IBM’s Authorized SAM Partner (IASP) Initiative- FAQs

The IASP initiative was launched in early 2019. Over its first year IASP received overwhelming positive feedback and increasing momentum in the marketplace. To address the growing interest, we’ve collected the most common questions that we get asked about this initiative:

1. What is the IASP initiative?
IBM’s Authorized SAM Partner (IASP) offers an alternative to license compliance audits and provides other benefits to approved IBM customers who engage one of 4 globally-authorized managed service providers and sign the IASP agreement with IBM.

2. What are the customer benefits in IASP?
IASP conveys a number of benefits to the customer, including the following:

a. No audits. Eliminating the business disruption and significant effort associated in responding to an IBM audit, as well as the risk of an unbudgeted license compliance exposure.
b. No full-capacity pricing. Customers who sign up for IASP will not be subject to full-capacity pricing by IBM anywhere, regardless of ILMT/BigFix deployment history (typically, IBM PVU products are subject to full capacity pricing if ILMT/BigFix has not been installed on the same machine since its deployment or the last 2-years, whichever period is shorter). This benefit alone could represent a very substantial commercial value.
c. Optimization. Ability to optimize the environment. For example, software that was deployed by accident and never used may be removed without incurring a license liability to IBM. Also, through the managed SAM service the customer gains visibility into its IBM software usage, which allows the customer to negotiate from a position of knowledge.
d. Normal commercial terms. All transactions are done under normal commercial terms (never any penalties), and may be processed through a reseller, if desired.
e. Ability to use Flexera in lieu of ILMT/BigFix. IBM customers under IASP who request it may use Flexera in lieu of ILMT/BigFix as their approved sub-capacity reporting tool.

3. How many IBM customers have signed up for IASP and what is their profile?
Dozens of IBM customers around the world have already signed up with many others in the process of signing. Typically, these are the largest multinational customers (Fortune 1000).

4. What has been the reaction to IASP so far by customers who have signed up?
All IBM customers without exception who have signed to IASP have been extremely pleased with the program so far, and all intend to continue being part of this initiative.

5. What are the requirements to be included in the IASP initiative?
The main requirements for inclusion in the IASP initiative are:

a. Be approved by IBM for inclusion in the program. The IASP initiative is by-invitation only and customer acceptance is not automatic.
b. Engage one of 4 globally-authorized managed service providers (of which Anglepoint is one) in a qualifying managed service.
c. Sign an “IASP Agreement” with IBM. This formal agreement addresses both the requirements and the benefits of the IASP initiative.

6. Who are the global managed service providers authorized by IBM?
KPMG, Deloitte, EY, and Anglepoint

7. Why does IBM have only 4 authorized SAM partners globally, and how were they selected?
IBM has selected a small number of global providers who have demonstrated the highest levels of integrity and competence in IBM licensing and SAM, and the ability to scale up to support IBM customers globally. At this point IBM is not considering adding authorized providers.

8. What is a qualifying managed service?
A qualifying SAM managed service under the IASP initiative must meet a several minimal requirements, including the following:

a. Coverage of the entire IBM software estate, i.e. PVU, non-PVU, Mainframe, for all customer entities and site numbers
b. Initial sub-capacity reporting tool health-check & remediation (if needed)
c. Initial baseline of all IBM software
d. Periodic preparation of Effective License Position (ELP) reports. For example, quarterly for PVU-based products, annual for all other products.
e. Annual sub-capacity reporting tool health-check & remediation (if needed)

9. Is IBM party to the agreement between the customer and the authorized SAM service provider?
No. IBM is not party, nor has any visibility, to the SAM managed services agreement between the customer and the authorized provider. That agreement is subject to the confidentiality terms between the customer and the provider. Also, in many cases, the same provider is covering other software publishers and other SAM activities for the same customer under the same agreement.

10. Is the service provider party to the IASP agreement between the customer and IBM?
No. The IASP Agreement is only between IBM and the customer.

11. What is in the IASP Agreement between the customer and IBM?
The IASP Agreement lists the initiative requirement and grants the benefits (e.g. no audit).

12. How do I apply to be part of the IASP initiative?
You may contact either IBM or one of the 4 authorized providers. Acceptance into this initiative is subject to approval by IBM.

13. If I received an audit letter, can I sign up for IASP then and get the audit cancelled?
No. IBM’s policy is that an audit which has already been notified to the customer must be completed before the customer could be considered for the IASP initiative. For this reason, customers may want to proactively apply for the IASP initiative sooner rather than later.

14. Does the service provider report anything to IBM as part of this initiative? Is this just a back-door audit?
No. The service provider is engaged only by the customer and works only for the customer. The provider is neither required nor expected to report anything back to IBM at any point during its engagement with the customer. Regardless, the service provider is typically bound by strict confidentiality/NDA with the customer that prevents any reporting or sharing of any data or any other customer information with IBM. Any reporting requirements the customer may have under IASP are between the customer and IBM only. The IASP initiative is based on trust between IBM and the customer and is designed as a forward-looking, non-punitive alternative to traditional license audits.

15. Does the customer report anything to IBM as part of this initiative?
The customer is required, in the IASP agreement, to provide certain periodic reports to IBM (for example, quarterly PVU ELPs and annual non-PVU ELPs). These are self-reports, and IBM trusts the customer in good faith that the reports provided are complete accurate.

16. Why is IBM asking for periodic reports? Is IBM auditing these reports?
The periodic reports are not reviewed by auditors. Rather, IBM is using the reports to ensure the customer is still fulfilling its requirements per the IASP agreement. Should the reports indicate over-deployment of licenses, the customer is expected to true up on a timely basis as a normal business transaction.

17. Can the customer optimize its environment before submitting the reports to IBM?
Yes. One of the benefits of IASP is a continuously optimized IBM software estate. Customer are not only allowed but are in fact expected to optimize their environment. For example, removal of software deployed by accident that has not been used. Optimization activities are handled only between the customer and its service provider. Any reports which the customer provides to IBM reflect the customer’s already-optimized position. This is of a very different approach from an audit, where customer is expected to pay for software found to be deployed.