolio of products within the scope of the client’s ESSO agreement, a wide range of data points were required beyond even what is reported within ILMT. These data points included screenshots from IBM product management consoles, database queries and user exports, as well as many others.

We were able to provide a comprehensive and guided approach to the data collection phase for the client, simplifying the process while ensuring all the required details were collected.

Usage Validation

To ensure that no usage of IBM software was missed during the review, extensive checks were performed using any and all toolsets and reports available to the customer including, but not limited to email surveys, anti-virus exports, CMDB exports and AD exports. Any potential gaps or inconsistencies were raised to the account owners for validation and we satisfied the IBM reporting requirements to reach a 95%+ complete view of the IBM estate.

In addition to coverage checks, it was also ITAA’s goal to support the client in rightsizing their estate so that no unnecessary spend was made for software licenses that were not required. Throughout the validation process, we were able to identify several housekeeping and optimization opportunities for the client to right-size their estate, as well as a number of process flaws which were rectified to mitigate potential exposures and to prevent repeat issues from occurring.

As a result of ITAA’s assistance, the client was able to meet their reporting obligations in a timely fashion while also being fully aware of their license utilization, allowing for informed negotiations with IBM. In addition, we supported the client in upskilling their staff and setting up processes in order to more effectively manage their IBM estate going forwards.

Key Challenges

Several elements added to the complexity of this project, leading to multiple revisions of the compliance measurement approach as well as significant in-depth assessments for inconsistencies and gaps in the datasets provided. Some key challenges were:

No centralized infrastructure views or controls

  • The lack of a centralized toolset or views required us to leverage a combination of multiple non-standard (or even outdated) data sources combined with personnel feedback in order to ensure completeness of reporting.
  • Deployments, processes and software utilization varied significantly from site to site leading to custom reviews per site identified.

22 ILMT implementations and 4 mainframe sites

  • Due to the disparate IT environments, additional resources were required in order to adequately track, review and validate reports from each implementation in order to ensure completeness and accuracy of reporting.

Third party managed environments

  • Several customer sites used third parties to manage their estates and deployments, adding to the difficulty of obtaining reports.
  • Some sites had IBM software provided via third parties, adding an additional layer of due diligence in the validation of usage to ensure that the licenses were appropriately segregated and that the client were not over-reporting for any instances that were not their responsibility.

Time constraints

  • The initial timeline for reporting was an 18-month timeframe. However, by the time ITAA were engaged, the timeframe was condensed to 9 months, requiring a much more assertive approach to ILMT deployment and the allocation of more resources to the project by ITAA to allow for multiple workstreams to be performed simultaneously.
  • Due to the time constraints, we scheduled more frequent touch points with all key customer stakeholders in order to shorten the project timelines.

Results

Despite the challenges caused by the complex environments and tight timeframes, the client deemed the project a huge success. Some key highlights of ITAA’s activities include:

  • €1m+ potential savings in unused Subscription & Support (S&S) identified, plus several other long-term opportunities for further S&S reductions in 2024.
  • Risk mitigation of €20m at list price achieved through the removal of unused instances, correction of deployments and clarification of ambiguous data points.
  • Identification of several process improvements to reduce potential wasted spend in the future.

Wrap-up

ITAA’s extensive experience and knowledge of IBM software license compliance allowed us to optimally mitigate the client’s weaknesses, streamline their IBM license management processes and hand over the skills required for the client to not only meet their reporting obligations but also to identify opportunities to right-size their spend and reduce potential risk.

If you would like to see how ITAA can help support you with your IBM licensing requirements, please see our IBM Services page and do not hesitate to contact us.

*Protecting our clients’ confidence is of utmost importance at ITAA. While our case studies are based on true projects, we have used fictitious names and removed or changed other identifiable details.