top of page

IBM Software License Audit Insights for 2024: Trends and Strategies

As we've observed an uptick in IBM Software License Reviews, it's crucial to prepare for the continuing trends in IBM audits we anticipate for 2024. Throughout the past 8 years, SCG has been at the forefront of defending IBM customers against software license audits.


Risks of Full Capacity Licensing


Full capacity licensing is a well-known issue among IBM license management veterans, yet many customers still find themselves blindsided by audit reports based on full capacity, leading to substantial compliance risks.


Despite the common belief that deploying IBM's license metric tool (ILMT) covers sub capacity licensing requirements, many are surprised to find that mere installation isn't enough. Precise configuration of ILMT data collection and the deployment of BigFix agents on all relevant machines are essential steps.


Facing a compliance report based on full capacity licensing might seem daunting, but IBM often shows a willingness to negotiate settlements more reflective of a sub capacity license position.


Key to negotiating a favorable settlement is the ability to present well-documented arguments and corrections, not limited to sub capacity issues. The stronger and more detailed the evidence, the better the settlement outcome.


Through strategic approaches, SCG has successfully shielded numerous clients from compliance exposures, even those exceeding $200 million.


The IASP (IBM Authorized SAM Provider) Program


Launched in 2019, IBM's IASP program has been presented as a preventive measure against software audits or a means to secure favorable audit conclusions.


SCG has fielded numerous inquiries about the IASP program's benefits and drawbacks. While the decision to join should be based on individual circumstances, we've identified common factors applicable to most IBM clients.


Benefits of IASP:


  • Predictability: Regular quarterly compliance reviews reduce the risk of unexpected large exposures.

  • Expertise: IASP partners offer specialized knowledge in ILMT and sub capacity licensing.

  • Leniency: The program includes terms allowing for the removal of "accidental" installations without penalty, within limits.

  • Confidentiality: Information shared with IASP partners remains confidential, though compliance shortfalls must be reported to IBM.

Drawbacks of IASP:


  • Cost: Unlike audits funded by IBM, the IASP program costs are borne by the customer.

  • Potential Conflicts of Interest: Despite being customer-funded, IASP partners have substantial business ties to IBM.

  • Control Loss: Engaging with IASP partners and IBM reduces control over your IBM software compliance posture.

  • Long-Term Considerations: IBM's focus on customer satisfaction could shift towards revenue generation, affecting the program's nature.

Legacy OS Licensing Risks and Container Licensing


Legacy operating systems continue to present compliance risks, especially as IBM phases out sub-capacity eligibility for older OS versions. Proactive management of ILMT reports and foresight into future OS support withdrawals are critical.


Container licensing, though not a primary audit focus, raises questions about IBM's rules. The introduction of new Passport Advantage terms in February 2023 simplifies container licensing, emphasizing the need for awareness and strategic license management.


Navigating New Passport Advantage Terms


IBM's latest Passport Advantage terms introduce significant changes, including annual reporting requirements and stipulations for reducing maintenance quantities. Understanding these changes is vital for maintaining compliance and preparing for potential audits.

SCG's Audit Defense Expertise

Navigating an IBM software license audit can be daunting. SCG offers comprehensive guidance and defense strategies to mitigate audit impacts and safeguard your legal and professional standing.

If you're facing an IBM software license audit or have questions about our defense services, reach out to us at for expert assistance.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
bottom of page