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Standardizing limits to license hikes for minor software tweaks

Toward a globally recognized standard for understanding business technology assets

The ITAM Forum, the professional body for IT asset management, is in the final validation stage of an independent, globally recognized standard for understanding business technology assets.

In a move designed to put admins in a stronger position when it comes to software license audits, the launch of the ISO/IEC 19770-1 certification scheme was developed by around 100 volunteering ITAM professionals and NEN, the Royal Netherlands Standardisation Institute.

A handful of organizations will now participate in the validation phase, which aims to help iron out any issues during the full certification process. Brand Compliance, an independent external certification body, is carrying out the conformity assessments.

According to Martin Thompson, founder of the ITAM Forum, "It's not going to be a shield of steel against audits, but it will put you in a lot of stronger position to negotiate with suppliers. That's the bottom line here." He added:

What you're saying when you're buying from your software suppliers is that you're going to treat your IP incredibly seriously, like an asset, and manage it throughout its lifecycle properly, and you've got somebody independently to verify that. This is an industry effort.

Some vendors have earned a reputation among users for taking small changes to the use of software or the technical transition to new environments – including the cloud – to extract disproportionate licence revenue from customers.

Thompson said the transition to cloud was driving demand for better software asset management among users.

"It is required even more in the cloud, not only because of the complexity of the cloud itself and the process of transitioning to the cloud, but also in the licensing terms and costs. There is also the added dimension that the buyers of cloud are increasingly from outside the IT department."

"Pick your department, and there's a turnkey SaaS solution. If you're going to be grown-up about it, you need to manage the risk and manage the cost. And that's what this is all about."

The ITAM Forum was launched in 2020, with the plan to create the ISO19770 standard as one of its primary goals in order to help users better defend themselves against software audits. From the outset, it included representatives from global businesses including Toyota, Danske Bank, and Procter & Gamble.

"I am very proud of the support we've received from our patrons, trustees, and the wider ITAM community as we reach the final steps in bringing this world's first certification to market. I want to personally thank everyone who has given their time to help shape and draft the scheme. Without this help, we would not be where we are today," Thompson added. ®

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