“Can we reduce or cancel IBM S&S for this product? These 10 checks should give you the confidence to do it”
When the annual IBM Support and Subscription (S&S) renewal comes up for review in your organisation the perennial question is asked is “do we really need IBM S&S for all products, can we cancel any of them?” The answer very often is yes you can.
The easy but very expensive option is to pay the IBM S&S without checking in more detail. In many organisation there are products you should not be paying S&S for. There are many reasons why you should cancel IBM S&S. But knowing you could cancel IBM S&S and actually doing it can be daunting.
Once you have found what you think are products that IBM S&S can be reduced or cancelled on these additional checks should give you extra confidence and prepare the business case.
#1 Is it a perpetual licence?
It will state clearly in your agreement and in your S&S renewal what the license type is. Most of the older products are perpetual. This means you can continue to use the product after you have cancelled S&S. If it’s not perpetual you will have to stop using it immediately which may not suit your users or the business.
#2 Do we own the license?
Is the license owned by your organisation? This is not always clear. It may be part of a larger agreement which your organisation is benefiting from. There may be doubt over the current ownership due to a merger or divestiture. Before you can cancel you need to be sure you own it.
#3 What will the impact be on discount levels?
Your organisation received discounts from IBM depending on the Band level and amount spent each year. This is called Relationship Suggested Volume Pricing or RSVP. You may find that the cancellation of support does not bring as big a saving as you might expect once a change in discount levels has been taken into account.
#4 Is the license bundled with another product ?
Many IBM licenses entitlements are actually a bundle of products under one product or suite (part number). You will need to check that support for all of the products in a bundle can be cancelled. This can be further complicated by “free” products that have been included in a bundle that you may now need to license separately if you cancel S&S.
#5 Is the license bundled with another service?
Some license entitlement has been included as part of a service provided by an IBM business partner (BP). When you pay S&S you are actually paying for both the license and the service and you lose both if you cancel S&S. It may also be the case that the license has special conditions that mean you can only use the license while you avail of the service from the BP.
#6 Are there standards compliance issues e.g. PCI, SOX, HIPP, etc?
Some applications or systems may be covered by an industry standard which means cancelling support on a component of that service creates a compliance issue for the entire service. You’ll need to check with the service and product owner for the impact on standards compliance if you cancel S&S
#7 Do you have an alternative support option?
Although IBM will not offer a cheaper option to S&S there are third parties such as Origina who offer the equivalent of IBM S&S that will satisfy both your technical and standards teams. This should always be investigated as they’ll do many of the checks I’ve mentioned for you.
#8 Have you enough entitlement to cover deployment now and in the future?
Even if you cancel IBM S&S you still need to have sufficient licenses to cover your current deployment. This is especially important in virtualized environments where you might be taking advantage of IBM sub-capacity rules. You need to be certain that you have enough entitlement to cover your current requirements or in an audit situation you will be forced to reinstate or worse buy new licenses for products you are not going to use in the future.
#9 Are IT satisfied there’s enough of a gap in versions?
It is common for the version of the product you have deployed today to be behind the version you actually have entitlement for. This is to your advantage as it means you can download the current version and then cancel IBM S&S. This gives you the option to upgrade in the future without the need to keep paying S&S. Check with your IT Architects and Developers that this is sufficient for their future needs. Highlighting the savings it will bring.
#10 Are there any dependencies built into your S&S?
Some products are reliant on frequent updates or keys that you may be denied access to when you stop paying S&S. Examples of these dependencies are mobility rights, security patches, catalogue updates, activation keys etc. You need to check with the product experts in your organisation if there are such dependencies and find out if there’s an impact. Very often there are workarounds or the dependencies are not a problem because the product is not actively used
#11 Are you ready for an IBM audit?
You should always be ready for an IBM audit but particularly when you reduce the amount of money IBM were expecting you to spend. A significant cancellation of support might be an IBM audit trigger. depending on the amount and if you are reinvesting it in another IBM product or service.
There are potentially very significant savings to be made reducing or cancelling IBM S&S on products you are no longer using or no longer need support on. With the checks highlighted here and the support of your senior management you can stop giving money to IBM for nothing and put that budget to work in another part of the business or invest in new IBM products that will enable the business to grow.
Any Comment or Suggestions?
If you can think of any other checks that should be added please include them in a comment below. Even if you don’t have any additions a comment or Share is always appreciated.
- About Passport Advantage is a page supported by IBM that explains discounting levels.
- IBM Passport Advantage Top 8 FAQs is a short but very useful document on common questions on passport advantage,
- Blog post from License Hawk on Top 10 IBM License Audit Triggers is a list to help you check if you might have a risk.
- Reasons you should consider cancelling IBM S&S is a blog post from License Hawk
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