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IBM license and contract expertise

IBM license and contract expertise

Due to its historical presence and the multitude of products it offers, IBM is one of the top 5 software publishers for most companies.

IBM’s many acquisitions (such as RedHat and Cognos), divestitures (for example to HCL), and its audit policy since the 2000s have made it a key publisher for Software Asset Managers, especially when it comes to license management, negotiation and audit.

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IBM is making a strong comeback in business IT

As a software license manager, one of your biggest challenges is guaranteeing your compliance position for all IBM products and metrics. The multitude of metrics, and their complexity, make it difficult to maintain compliance and to monitor the financial risk of an audit.

Issues related to IBM licenses and contracts

    Inventory of acquisitions

    IBM’s license heritage includes long-standing contracts and numerous acquisitions made in the 2000s. This makes the monitoring of purchased assets complex, with risks of information gaps. In addition, the multiple changes of products and metrics, as well as the acquisitions and divestitures of solutions by IBM in recent years, have increased this complexity.

    Eligibility for Sub-Capacity

    Most organizations believe that it is enough to have acquired ILMT to be eligible for sub-capacity. In reality, many other conditions need to be fulfilled. This misunderstanding risks putting you in a weak position when negotiating with IBM. It is therefore imperative to properly monitor your eligibility for sub-capacity. Elée has created automated dashboards that enable you to do this.

    PVU / User / RVU compliance

    With several hundred IBM products and metrics, IBM compliance analysis is a very complex topic that is not always well addressed. The absence or approximation of calculations, coupled with the high unit prices of IBM products, create very high risks of non-compliance.

    BigFix and ILMT management

    The BigFix and ILMT tools are vendor-supplied tools that are invaluable for monitoring compliance and usage when properly used. However, in 90% of cases, we observe that BigFix and ILMT are incorrectly configured.

    Contractual analysis and negotiation

    IBM contracts and associated negotiations have heavy financial consequences. For companies entering into discussions with IBM, it is imperative to identify your negotiation levers and prepare your arguments. Moreover, a negotiation is an opportunity to protect yourself in the future with strong contracts.

    IBM IASP Program

    IASP is an alternative to traditional IBM auditing. It requires the customer to join a program and to work with an IBM partner that carries out quarterly compliance checks for Processor Value Unit (PVU) products, and annual compliance checks for non-PVU products, for 3 years. This model enables IBM to maintain a continuous payment mechanism, as is the case with SCRT (mainframe) export or with the ILMT approach. However, this model is costly for end-user organizations, very beneficial financially for IBM and its partners, and is accompanied by risks.

    Consulting and expertise for the management of IBM licenses and contracts

    Below are our main offerings related to IBM licenses and contracts. We are also happy to discuss more customized engagements.

    • One-off IBM compliance and optimization plan

    We help you to develop an end-to-end compliance position for your IBM products. This includes data collection, inventory (purchases and deployments), compliance calculation, assessment of financial risk, and an optimization plan to reduce risk and cost.

    • IBM audit management 

    We support our clients in managing IBM audits, from the receipt of the letter from IBM to the conclusion of the audit. Our work includes scoping and audit protocol, collecting and analysing data before sending it to IBM or the auditor, estimating potential financial risk, anticipating IBM’s actions and reactions, audit strategy (during and after audit), and managing the relationship with the auditor in order to minimize the financial impact of the audit.

    See page: I am facing an audit

    • IBM contract negotiation

    The preparation phase is a key step in the success of a negotiation with a publisher, including with IBM. We support clients by providing benchmarks of prices and clauses, identifying negotiation levers, and helping you to understand contractual metrics, in order to approach an IBM negotiation with a clear strategy as well as a precise financial and technical target.

    See page: I need help with contract management and renewal

    • Sub-capacity eligibility management

    The more your IBM infrastructure is virtualized, the more benefit you will obtain from sub-capacity pricing. It is therefore essential to carefully manage your eligibility for sub-capacity pricing. Most organizations believe that it is enough to have acquired ILMT to be eligible for sub-capacity. 

    In reality, it is necessary to fulfil many conditions, such as the following:

    ILMT was installed within 90 days of installation of the relevant products

    ILMT is correctly deployed (all servers supporting IBM products are covered)

    Upgrades of versions and catalogs are carried out frequently

    Configuration of bundles is correctly managed

    Legitimate exclusions are justified and documented


    When calculating your compliance or risk, or in the event of an audit, it is very important to be sure of whether sub-capacity is applicable or not, because this can cause a great increase in your compliance risk (by a factor of 8 to 12) and a corresponding decrease in your position of strength in an IBM audit. This is why we attach particular importance to advising our clients on this point.

    • Implementation of ILMT and ILMT / sub-capacity dashboards

    Our teams can support you in setting up and configuring ILMT. In addition, to give our customers a continuous picture of their compliance and their eligibility for sub-capacity, we create Power BI dashboards that are directly linked to ILMT, making it possible to continuously monitor your eligibility for sub-capacity calculation and whether your PVU products are compliant. These tools and calculations have been proven in audits with clients.

    • IBM maintenance gaps: example of a forgotten risk

    The vast majority of compliance analyses carried out by commercial vendors, consultants or tool makers ignore the risk of IBM maintenance gaps, although it is one of the main sources of non-compliance during IBM audits.

    For example, the organization may be decommissioning IBM software and has therefore stopped paying maintenance, but because the decommissioning project is behind schedule, deployments have continued without adequate maintenance. Alternatively, deployments are in process using available licenses, but the organization has neglected to activate the associated maintenance. 

    Consulting and expertise for the management of IBM licenses and contracts

    Why choose Elée?



    Our independence from IBM protects you from any conflict of interest. We help you to reduce your licensing costs and minimize the financial impact of audits.

    IBM licensing expertise

    IBM licensing expertise

    We have a team of experts dedicated to IBM licenses and contracts who fully understand the licensing rules and metrics of IBM, as well as negotiation techniques and auditing practices.

    Tooling advice

    Tooling advice

    Our consultants advise you on the best tools (BigFix, ILMT, and other tools on the market) and methods to manage your IBM compliance in the most cost-effective way possible.

    Data quality

    Data quality

    The data collected by your tools is verified, standardized and enriched using our internal tool, resulting in maximum reliability.

    Power of optimizations

    Power of optimizations

    Elée’s mathematical models and tools offer unparalleled optimal allocations to generate maximum savings.

    Audit Ready

    Audit ready

    Our compliance calculations and optimizations are tested daily by audits at our key customers.

    “As part of an IBM audit, Elée supported us in managing the relationship with the publisher. They took control of the discussions, while carrying out the collection and analysis work. The optimizations identified and implemented by Elée enabled us to reduce our risk of non-compliance by several tens of millions of Euros and to find a better financial deal with the publisher. Following the audit, Elée helped us to implement and configure our ILMT and to make our IBM license management into a systematic activity.”

    Head of Software Asset Management Essilor


    The tool designed by Elée to manage your software compliance online!

    Request a callback from an expert

    Chat directly with Joseph Abou Atmé, IBM Licensing and Contracts Expert at Elée!