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Image: Why you need to consider vendor certifications in your SAM strategy

Let’s face it, software licensing is complex. Even on an individual level, managing subscription-based licensing models can be a massive headache…

Can you effortlessly recall all your monthly subscription expenses?
Are you paying monthly or yearly?
Have any of your subscription costs unexpectedly surged?
Are you optimizing your subscriptions, or could you use a family plan to reduce costs?
Are there subscriptions quietly draining your wallet without providing any value?
Do you have a clear picture of how much each subscription impacts your weekly activities?

For an enterprise business juggling thousands of software licenses, each with its own set of specifications based on hosting arrangements — be it on-premises, in the cloud, within containers, or tailored to specific SaaS platforms — the challenge is monumental. Let alone understanding if you’re in compliance with your software entitlements to avoid expensive audit and true-up costs, utilizing the correct product use rights to optimize spend more efficiently, and getting rid of licenses that aren’t being utilized or are under-utilized.

To navigate this intricate landscape, many businesses make the wise decision of adopting a software asset management (SAM) tool. However, they need to make sure they acquire the right tool to get the most out of their IT landscape. But how can they have confidence that the data they are ingesting and reporting is accurate? How can they be sure they are getting the most out of their effective license positions? What should businesses look for in the ideal SAM solution?

Why can’t I just rely on data normalization rates?

It’s critical for a SAM solution to offer robust data normalization – consistently identifying and reporting software assets, eliminating redundant and duplicate data, streamlining data organization, and minimizing data anomalies. Data normalization rates can be a useful metric to measure this efficiency. However, it’s important not to blindly pick a SAM solution with a high data normalization rate. Why? Because these rates can be manipulated.

Selective data inclusion – By only including data sets that are already well-structured and consistent, and excluding more problematic data sets, the normalization rate can appear artificially high. But this does not reflect the true quality across the entire data spectrum.

Loosening matching criteria – Relaxing matching algorithms or criteria can artificially boost match rates. But accepting partial matches as complete matches may lead to inaccurate data aggregation and flawed conclusions.

Over-generalization – Broad categorization of diverse data points under generic labels simplifies matching and increases the normalization rate, but it also sacrifices granularity and obscures crucial nuances.

To ease the burden on business consumers diving through data normalization rates and what they really mean, some software vendors have created verification and certification programs for SAM tools based off how accurately they depict the software vendors landscape. These programs serve two main purposes: To help customers trust their purchasing and deployment decisions, and to help make sure customers are aligned with software licensing requirements.

Let’s take a look at two excellent vendor verification programs in Oracle and IBM.

Vendor verification programs

Oracle Global Licensing Advisory Services (GLAS) software asset management program

Oracle’s SAM program offers customers an informed approach to software asset management, guiding them in selecting the right tooling options. Whether that’s an Oracle tool or a third-party, Oracle-verified SAM tool customers can:

  • Maximize their ROI on their Oracle investments
  • Reduce risk of licensing misuse
  • Rightsize and optimize their Oracle landscape for potential savings

Oracle’s GLAS verification for third-party tool vendors is used to ensure that the SAM tools reviewed provide accurate Oracle usage data. Customers can have the confidence that any tool reviewed is accurately collecting software deployment information of the Oracle product(s) listed.


Oracle also verifies SAM managed service providers to make sure that the professional services they offer have pre-existing Oracle SAM functionality and correctly provide Oracle usage data.

IBM Authorized SAM Partner Services (IASP) program

IBM’s invitation-only verification program, launched in 2019, assists IBM customers who work with a SAM managed service provider in managing their IBM license position efficiently. The program allows customers to independently report their use of IBM software and exempts them from audits if they are working with an active IASP.  While a customer is working with an IASP, they gain the additional benefits of:

  • Having access to the partners’ deep knowledge of IBM licensing and effective SAM management
  • Improved visibility of their IBM software landscape
  • Proactive assistance with license risk and an opportunity to right-size their IBM landscape
  • Identifying risks related to cybersecurity

Once an IBM customer is invited to the program, they have 180 days to submit a full effective license position (ELP) for all deployed IBM products to IBM. The customer’s chosen IASP will support in creating the ELP. For more information about the program, please visit IBM’s IASP page.

IBM certifies Flexera One ITAM

IBM has one other certification exclusively for Flexera One as an alternative solution to their IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) for virtualization (sub)capacity reporting. This agreement allows customers to utilize Flexera One ITAM in lieu of ILMT to satisfy IBM virtualization reporting requirements. Additionally, through integrations with IBM License Services (ILS), Flexera One ITAM is accepted by IBM to report inventory and license usage for software running in Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes environments. IBM customers may also choose to utilize Flexera One with IBM Observability IT Asset Management for embedded IBM support.

Data you can trust with Flexera

Flexera didn’t happen upon being a leader in software asset management. We understand that effective asset management hinges on trustworthy data. Our commitment to delivering the most accurate effective license positions ensures that our customers are well-equipped to tackle software audits and optimize their IT environments. With our vast Technopedia library (with over two million SKU entries and over 5,000 product use right templates) and our recent acquisition of Snow Software, our technology intelligence platform continues to strengthen.

Flexera and Flexera’s Snow solutions are the only Oracle-certified SAM solutions that are equipped to deal with all four Oracle software categories including Oracle Database and Database options, Oracle Fusion for Middleware, Java SE, and E-Business Suite. Flexera is the only SAM provider that is a certified alternative to IBM’s ILMT, and we work with our partners AnglePoint, Deloitte, and KPMG to help deliver managed services you can trust.

Discover why having the best data leads to maximum savings for your IT investments.

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