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Posted by Clarence Villanueva on August 10, 2011
I’m conducting research for our sourcing clients about the right approach to take in IBM software audits. In combing through Forrester’s IBM software sourcing inquiries, I’ve found that most sourcing professionals don't realize they have a licensing problem until it's too late — and they’re struggling to get quick information and guidance.
Some of the problems are vendor-driven: Market expectations keep the IBM Software Group on a high growth trajectory, and license audits contribute to their objectives. Others are client-driven: IBM's clients should expect audits that reconcile license discrepancies but then struggle to leverage resources to remain compliant. Regardless of the underlying reasons, these audits often end up in the same place — clients who are drowning in contract administration and compliance costs and frustrated with their IBM relationship.
As part of my research on the auditing process, I’ve been interviewing some former IBM sales reps, and I’m seeing a few trends. Some of my preliminary findings indicate:
Sound frightening? Perhaps, if you expected your sales rep was always acting in your best interest. Informative? Absolutely. Staying connected with IBM’s audit process can help you prepare for the audit process yourself — and even improve your relationships with IBM.
It’s important to note that these preliminary findings may not be representative of all situations. But as I continue my research, I’ll post other findings. In fact, that’s a key reason for this post: If you've managed an organization through an IBM audit or have an IBM negotiation story, I'd love to hear about your experience. Further research with users is needed to make sure we aren’t getting too much ex-employee bias. If you’re not comfortable posting in the comments, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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