Differences Between Software Asset Management and IT Asset Management

What is the difference between Software Asset Management (SAM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM)? It’s been a long time since the IT department was all of one overworked staff member, who sighed long and hard whenever someone asked them how to send an email. Now that digital transformation has touched almost every industry,  it has left us with many new titles that may be difficult to tell apart, such as the difference between ITAM and SAM. At Metrixdata360, although we specialize in Software Asset Management, we often find confusion around such topics, so we thought we’d clearly define the two categories.

What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)?

ITAM Defined

According to Comparesoft’s article The Real Difference Between ITAM and ITSM, ITAM stands for IT Asset Management and it is a practice of managing all the assets in your organization –such as hardware, software, network, and non-network devices. ITAM specializes in licensing, technical support and maintenance, and is designed to bring down the costs of an asset throughout its lifecycle. If there is a branch-wide server failure, ITAM is involved and for this reason, ITAM will often be the department that will see the most interaction with other departments and upper managers.

Do I Need ITAM?

According to ITAM’s article Building the Business case for ITAM, since personal and company motivations behind ITAM can be unique, there’s no single answer as to which area of ITAM will benefit your company most.

However, ITAM specializes in improving agility and efficiency, so if these two areas have been a headache in the past when it comes to your company’s technological profile, it might be a smart idea to approach the idea of ITAM. Some of the expected benefits that can be gained from undertaking an effective ITAM strategy is reduced audit spending, reduced unused assets, quicker and more accurate migration, upgrades, planning, more accurate budgeting, and a more secure system, just to name a few advantages.

What Does a Good ITAM Expert Do?

Usually ITAM is focused only on high value items while the more specific cases will be handed off to more narrowly focused roles. This means that a strong ITAM team would be in close contact with the CIO and Procurement. The team could consist of licensing specialists and program managers, who would answer to the Software Asset Manager, who would answer to the IT Asset Manager.

An effective IT Asset Manager can stretch an asset far beyond its anticipated value, such as reselling or transferring an asset, finding alternative uses, or extending the use life of an asset. They can fully utilize the usage rights of a product and train people to be technology experts.

Bottom Line: How Much Does an IT Asset Manager Cost?

According to Salary.com, the salary range of an IT Asset Manager is anywhere between $95,000 and $128,000 a year in the United States.

What is Software Asset Management?

SAM Defined

SAM stands for Software Asset Management. It can be recognized as a sub-category of ITAM, along with Hardware Asset Management (HAM). According to Aspera’s What is Software Asset Management and How to Get Started, Software Asset management is focused primarily on lowering the budget expenses of a company through controlling and automating the processes of procurement, use, and deployment regarding software licensing.

SAM focuses mainly on optimizing licenses, saving money and remaining in compliance to a license’s use rights. An effective SAM strategy will mean that you will have a lower risk of being audited by a software vendor and your compliance gap will be lower if you are audited.

Do I Need SAM?

ITAM’s article What is the Difference Between SAM and ITAM? points out that software is harder to track since it is not tangible. Hardware can be counted and can collect dust in the back-storage room if it is not being used. Software, on the other hand, is not eye catching when you are out of compliance. Software audits can be staggeringly expensive, so software asset management’s main job is to make sure the company remains in compliance.

It is a huge undertaking considering that each vendor has its own way of writing up licenses and conducting audits. Microsoft alone changes its policies around licensing roughly 300 times a year. Many businesses choose to outsource SAM to consultants on a short-term basis while they build the capability of their internal team. For a more detailed look into if you need a SAM professional or not, visit our article Hire a Software Asset Management Expert or Do it Yourself? The Pros and Cons of Each.

What Does a Good SAM Expert Do?

According to Aspera’s What is Software Asset Management and How to Get Started, an effective SAM expert can potentially save you 30% on your licensing expenses and even more money when it comes to a software audit. Imagine handing your data over to a software auditor and producing the conclusion that you actually owe less than the auditors anticipated.

A well-organized software audit will not only mean your compliance gap will be smaller, it will also mean you are less likely to be audited again in the near future. Software vendors perform audits as a way to make money off of their customers; if they do not believe you’re likely to yield a high return for their efforts, then they’ll target potentially more profitable clients. Software asset management is in high demand with a shortage of skilled professionals currently in the marketplace, especially in areas of software licensing, software asset management and contract experience. For this reason, it will make it difficult to find an effective in-house software asset manager, which is why companies will usually hire consultants.

Bottom Line: How Much Does a Software Asset Manager Cost?

According to Glassdoor, the average in-house Software Asset Manager can earn roughly $85,000 a year in the United States. Hiring an external software asset management team would cause the price to vary depending on the size of your company, the type of vendor that you’re dealing with, the time frame, and the consultation payment method that you can choose from (such as a flat rate or contingency rate). For more information about hiring a SAM consultant, please visit our How to Hire a SAM Expert post.

For More Information on Managing Your Assets

While ITAM and SAM may seem similar, they hold different areas of focus: one that is looking at the general picture and one that is looking at a small but important part of your IT profile. It is important to understand the difference between the two, so that there can be an effective strategy for both SAM and ITAM within your company. With strong SAM and ITAM, you won’t be scrambling to get your digital environments under control. At Metrixdata360, we are committed to providing you with solid Software Asset Management service. For more information on how Software Asset Management can better serve your company, head over to our SAM as a Service Page.

5 Simple Tips for Software Contract Negotiation

Is your company looking at a new or renewed Software Contract or Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, Oracle, or IBM? You’ve come to the right place to learn how to enter your software contract negotiation with confidence.

MetrixData 360 has helped our clients negotiate over 1.5 billion dollars in software contracts. We’ve done hundreds of negotiations and it has made us experts in getting companies the best deal possible. We often see organizations that were only considering an upfront discount for a software contract. This bottom-line discount strategy when negotiating a new 

Software contract can result in money being left on the table. In many cases it can end up costing more over the period of the contract.

Entering into a Software Contract Negotiation? Speak with a Negotiation Expert


1. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute to Start Your Software Contract Negotiation

MetrixData 360 recommends that you start the renewal process 7-9 months prior to the actual renewal. Assessing your footprint for the software publisher as a whole takes time. You should understand your consumption rates for software licensing, as well as things like maintenance or software assurance. You may have been paying much more for software than is required.


2. Talk To All Internal Stakeholders

In a Software contract renewal, we see many times that the entire negotiation is left up to the procurement team. Staff in procurement can be great at negotiating a bottom-line discount. However, they can overlook what is important to other departments like Legal or IT. Having someone that can speak to and ensure that all of the needs of the different divisions in a company are considered is key.


3. Understand the Difference Between What You Need and What You Don’t

Many times in software contract negotiations, understanding what you don’t need is more important than what you do need. Every renewal cycle brings out the sales teams from software companies. They’ll tell you what your business needs and really can’t do without. They’ll say that if you don’t jump on board, your organization will be left behind. We’ve all seen it with the push to cloud based applications. What many organizations fail to do is ask the simple question: what is the return on investment to my business? MetrixData 360 would recommend that you actually go one step further and ask: do you know what your company actually does? In almost every case, software sales teams don’t know. They are only trained to sell you the latest offerings. The ones that equal compensation for them. Understanding this and not falling prey to programmatic sales tactics can save your organization a lot of money.


4. Maintain a Single Point of Contact for the Software Publisher Throughout the Negotiation

These software vendors are strategic partners in your business. Many times they have staff who work closely with different parts of your company to explore or implement their software. When negotiating a software contract those contacts need to be limited and if possible shut down. Communication should only happen via the designated point of contact. It should be treated no different than an RFP. Make no mistake, the publisher sales teams are discussing all potential avenues to upsell. They want to tie their renewal proposals to initiatives that they are all working on. We recommend sending an internal memo that spells out a blackout period. Any contact with the publisher needs to be approved so as not to compromise your position in the negotiation.


5. Hire Experienced Experts To Assist With Your Preparation and Negotiations

Finally, hire experts in dealing with those software publishers. Here at MetrixData 360, we did extensive searches to find the most qualified professionals. They all have extensive and knowledge of the software vendors that spans far beyond software licensing. MetrixData 360’s staff also have a deep understanding of the culture within the vendor companies. They understand the way that sales teams are compensated, the metrics on which compensation is based. Our team knows the right path of escalation for specific requests, and how to ensure they will be accepted and approved. While you deal with negotiating a vendor specific contract every 3 to 5 years, this is what we do every day all year long. Working with experts can get your organization the best deal possible.


*It is important to note that MetrixData 360 does not resell software and does not partner with any software publishers. We feel that doing so would create a conflict of interest. What motivation does a reseller have to get your company the best deal, when they profit from selling you more software? MetrixData 360’s goal in a contract negotiation is to save our clients the most money possible. We want to get them what they need and grow their company’s relationship with the software publisher as a strategic partner.

What are Software Asset Management (SAM) Tools: Functions, Advantages, and Disadvantages

In this modern age of technology, Software Asset Management tools are becoming a necessity in managing the growing complexity of a company’s software infrastructure and inventory. But what exactly is a SAM tool and what does it do? Will SAM tools help or hinder attempts to track your software usage? At Metrixdata360, we are happy to share the benefit of our experience in having spent decades working in this industry. We can tell you exactly what a SAM tool is good for, where its limitations lie, and what the tool’s function will be in the case of a software audit.

See how the best SAM Tools on the market stack up:

Download our SAM Tool Card Collection today!

What are Software Asset Management Tools?

Software Asset Management tools are software programs designed to make tracking your software licensing easy and efficient, such as Metrixdata360’s SAM Compass. According to the ITAM Review, SAM tools can provide inventory and discovery services, monitoring accounts for both passive and active use, usage statistics, datacenter management, and virtual environment management, to simply name a few. Many older SAM tools still in use in the market today prove useful only in inventory related usage reporting since they struggle to account for multiple licensing metrics, but you will want a SAM tool that can do both.


Benefits of SAM Tools

SAM tools can provide so much benefit to your company if used properly and according to Technologyconcepts, and Dynamixsolutions some of those benefits include:

  • Allowing your IT Department to Demonstrate Worth and Strategy
  • Avoiding huge fines
  • Decreasing your chances of being audited

Let’s go through some of these benefits one by one.


IT Department can Demonstrate Worth and Strategy

The IT department, with SAM on their side, is given the opportunity to effectively show where and how the organization’s IT budget is being spent. With that kind of data at their disposal, the IT department can effectively make the case for the deployment of needed software. Dynamixsolutions specifically points out that SAM tools also come with a security component to it as well, which can lower the chance of viruses, network breaches or malware, a much-appreciated benefit that allows your IT department to sleep a little more easily at night.


Avoiding Huge Fines

With an accurate inventory of environment deployments, SAM tools track and provide up-to-date views of where budget is being invested. The data collected by these tools is critical during a software audit to prove that the organization is within compliance. Having a compliance gap can cost huge, un-budgeted financial penalties that can devastate a company’s balance sheet. Inaccurate data can often inflate compliance gaps by sometimes more than double of what might actually be owed. Having clear, concise reports of inventory is essential in order to counter the auditor’s findings and could spare you a more painful-than-necessary penalty should you be out of compliance when audited.


Decreasing Your Chances of Being Audited by Software Vendors

While there is little that can be done to perpetually avoid being audited, there are ways organizations can manage their audit risks. Software vendors are more likely to initiate an audit when they sense the complexity of a company’s environment and suspect that little is in place to monitor that complexity. Having effective SAM tools at your disposal is one way to properly demonstrate to vendors that if an audit is called, your licensing environment will be well inventoried with accessible reporting readily available. Being able to demonstrate preparedness can go a long way in encouraging both publishers and auditors to turn their gaze towards more penalty-lucrative environments than yours.


Additional Features SAM Tools Offer

  • Re-deployment recommendations, which will allow for the rearrangement of licenses, taking from spots where you are overpaying and reapplying them to where you are underpaying
  • Datacenter and server solutions

These features are wonderful to help improve your ability to track your license compliance but where does that usefulness end?

Disadvantages of SAM Tools

In every ad for SAM tools out there, the program is passed off as the last stop on your way to easy street. After you’ve installed your SAM tool, your job is done and you’re completely in compliance, now you can relax and get back to what you do best, running your business and taking care of your clients. Right? Everyone buys SAM tools with the desire to make sure they are not offside of their contracts with the software vendors they work with. SAM tools do that to an extent but there are critical limitations in functionality with every SAM tool that you need to be aware of in order to leverage the SAM tool fully in its area of strength.


Weaknesses Commonly Found in SAM Tools

  • According to Flexera’s blog post Three Reasons Why Software Asset Management Programs Have Difficulty Realizing Value, one of the biggest weaknesses organizations face with their SAM tools are the people using the tools. A tool is only as good as the people using it, meaning a rookie with the program will likely miss deployments or fail to interpret the data in an optimized way.
  • SAM tools have trouble accounting for changes in your environment, such as changes to your licenses; or the improper removal of old software, which can leave exposure to unexpected duplicates.
  • SAM tools also struggle in distinguishing the difference between test environments and fully deployed software, which may leave you overestimating or underestimating the number of fully functioning installations.
  • If you’ve purchased OEM or retail boxes, your SAM tool may not recognize them in Its database.

Understanding the limitations of your SAM tool is just as important as understanding the functionality it brings. When purchasing a SAM tool, finding one that best fits your unique environment requirements is the key to preventing the need to maintain spreadsheets to make up for missing information; or worse yet, being forced to buy another SAM tool.


Further Available Research

It’s important to keep your licensing position under control in order to protect your company from the unforeseen expenses of a potential audit. Software Asset Management tools are one great method that can help you keep your company’s assets and inventory organized; but it shouldn’t be the only method you use. At Metrixdata360, we use the SAM tools that you already have installed and augment their functionality with our own proprietary SAM toolsets we’ve developed over time in order to provide the most accurate results for any upcoming software audit or SAM review. For more information about SAM tools, please consult our Learning Center.

Partnering CFO and CIO: How to Use Tech to Save Money 

In our eighty years of collective experience in this software licensing and auditing business, we’ve seen plenty of miscommunication happen between the CFO and the CIO. We have often seen these two key roles struggle, not only to stay on the same page but to speak the same language. Finding common ground for these two parties in software asset management is not only possible but critical for the success of any business. Since we often find ourselves balancing between these two different interests when it comes to something so critical like software asset management, we thought we’d share with you some of our findings on a CIO’s and a CFO’s unique points of view, to hopefully shrink the translation gap.

How Digital Transformation is Widening the gap between CFO and CIO

What was the IT department in business thirty years ago beyond those three people in the basement who surfaced only when a printer jammed? Back then in many industries, digital technology had no real sway over the success of a company. With the age of digital transformation, that fact has changed. Now it is a matter of survival that businesses keep up with the latest technology and IT has found themselves moved from the basement to the center stage. With the growing complexity of software licensing, ensuring software compliance can no longer be done with spreadsheets and enough organizational effort. However, such constant updates are unsettling for many businesses since change means risks and the person who hates change and risk the most is the CFO, it’s practically in their job description. The situation isn’t helped that technology is currently the largest expense a CFO has to manage, and that number is only growing as technology steadily transforms how companies are run. The CIO has to be a leader in this new technological age, both in implementing new technology and ensuring that their licenses all line up. This is where the confrontation comes from between CFO and CIO. A CIO must be innovative in order to succeed while a CFO needs to be conservative and figure out how to save their company money whenever possible.

Approaches to New Software: Competitive Advantage vs. Strategic Planning

What a Chief Information Officer Sees

A CIO typically climbs the ladder through demonstrating experience and skills in technology, so they are likely to appreciate the value of an easily implemented and efficient piece of software. They view the company in respects to how technology can improve their already existing architecture, so that means they have an interest in how technology changes.

While a new piece of software is likely the result of a successful negotiation with software vendors, it is also the beginning of a new project for a CIO’s department, something to implement, maintain and track to ensure its efficiency in the company’s technological infrastructure. It is also something that continues to make their job relevant, as many CIOs are worried that their role and their control over their department will be effectively be absorbed by the CFO despite how digital transformation has made their job more relevant than ever. In fact, in a survey conducted by Gartner and Financial Executives Research Foundation and presented in Techopedia’s article: CFO and CIO: How to Smooth out Conflicting Roles, 42% of IT organizations and executives answered to the CFO and when considering all IT investments 26% were approved by the CFO and only 5% were approved by the CIO. This transition has left CIOs feeling less confident, with only 31% seeing themselves as a valued service.

To make matters worse, in this digitally transformed age a CIO would understand the value of environment development life cycles and know that IT upgrades are needed for success, however, a CFO doesn’t necessarily value technology for technology’s sake. In fact, they could easily see it as an unneeded expense. The financial department has been relevant for far longer than the IT department has and traditionally speaking the ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ has served companies well.  For this reason, often CIO’s investment proposals for new tech or better software is often met with an unwavering ‘no’. 

How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace:

Keep in mind how unheard and undervalued CIOs often feel. A CIO is usually only seen as the delivery of a function and would rather have a seat at the executive table than constantly feel like their authority is being undermined. A CFO should approach the situation less like a boss and more like a peer. Try to stress that any issue between the two parties is not a matter of constant cutbacks and penny pinching, but the increased business opportunity through IT.

What the Chief Finance Officer Sees

For a CFO, everything is based upon risk and rewards. They evaluate business objectives and generate a budget off of those goals. A new piece of technology can be seen as a financial risk that a CFO must turn into a strong investment with a high return. Ultimately, they are responsible for setting IT’s budget. Should the new product spike the company’s cost unexpectedly, it will be the CFO and the CIO’s collective headache to manage.

Since technology has sometimes failed to return on its promised revenue in the past, there is a practical side to curbing IT’s spending urges. That being said if the CFO believes that the new software might improve the company’s growth or provide a competitive advantage then they could easily become an advocate of the new technology. With this new age of expanding complexity, CFOs are no longer simply focused on the budget, they also have to become more collaborative and willing to accept the risks of technological advancement.

How to Improve Workplace Communication:

Demonstrations are an excellent way to allow CIOs and CFOs to meet in the middle if a CFO were given the chance to try something that was concrete and present, they may be able to better understand its benefits.

Using SAM as a Platform for Co-operation between CIOs and CFOs

Software Licenses and Inventory Under Control

According to CIO’s article: How to Survive a Nasty Software Vendor Audit, the CIO has to make sure that their data including inventory and licenses are ready to go. That being said, a CIO has a million and one things to do during their day, so having another massive project dumped unexpectedly into their lap is less than ideal. The software audit will also involve many wasted hours drained from the CIO’s top paid IT staff when they are forced to hunt down pieces of data that the auditors might request.

The very sight of an audit might leave a CIO feeling overwhelmed, wondering how they will ever produce the data required in such a short turnaround time. Self-auditing is one way a strong CIO can prepare for a software audit. It will mean that the CIO’s company will have the data to effectively respond to a software audit in a timely manner. According to CIO’s article: How Well do You Know SAM, SAM tools can prove the lifeblood of a self-audit. Although CIOs are often faced with the need to justify a SAM tools labor-intensive and seemingly costly performance to the CFO.

It’s not a flashy upgrade or a hardware rejuvenation, in fact, SAM performed effectively does seemingly nothing at all. The business progresses, deals get made, company BBQs commence, and life is good because there’s no software audit fine to gut the company’s budget. That kind of ROI will not be appealing to the CFO.

How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace:

A discussion into Software Asset management must be done with careful consideration into financial, contractual and legal risk. A three-year road map can chart the expected factors that can drive an asset into reality such as visibility (known unknown and unknown unknowns about your environment), compliance, efficiency, agility, and profit, according to Martin Thompson’s Practical ITAM. 

For more information on SAM tools and the benefits they can bring to a company, please visit our SAM as a Service article.

Software Asset Management Tools = Money Saved

CFOs don’t really have an involvement in a software audit except when they are forced to re-crunch the numbers to account for a massive unbudgeted fine or if the software audit goes to court and tarnishes the business’s reputation. Despite the expense of a SAM tool that might make a CFO cringe, according to Snow’s article Software Asset Management and the CFO, SAM tools can still be are a great way for the CFO to track waste. The re-harvesting tool in SAM features would be exceptionally useful to CFOs, as it can track where the company has purchased too many licenses in one area and redistributes it to unlicensed areas.

Workplace Communication Tip:

Avoid pushing technology for technology’s sake and instead focus on the money saving capabilities of SAM tools. According to Martin Thompson’s book Practical ITAM1, think about answering the three questions: what’s in it for the CFO personally? What’s in it for the CFO’s department? What is in it for the company? Answering these three questions will create a better argument for the proposed SAM tool.

For more information on how CFOs can benefit from Software Management, check out our article CFO Software Management.

Currently, technology and finances stand as two of the most important pillars of business and the departments are steadily becoming more dependent on mutual communication and cooperation for success. At Metrixdata360, throughout our years as software consultants, we have had to navigate these two regions to satisfy both. If you’d like to know more about how Metrixdata360 can meet the needs of both your financial and technology departments, check out our Service Page for more details.

IBM ILMT: Everything You Need to Know

It can be a struggle to manage your licenses when your software estate reaches a global scale and has hundreds, if not thousands, of users. When dealing with IBM licensing there are a number of license metrics that you need to manage including both Processor Value Units (PVU) and Resource Value Units (RVU).  In highly virtualized environments, IBM will license PVU and RVU based on Sub-Capacity, something that most other software tools do not measure.

IBM’s ILMT is an excellent way to monitor Sub-Capacity environments but, while ILMT is an added feature to many IBM purchases, what is it good for? And should you be concerned now that IBM has sold the product to HCL? At MetrixData 360, we have spent many years helping our clients manage their IBM software licensing environments, including their ILMT, so in this blog, we’ll go into what ILMT is and its advantages and disadvantages to you as an IBM customer.

What is PVU Licensing?

Processor Value Units (PVU) were first brought out as a new licensing metric in 2006 and can be described as a license metric that uses the type of processor and number of cores that are available to the product as the key factors to determine the number of licenses that you need to purchase. IBM defines processors by the number of cores that are on the chip itself.

This definition is distinctively different from the definition given by middleware vendors and a few hardware vendors, who define the processor as simply the chip. A specific number of PVUs depends purely on the processing type. There are two types of PVU licensing types: Full and Sub-Capacity. ITAM’s Using Pizza to explain IBM’s Sub-Capacity describes Sub-Capacity like ordering a full pizza and only eating two slices. You paid for the full pie; the full pie is there should you want to eat it later, but you don’t need it now since you’re no longer hungry. When configuring your processors, some technologies allow you to limit the number of cores that are available to be used by the software. The actual cores may be there, but the software prevents it from being used.

According to IBM, Full Capacity licensing simply means you license all the processor cores that are available to or managed by the program, even if the program doesn’t end up using all of them. Sub-Capacity licensing is based on the highest cores assigned to the application within the virtual machine (VM), not the total number of cores that the physical server has.

Due to this difference, licensing Sub-Capacity usually requires fewer licenses and is, therefore, cheaper than licensing Full Capacity. Most inventory or SAM tools do not keep track of the metrics required to measure and record Sub-Capacity use. ILMT allows you to effectively capture your usage and gives you the ability to calculate your cost for either Full Capacity or Sub-Capacity, giving you the opportunity to pick the option that best suits your software budget.

The Advantages of IBM’s ILMT

Lowers Risk

The only way that IBM will allow you to license with Sub-Capacity is to have ILMT installed and to keep historic usage records.  By doing this, they allow you to utilize Sub-Capacity licensing metrics, and the audit records from the ILMT tool gives an accurate depiction of your license requirements for PVU products.

With IBM’s ILMT, you’ll always be ready for an audit since continual use of the product allows for an in-depth examination of your infrastructure. ILMT allows you to prove to IBM that you are organized and have the data to manage compliance with Sub-Capacity licensing.  Since audits are more likely to be sent to clients when the vendor has reason to believe that licensing and software compliance are not being effectively tracked, ILMT can be viewed as an audit insurance policy. By demonstrating to IBM that you have a system in place to account for your licensing position, it can decrease your chances of being audited in the first place.


Displays a Comprehensive Software and Hardware Inventory Management

The licensing metric tool also does an effective job of centralizing your software and hardware inventory. IBM Security explains that by having this data at your disposal, you can cut costs by using the licensing metric that is most cost-effective for you.

With your hardware inventory available to you, you can also have access to important details about your hardware infrastructure, including processor make, model and type, operating system, and the hostname. ILMT can also provide a list of all your virtual servers and VMs that are in public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. This data is useful in the event of an audit but can also serve to help calculate the optimal software costs for your software environment.

Offers Other Features Beyond Inventory Management for Better Software Optimization

Although tracking your hardware and software is its primary usage, ILMT can also perform discovery tasks and report on the hardware in your environment.

ILMT can provide you with quality data on your deployed IBM software including the releases and the versions of various software installed within your IT environment. It also allows you to manage security (updates and patches) of the different IBM products and versions in your environment.

It’s a Free Addition to Your Purchase

There are few words that are sweeter than free. ILMT is free of charge, although it needs to be ordered and included via IBM’s Passport Advantage Site Agreement. Many organizations have come to view ILMT with suspicion, thinking that installing ILMT will mean that IBM will receive reports but ILMT is not a ‘Big Brother’ tool, since any and all reports ILMT creates only goes to the customer.

The Downside to ILMT

Complex Deployment and Maintenance

Going through installing ILMT for the first time is a quick way to learn how laborious and time consuming it can be. It may be a free purchase, but your company will still have to spend working hours getting it up and running. It is critical to ensure that ILMT is properly deployed throughout your software environment, it needs to be monitoring either every piece of IBM software or your entire architecture as it may be impossible to establish the difference. Making sure that ILMT has been properly deployed and making sure its reports (which will serve as ILMT’s most critical feature during an IBM audit) are accurate will be the most challenging part.

Even if the issue remains with ILMT as a product, it will be a very difficult case to defend during an audit, as you will have to prove a number of factors, including that you attempted to deploy ILMT and that you tried to contact IBM tech support concerning the issue.

ILMT is Mandatory for Sub-Capacity Eligibility

The main drawback of ILMT is that it is mandatory if you want to qualify for Sub-Capacity licensing. Sub-Capacity is not automatic after the installation of ILMT, in fact it is tricky to qualify for sub-capacity licensing. Unless you qualify for special exception, you’ll need ILMT installed or have everything licensed at Full-Capacity. If IBM finds that you have software that has been deployed for 90 days or longer and you have neither ILMT monitoring for Sub-Capacity or the software licensed at Full-Capacity, then you’ll be facing massive fines from IBM. You could be at risk of losing your Sub-Capacity eligibility if you are confronted with any of the following problems:

  • Not generating and properly keeping quarterly reports from ILMT.
  • Having an outdated version of ILMT.
  • ILMT agents can fail when it comes to agent scans and capacity scans, because of either incompatibility, lack of disc space, or credential issues.
  • If you want to selectively deploy ILMT to only servers with IBM products on them, then ILMT might come across issues detecting and identifying which servers to monitor. Anything that is missed will lose its Sub-Capacity eligibility.
  • Having any IBM products deployed on Operating Systems that ILMT doesn’t support.
  • ILMT can easily struggle with accurately bundling unique software signatures for reporting. To do this successfully requires knowledge of your specific license restrictions and entitlements.

Technical Issues with making sure that ILMT reaches everything that is licensed at Sub-Capacity and is reporting it properly is where we see a lot of our clients run into problems.

ILMT is also mandatory if you would like to avoid an audit, since if you do not have ILMT effectively installed, IBM takes that as an indicator that you are not properly monitoring your software environment, placing a huge auditing target on your back for later.

Under-Reporting and Over Reporting

Even after the hassle of properly installing ILMT throughout your software environment, your next hurdle is to make sure the data that it’s giving you is even accurate. ILMT can fail to give accurate reports due to network, firewall, or agent problems, which will directly affect your calculations.

On the flip side, with ILMT there is also the threat of over reporting, especially when it comes to bundling capabilities, which means you’ll have to manually correct specific scenarios to get an accurate reading.

HCL and What Does it Mean

Recently IBM sold ILMT along with their BigFix product to HCL.  What this means is that HCL is taking over all support of both products (along with a handful of other products that they purchased from IBM).  ILMT is being integrated into BigFix, which is mostly the same product, but it has different installation and management processes. Although IBM has not stated if ILMT will be the only SAM tool moving forward that allows you to manage Sub-Capacity licensing, we are speculating that IBM will have a certification process for other SAM Tool vendors soon.

IBM’s ILMT can be an effective tool in ensuring your software compliance. IBM is considered one of the heavy hitters in the software industry and their software audits can be quite challenging especially if you are licensing Sub-Capacity and do not have a correctly configured ILMT installation.  It is a recommended best practice that you take the steps necessary to be prepared and perform a self-assessment to assess that your data is organized in order to assure that you have ILMT accurately configured. At Metrixdata 360, we’ve helped numerous organizations with ILMT and have defended organizations in IBM audit, so if you would like to learn if you are exposed to an audit, you can check out our Audit Risk Checklist.

Hire a Software Asset Management Expert or Do it Yourself? The Pros and Cons of Each

Should You Hire a Software Asset Management Expert or Do It Yourself?

Software expenses can be one of the highest costs in any IT’s budget. You’re constantly asked to do more with less as your software budget continues to shrink, so it’s understandable a company would want to keep as much money within their IT department as possible. Software consultation seems like as good a point as any (it’s either that or forcing the IT department to turn in their shiny new coffee maker). So the question becomes should you hire a Software Asset Management Expert or do it yourself?

At Metrixdata360, over our seven years in this business, one question that comes up with many of our clients is if they really need a software consultant or if they can do it themselves? While we strongly advise for hiring a software consultant, we know it isn’t the most suitable option for everyone. We want to help you make the best decision, which is what we’re here to share today. What are some of the successes that you can experience with having a software consultant on your side verses doing it yourself?   

Doing SAM Yourself 

You’re the type of person who would learn how to fix a sink rather than hiring a plumber. There’s a lot of success that can be had with the build-your-own-SAM-team approach, such as:   


  • You will have your own internalized team of experts that will know your software estate inside and out. You’ll get on the SAM journey together with a shared work culture and values. 
  • The initial cost of hiring and training an internal software asset manager will be significantly lower than hiring a software consultant team, according to Ziprecruiter, the average software asset manager can earn $85,000 annually within the United States.    


  •  Software management is a relatively new discipline, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a candidate with the experience you need to give you results. This might leave you with the option of hiring someone who is under qualified but you don’t have time to hire a kid fresh out of college and have them climb the learning curb to figure out your software asset management, you will need the answers immediately.   
  • Since finding a software asset expert can be difficult, we’ve seen companies who building their own SAM programs that throw the task at their procurement specialist. Giving this task to someone who is way out of their depth will mean they won’t be able to give you an accurate depiction of your data.    
  • It is a massive challenge to find one expert that has the knowledge and skills to understand every vendor that you will have in your profile. Each vendor has different product use rights with different licenses that are subject to change. Microsoft alone changes their licenses rules up to 300 times a year. It would be considered a challenge for one person just to have a firm grasp of one vendor. That profile is not even including all the other skills that are required to effectively managed your software. Software Asset Management involves skills in legal matters, finances, negotiations and inventory comprehension. Finding one person who can do all that will be close to impossible.  
  • Most companies do not understand the time and resources that are wasted during an audit until they’ve been through one. It’s typical for the auditors to send your employees running back and forth, hunting down often irrelevant stray pieces of data. These tasks are not the type of things you can pass off to your intern, it must be your high paying technical staff rifling through your databanks. Your IT staff probably doesn’t have hours to waste on useless data hunts, which means they will procrastinate until the last minute and then do a rushed-out job that will leave gaps in your data.   

Hiring a Software Asset Management Professional    

There’s no shame in asking for help and seeking a professional in your software asset management could be considered the same as going to the doctor when you’re sick. According to ITAM Review’s article Software Asset Managers – The Skills to Look For… , software management experts come to the table with a high understanding of technology, a strong sense of business, legal matters and negotiation tactics, just to name a few. So, what are the successes and challenges you’ll experience when hiring a SAM professional?   


  • One of the main reasons that SAM professionals are is so popular is because they are experts from the second that they walk through your door. They are not learning things on the fly but instead come to the table with years of experience.  
  • They are also experts on many vendors and are familiar with each vendor’s licensing. At Metrixdata360, for instance, we have experts on top vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP but we can also look at your Citrix, Adobe and Autodesk profile with a critical eye, just to name a few of our services. For more information on our software vendor expertise, please visit our Service page.    
  • A SAM expert team can budget their time to match your deadlines. We had one customer come to us with a turnaround time of just three days and we were able to give them valuable feedback!   
  • Software Asset Consultants constantly monitor your software status as an ongoing service. Clients can get a license position at any time, so that you can have the confidence of knowing that you’re in great shape. If your vendors every call you to the front for a review or an audit, you won’t have to be nervous about the state of your data.  
  • They can show you how to do it yourself, they teach you along the way so that the next time you’re audited, you will be prepared even without help.   


  • First appearance might make it seem like software consultants are more expensive than doing it yourself. The typical cost breakdown for SAM as a service are based on per device on a monthly fee. A company could pay anything from $4-$12 per device, that would be thousands of dollars a month!  Such cost can seem overwhelming at first, when compared to the option of hiring a software asset manager. However, consider the fact that you are asking one person or a small group of people to constantly monitor thousands of devices. Will they be able to do an effective job?  
  • If the SAM professionals don’t offer learning opportunities, then your company won’t learn how to manage SAM internally and will remain reliant on external assistance.  
  • Your company may still have to go through a learning curve as the SAM professionals catch all of you up to speed and if your company isn’t willing to adapt to the style of the SAM professionals then you will spend a lot of time butting heads with one another.  


A Hybrid SAM Solution 

There is also a third option available to you when debating your next software asset management move. According to Rolling the SAM dice: in-house vs. managed from the ITAM Reviewmany companies are choosing to buy their own SAM tools but outsourcing the management of it.   

This option has become quite popular as it allows businesses the ability to maintain control over the methods of observation while also being assured that those assets are being well managed. If you feel like you have control over your daily software usage but need help preparing for an unexpected audit or if your business hosts a great deal of highly sensitive data, this might be the ideal option for you.   

For More Information   

It’s important that you make the decision that is best suited for your company, effective SAM management could save you anywhere up to 30% of your software expenses and save you even more money during a software audit. At Metrixdata360, that is our goal: cutting your software expenses down to the lowest number in whatever way works for you.   

The only thing that matters is that you’ve come to a decision about your software asset management strategy long before the auditors are knocking on your door. If you’ve decided that a professional is what you need then hop over to our Software Service Center for more details on our SAM professionals.

Guide to Negotiating Software Contracts

Having your eye on a new piece of software is one thing but setting up a contract in which both you and the vendor walk away happy is another thing entirely. What sort of steps can you take to ensure that your contract negotiation leaves you with the best possible deal? After many years of software contract negotiations experience, at MetrixData360, we have come up with a few tips that we find improve your chances of a successful outcome. Below is our guide to negotiating software contracts.

Be Prepared 

In Mark Bartrick’s article Forrester: Tips for software contract negotiation, he points out how you should already know what you want to buy long before you’ve sat down with the vendor to negotiate a contract. You should have a clear outline of what you will need, the purpose this software will serve in your company’s environment(s) and when you need to purchase and implement it. Gather information about your potential vendor, read reviews on the system you are thinking of getting and organize how you plan to monitor the software’s usage and your compliancy. Preparation is important in any element of life, and contract negotiation is no exception.

Break It Down Into Parts And Figure Out What You Need

Will you need maintenance and customer support, or do you already have an internalized system in place? Does the NDA in the contract outline the procedures for protecting your data? NDA’s will not always include this procedure, but it should.

Being confronted with a thick contract proposal, it can be easy to skip over some critical details, but it is important that you do your due diligence and closely examine any proposed contract the vendor has proposed. Take it section by section and verify if these features are something you need or if they can be configured differently to better match your unique profile. It is also important that you do not let a unique detail derail you, don’t fixate on any singular point while ignoring others.

Have Your Own Contract Proposal Laid Out

As Forbes points out in their article: 15 Tactics For Successful Business Negotiations, just like in almost any type of deal, it is important that you come to the table with a clear outline of your own expectations, have your own proposal ready that lays out key components that you want incorporated into your deal.

Keep in mind how much your vendor will gain from your business and because of this, they will be reluctant to drastically change your offer after you’ve clearly laid it out before them. There are always other vendors with different products that can equally suit your needs.

Take Control During The Negotiations  

You don’t want your vendor to push you around, as Richard Stim brings attention to in his article Contract Negotiation: 11 Strategies, not during the negotiations, nor any point afterwards. Make sure you are perfectly clear about your software requirements and don’t let the vendor try and bend you into a bargain that is not suited for you because by giving into their terms and conditions now means that the vendor can expect such behavior again in the future. This is the beginning of what is hopefully a mutually beneficial relationship, after all.

Talk To All Internal Stakeholders  

Mark Bartrick lays out in his article, Forrester: Tips for software contract negotiation, that communication is always key, so you will want to make sure that your stakeholders and the members of your financial and IT departments are on all the same page with the proposed software.

If you have chosen to add any lawyers or software consultants to your team, make sure they are in the loop throughout the negotiation process. They are the experts and will know just how much and how little you should say.

Questions Rather Than Demands 

Using Richard Stim’s article: Contract Negotiation: 11 Strategies as reference again, when conducting negotiations, it’s important to approach this topic with an inquisitive, rather than aggressive tone. Do your due diligence and make sure you have firm understanding on the product you are buying; it is important to make inquiries. Questions educate but they also open a discussion between yourself and the software publisher. Especially when you are just beginning a relationship with them, it is necessary to make sure that both of you are on the same page.

Get Help From Advisors And Lawyers 

Program on Negotiation (PON) by Harvard Law School ’s 10 Hard-Bargaining Tactics to Watch Out for in a Negotiation suggests it’s important that you gather the relevant support you need to help you throughout this process. Get the right people involved as needed, whether that be your IT department, your legal team, your finance team or third-party software consultants. Leveraging others’ input make a big difference in helping you make an informed decision with your contract.

I want to know more about Software Consultant Pricing 

Getting the negotiations with a software vendor right will mean a lot for your company. In addition to reasonable rates in your purchase requirements, an effective vendor relationship will go a long way in ensuring your understanding of your compliance position going forward.  Taking the time and following these steps will help you come away from negotiations feeling confident in your decisions and optimistic for future requirements.

Metrixdata360 has decades of experience in managing our clients’ software licenses and contract requirements and we know where and how to improve your stance during the negotiation process. If you’d like to know more about contract negotiation strategies, please visit our learning center. And should you have a contract renewal looming soon, we’d suggest reviewing Tips for a Successful Software Contract Renewal Negotiation.Don’t hesitate to give us a call to learn more!