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IBM & SAP Seminar: IBM has over 143 License Metrics to manage, SAP has over 70!

Martin Thompson presenting at the IBM and SAP seminar

Martin Thompson presenting at the IBM and SAP seminar

On April 28th, 2015, we hosted an IBM and SAP seminar in London, with the aim of providing ITAM professionals a day full of IBM and SAP advice and knowledge. The event was well attended with over 50 delegates as well as a number of SAP and IBM Licensing experts who were on hand to provide expert advice. We would like to thank all of our delegates who attended the event, and we hope you found it useful. Furthermore, we’d also like to thank our sponsors Aspera, Flexera Software and Snow Software. We would also like to thank our expert guest speakers who provided valuable content to the delegates.

Before we progress with a report from the day, we’d like to mention that we are hosting a week of events in New York in May. These events are completely FREE, and we still have a few spaces left. To find out more about these events, and to register, please click here.


First to speak about IBM licensing and license management was Mathias Knops from Aspera. He highlighted a number of complicated licensing metrics within IBM software, including the complex PUV (Processor Value Unit) model. Mathias suggested that users need a tool to help manage and identify their IBM users and license metrics, and we second this piece of advice. SAM tools without additional functionality to support IBM will not add as much value, or provide as much data as a dedicated, specialist solution will.

Mathias also mentioned that there are a lot of different data sources all feeding into a SAM tool to provide IBM information, and that all of these data sets need to be consolidated. Mathias believes that users get too confused by all of the different sets of IBM data, and that IBM customers and users need help in managing the complex world of IBM software.

Eric Chiu was the next IBM expert to speak to our delegates. He revealed that he has found over 31,000 different IBM applications that are categorized into 5 different pillars. This in turn means that there are 143 different IBM license metrics! Amazingly, Eric stated that only PVU could be tracked via SAM tools. That’s scary to think that SAM Managers cannot manage all IBM license types.

Eric listed the three biggest risks that IBM licensing poses. Number One was IBM and virtualization, Number Two is ineffective user management and finally, the third biggest risk with IBM was listed as managing IBM within a multi platform environment. It is therefore vital that IBM customers read the Terms and Conditions of their license agreement to ensure they full understand their entitlement. A business purchases IBM licenses; therefore it is the business responsibility to manage those licenses correctly.

There was a lot of conversation around sub capacity licenses, and how IBM moves the goal posts with regards to the license metrics. Eric was quick to state that IBM cannot and will not change the licensing metrics during an existing contract or agreement, however they are fully entitled to change the license metrics once an organisations enters into a new agreement.


Mark Bartrick from Forrester presented on ’50 Shades of Compliance’, which relates to how organisations can be compliant with SAP licenses, and how easy it is to fall out of compliance. The first thing an organisation can do, according to Mark, is to minimize bad SAP behaviour by doing the following three things:

  1. Provide a good education
  2. Have a good SAM tool
  3. Implement sub policing

It is important that SAP customers remove any ‘grey’ areas when negotiating their SAP contract. Mark was keen to make the point that the organisation needs to understand their SAP contract and entitlement inside out, to avoid any issues with compliance and auditors.

Mark stated that he has seen over 70 different types of SAP user licenses, with a number of these license types unique to certain organisations. In order to get the most out of your SAP contract or SAP licenses, organisations need to replace the standard SAP license types with relevant license metrics for that organisation. These can be custom metrics, or they can be pre-existing ones that have been used before.

Indirect usage is the biggest challenge faced by SAP users, and is the biggest source of revenue for SAP through audits. We have always maintained that having a solution that can manage indirect usage is vital, and we recently release our SAP Tools Group Test results. Mark noted that SAP were 2% down in Q1, and that the method SAP will use to claw back this revenue is by auditing their customers.

Kim Chalmers was the other SAP expert on hand to offer advice, this time based on SAP audits. He stated that he finds it is a massive challenge finding the right questions to ask SAP during an audit, and that an organisation needs to approach a SAP audit with caution.

Kim also said that SAP change their licensing metrics all the time, and that SAM tool is not the only resource required to manage SAP licenses, human interaction is also required. He has found people making mistakes managing SAP licenses within SAM tools, and he has also found that the technologies make mistakes with SAP licensing metrics. Governance and review is required to ensure that any SAM solution is showing valid, accurate data.

Finally, Kim made the very valid point that miss interpreting a SAP contract can end up costing an organisation millions of pounds. If certain usage allowances are not in the contract, then do not assume that that means you can use it in a certain way. SAP will state only what you can do, so assume anything else is off limits. Kim was of the belief that SAP is increasing their audit activity because it is easy money for them, and they do minimal work for that extra revenue.


The afternoon sessions were broken into two workshops; one for IBM and one for SAP. Delegates had the opportunity to grill our panel of experts about software licensing and to ask for advice on any issues that they had within their organisation.

Within the IBM workshop, Eric Chiu provided the delegates with a mock-up case study for a pretend organisation that is being audited by IBM. Eric then set the delegates a number of questions and tasked them to come up with the correct answers, or the correct course of action to take. This was a great success and proved to provide a number of key talking points regarding people’s different methods for how they would handle an IBM audit.

The SAP workshop was more of a question and answer session with a panel of experts. Delegates fired a number of questions at our experts, and they provided valuable and relevant advice. This type of advice is critical to any SAM or Licensing Manager who is struggling with certain vendor’s software licensing, as it provides answers and advice without the need to go directly to the vendor and possibly trigger an audit.


Once again, thank you to everyone who attended. It was a brilliant day and we hope you gained a lot from it. We have recently released our updated IBM Licensing Quick Guide, and our SAP Licensing Quick Guide should you need any further information on these licensing metrics.

If you missed out on this event, but want to know more about future events, please subscribe to our mailing list to be the first to hear about future events. We have a number of events planned for the rest of this year in the UK and America that we hope is of interest to you.

About David Foxen

David Foxen is a Software Asset Management expert and enthusiast. He had a vast experience of successfully implementing SAM, SAM tools and also made huge cost savings. A member of the ISO Standards WG21, David is a massive ITAM geek, so uses any opportunity to talk about the subject to who-ever will listen. He believes that the industry needs to share its knowledge and success stories to help the SAM industry mature and become more effective. Always willing to help, his primary goal is to make a difference to organisations and the SAM industry so everyone will know how epic SAM is!

One Comment

  1. Great event guys. Looking forward to one on Oracle.

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