When IBM meets SAP: Multi-vendor SAM expertise from Certero corrects official auditors


This organization works closely with Certero who are a long-term, trusted ITAM & SAM partner of over 10 years, providing both solutions and services to help manage IT hardware and software. Their software estate features some notable vendors, with significant expenditure with IBM, SAP and Microsoft and the customer uses Certero technology and expertise to manage and optimize licensing across all three.

Anticipating an IBM audit, the customer requested a Software Audit Defense service from Certero. This would draw upon Certero expertise to make sure that the audit results are correct and that they are in the best possible position to navigate the potential financial and legal risks. This service was activated quickly and easily using the Certero for IBM solution already in place, meaning that even post-audit, all the customer’s valuable license intelligence would be retained within the live Certero Platform solution.



Company Profile

Customer: Sensitive Sector

Estate: 8,500 devices

Product: Certero for IBM, Certero for SAP Applications, Certero SAM Managed Service for Oracle

Turnover: £500m+


When IBM meets SAP

One of the complexities of the IBM audit, was the use of the IBM Content Collector for SAP – a product that relies on metrics from SAP to determine its usage and thus license compliance.

The official auditor brought in by IBM, requested a level of access to the SAP system, to ascertain how many ‘accesses’ had occurred. This was due to an interpretation of the required licensing metric that unbeknownst to the major accounting firm conducting the audit, was not correct.

As Certero’s SAM team and vendor licensing specialists were following the events of the audit and confidentially advising the customer under the Audit-Defense Service, Certero identified that the official auditor was incorrectly asking for information on the number of users who could access SAP, as opposed to users who had accessed SAP.

This was a critical mistake that would significantly impact the customer’s license compliance position and costs with IBM, if not corrected.


The advantage of clarity & cross-vendor expertise

Using insight from the Certero for SAP Applications system, it was possible for Certero to highlight the auditor’s mistake and provide a more accurate figure which was duly accepted by IBM, saving the customer from paying for something based upon incorrect information. 

Certero’s IBM specialists had the advantage of being able to clarify SAP queries with a Certero SAP licensing specialist and, combine that knowledge with the clear visibility of SAP usage, through the Certero for SAP Applications solution.

This gave the customer a significant advantage when they would otherwise be entirely defenseless against the IBM auditor’s mistakes.

Certero could combine specialist SAP and IBM licensing expertise with dedicated SAM solutions for both vendors, all powered by a single unified platform. This meant frictionless access to better, more detailed information and the ability to correctly identify and prove the boundaries of the licensing metrics at play.

So, upon spotting the error, Certero were able to support the customer and provide clear evidence as to why the auditor was incorrect – arguing a case that was rightly, immediately accepted by the official auditor.



A Better Audit Result for the Customer

As a result of the diligence of the Certero audit defense teams, the corrected licensing metrics were accepted and the calculation resulted in a cost-saving equivalent to 10% of the customer’s annual spend with IBM – a saving that would never have been known about had Certero not been wisely called upon to ensure the audit was performed correctly.



This case study demonstrates that skills-gap that exists across the SAM industry, even across professional organizations relied upon by major vendors to perform their audit activity. It’s rare to retain individuals with the depth of knowledge that spans vendors like IBM, SAP and Oracle, and so recognizing where the gaps are and having trusted partners you can call upon to fill the expertise gaps, can prove prudent.

Furthermore, consultancy skills alone won’t address all licensing challenges if the technology used to identify complex metrics isn’t correct and closely aligned to the individuals using it. Certero has this advantage, utilizing our own single-platform technology with dedicated solutions to address these vendor-specific challenges and –  all combined with the full breadth and depth of in-house expertise to match.

This combined capability and the advantages it brings, underpins Certero’s revolutionary new Technology-Led Services model.



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