If you’re heavily using IBM in your environment and that’s your main line of business software and you plan to continue with that investment, we recommend taking advantage of IBM ELAs as they contain many favorable options such as:

  • Enterprise License, more fondly known as ‘All you can eat’ – we have seen ELAs for a limited software product that you can download and install as much as you want and then at the end of the ELA, you report the number deployed to IBM.
  • License swapping – allows you to retire your shelfware. This is mostly applicable to the same product family, but IBM has granted rare dollar for dollar swaps.
  • Enterprise CAP – if you have trouble forecasting what you’re going to need in the future, you can give IBM the list of the products you need and they could put into your ELA what they call an enterprise CAP system or CAP where you pre-pay for the software and then as you install it you draw down and report to IBM what’s been deployed and apply it against your pre-paid dollar limit as you’re working through the course of the ELA.

Another advantage of IBM ELAs is that most support costs are known for the length of the ELA. Prior to the start of any ELA, you could ask for any of your current IBM software to be excluded for the long-term contract and renew support annually. Annual renewal allows the potential to drop support. For example, one of our clients pulled Lotus Notes out of their ELAs because they planned to transition to Microsoft Outlook during the course of their IBM ELA.

There are many advantages to an ELA, BUT it will not protect you from a software audit. All IBM software is auditable.

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