IBM / Softwarelicensing

Understanding the IBM IASP Program

The IBM IASP (IBM Authorized SAM Partner Services) Program is:

  • An alternative to traditional IBM audits.
  • Involves continuous monitoring of IBM software usage by an approved IASP partner.
  • Includes an agreement with IBM, exempting from IBM-initiated license compliance checks for a term, typically three years.
  • Requires quarterly or annual compliance reports.
  • Offers advantages like potentially discounted rates for license shortfalls and waived back maintenance.
  • Raises concerns regarding audit independence and insight into corporate strategies.

What is IBM IASP?

What is IBM IASP

The IBM IASP Program is a crucial aspect of IBM’s software licensing and management strategy.

With the program, IBM aims to ensure that its clients use its software while providing the necessary resources and support to manage their software assets effectively.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide to the IBM IASP Program, including the steps involved in enrolling in the program, the primary and secondary IASP configurations, and the licensing verification approaches employed by IBM.

  • IBM has introduced the IBM Authorized SAM Partner Services (IASP) program for selected customers.
  • The program is designed as an alternative to an IBM audit. Customers who qualify for it will work with an approved IASP partner to continuously monitor IBM usage.
  • IBM customers can be recommended for the program by IASP vendors, or they can request inclusion themselves.
  • Selected customers will enter into an IASP agreement with IBM, which allows them to forgo any license compliance verification activities initiated by IBM during the agreement term (usually three years).
  • The customer will hire an approved vendor to perform licensing review services using IBM’s license metric tool (ILMT) or other approved tools.
  • Compliance reports will be produced quarterly for PVU-based licenses and annually for non-PVU-based licenses, which the customer can review for inaccuracies but must provide to IBM as scheduled.
  • If a license shortfall is identified, IBM will allow the customer to purchase licenses at a historically discounted rate and waive any back maintenance payments.
  • The program’s benefits include increased confidence in IBM’s licensing, a review conducted by a third party experienced in IBM license reviews, and avoiding unexpected license compliance reviews.
  • Concerns with the program include the possibility of IBM conducting an audit, the vendors’ lack of independence, and potential insight into the customer’s corporate strategies.
  • Customers considering the program should carefully review and revise the IASP agreement and statement of work with the vendor and seek experienced counsel to help evaluate the program’s potential benefits.

Enrolling in the IBM IASP Program

Enrolling in the IBM IASP Program

The first step in enrolling in the IBM IASP Program is getting enrollment approval. Once approved, the next step is executing an IASP agreement with IBM.

The IASP agreement is entity-specific, and you must consider several factors when finalizing the agreement with IBM.

Licensing Verification Approaches Employed by IBM

IBM employs several licensing verification approaches to ensure that its clients are using its software in a compliant manner.

One of the most important approaches is Software Asset Management (SAM). Clients must remain compliant with their licensing terms, and a strong SAM capability is fundamental to achieving this.

IBM IASP – Pros and Cons

IBM IASP - Pros and Cons


  • “No formal audit letter”: It’s important to note that this does not eliminate the possibility of an audit.
  • “Sub-capacity licensing with no full capacity charges”: This type of charge is generally not common, whether through the IASP or a reputable SLM program. New deployments are usually identified and resolved within the 90-day contract window.
  • No audit fees, back S&S or punitive charges”: IBM doesn’t charge audit fees, and back S&S only applies when a product is out of compliance. If issues are identified and resolved within the 90-day window, there is no retroactive S&S.
  • “Access to industry-leading expertise on IBM licensing knowledge”: This benefit should be expected but can be obtained through any quality SLM program without the IBM bias.


  • The IASP is a regular audit.
  • The program is rigidly defined by IBM’s terms, with no flexibility for the customer.
  • The audit cost is shifted to the customer, putting more money in IBM’s pocket.
  • IASP partners are all auditors for IBM, and the customer must agree to allow them to provide information to IBM without the customer’s review or approval. This creates significant conflicts of interest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: Who is eligible to participate in the IBM IASP Program?
    A: Organizations holding IBM software licenses seek a proactive approach to software asset management and compliance.
  2. Q: Can participation in the IBM IASP Program reduce the frequency of traditional audits?
    A: Yes, it’s designed to offer a more cooperative and less intrusive approach to compliance, potentially reducing the need for traditional audits.
  3. Q: What are the main differences between the IBM IASP Program and a standard IBM audit?
    A: The IASP Program is more collaborative and focuses on continuous compliance, whereas a standard audit is typically more investigative and initiated by IBM.
  4. Q: How does IBM ensure confidentiality and data security during the IASP process? A: IBM and its authorized SAM partners adhere to strict data security protocols to protect sensitive information.
  5. Q: What types of software licenses can be managed through the IASP Program?
    A: The program covers a wide range of IBM software licenses, focusing on ensuring compliance across the organization’s IBM software portfolio.
  6. Q: How long does the IASP process typically take from start to finish?
    A: The duration can vary depending on the organization’s size and complexity, but it generally spans several months to ensure thoroughness.
  7. Q: Are there any costs associated with participating in the IBM IASP Program?
    A: Participation may involve costs related to engaging with an IBM Authorized SAM Partner, which can vary based on the scope of services.
  8. Q: How do organizations benefit from participating in the IBM IASP Program?
    A: Benefits include enhanced compliance, reduced risk of non-compliance penalties, and potential cost savings through optimized software asset management.
  9. Q: Can organizations leave the IASP Program after joining?
    A: Yes, participants can opt out, but it’s important to understand the implications of compliance and audit risk.
  10. Q: How is software usage data collected and reported in the IASP Program?
    A: Data is typically collected using IBM-approved tools and methodologies, with reports generated by the SAM partner for review.
  11. Q: What happens if non-compliance is discovered during the IASP process?
    A: The SAM partner works with the organization to address discrepancies, aiming for a resolution that brings the organization back into compliance.
  12. Q: Can the IASP Program be customized to fit an organization’s specific needs?
    A: The program offers flexibility to tailor the approach and services to the organization’s unique software management requirements.
  13. Q: What role do IBM Authorized SAM Partners play in the IASP Program?
    A: They provide expertise and support throughout the process, from initial assessment to ongoing compliance management.
  14. Q: How does the IASP Program impact an organization’s relationship with IBM?
    A: Participation can strengthen the relationship by demonstrating a commitment to compliance and proactive software asset management.
  15. Q: Are any specific tools recommended or required to participate in the IASP Program? A: Yes, specific tools approved by IBM, such as the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT), may be recommended or required to facilitate accurate compliance reporting.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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