Make Your Software Vendors Work for You with ISO 19770-3

Standards are only effective or relevant if they are treated as a standard… if they are in active and common use.

ISO/IEC 19770-3:2016 is a standard which was written to help SAM professionals and the organizations they work with better understand what entitlements (rights and limitations) they have purchased from whom when they purchased software licenses or subscriptions.

It has been validated by ISO, and during that process, by representatives of most of the major software players out there. Valiant work was done by people like Brian Turner of IBM who confirmed the standard was compatible with 80+ IBM metrics, past and present, Pat Fetty and Heather Young from Microsoft did similar work with a wide range of Microsoft license types. Many other contributors from other companies did the same. The verdict was in – for SaaS or regular software licenses, 19770-3 could encompass the rights, limitations and entitlements with ease.

So – if you purchase software and the person who sells it to you issues you a 19770-3 “Ent tag” for this software or subscription, you have a receipt, recording who issued the receipt, what it represents, who the seller is, who the vendor is, how many of what license metric of what title was sold to whom, when, etc.

It’s a pretty basic and simple receipt, in an ISO standard format, that you can then import into your SAM tool (assuming it supports the standard) – and each vendor will supply you with the same format of receipt.

This massively reduces your level of effort in recording what licenses you have bought – which makes the process of managing them so much easier.

One big problem – the benefit here is entirely with you, the customer. Each vendor already has their own system for recording who bought what (some are more successful/accurate than others!). The vendors have no real benefit in making a 19770-3 Ent tag “receipt” available to you. Indeed, some SAM professionals are of the belief that certain vendors profit from customers lack of knowledge or uncertainty regarding what they have purchased over time. Those vendors may actively wish to work against the clarity provided by the standard.

So – how do we get vendors and resellers to issue these tags? Insist on them in RFP language. You are a customer. The customer is always right (at least while they are in the RFP/RFI process!). Make it a requirement, not a nice to have, that on purchase of the software, you will receive an ISO 19770-3:2016 compliant Ent tag.

The vendors and/or resellers can easily implement this process, the Tags are not difficult to create.

It’s also not difficult to add into your RFP/RFI/RFQ/RFX process – simply add a sentence similar to this one as a requirement:

The successful vendor must, either directly or via the selected reseller, provide an ISO/IEC 19770-3:2016 compliant “Ent Tag” providing details of the entitlements provided at the time of purchase. Vendors who refuse to meet this requirement will be eliminated from this RFP.

Only when a critical mass of customers require this as standard will the standard, which benefits all software purchasers, be adopted by vendors. Please support this standard, to benefit you, your employer and your fellow SAM professionals.