Snow Predicts for 2016

Having focused our first 2016 Predictions blog on SAM and Software Licensing, our second blog of 2016 predictions asks our Snow Software Asset Management experts to use their crystal ball to predict what the major software vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP and Adobe will focus on in 2016.

Having focused our first 2016 Predictions blog on SAM and Software Licensing, our second blog of 2016 predictions asks our Snow Software Asset Management experts to use their crystal ball to predict what the major software vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP and Adobe will focus on in 2016.


Matt Williams kicks off our predictions for major software vendors by suggesting that for Adobe, the big move has already happened, moving from perpetual to subscription only licensing. Now that Cloud licensing is working well, they’re likely to just hunker down and watch the rest of the software vendors play catch up (for example Autodesk just announced that from end January 2016 they too will discontinue selling new perpetual licenses of most the standalone products and transition AutoCAD  productions to subscription only).  No major new licensing changes are predicted for 2016, but watch this space!


IBM will continue with their compliance program and customers can expect more of the same approach, predicts Stephen Wood. Stephen states that ILMT is still in two versions and it will be until 2017, but IBM has already started to push TEM and ILMT v9 BigFix. TEM is part of the Tivoli suite and IBM has been trying since 2002 to get its own inventory tool in place and this will continue as TEM is better than TAD4D. However, Stephen predicts that this it is still not mature enough for the market; it works for IBM software, but even there it needs some assistance.

He also suggests that IBM will be making further acquisitions this year, most likely in web-based companies and systems management software. However, he predicts that the key driver is likely to be around Cloud services, with more software becoming either appliances or hosted solutions. IBM will still offer their private Cloud or locally installed solutions but with the Cloud-based services being pushed more.

Lastly, Stephen reckons that IBM will increase its Cloud offerings and links to Security Access products. IBM is pushing the integration from mobile through to system, but Stephen predicts it will not really have much of an impact in 2016, but 2017 might see advancements in cloud and mobile based applications.

Ruben Claes, who once was an IBM auditor for Deloitte, is now Snow’s resident expert on IBM licensing and predicts that there will be an increased focus on ILMT during software audits for sub-capacity eligibility. Ruben continues to propose that there will be a push towards IBM’s LMO program (License Management Option) in ELA renewals. This program requires regular compliance reporting to IBM with a potential waiver for software audits.

Ruben has a wealth of IBM experience, and also suggests that there will be an increase of RVU (Resource Value Unit) metric based products. Unfortunately, Ruben’s crystal ball also predicts a tough year of IBM audits. He thinks that customers will be targeted with more audits which will be based on advanced data mining of purchase patterns and high-risk products to obtain better ROI from audits (example: ‘All or Nothing’ rule).

Finally, Ruben suggests that the audit focus will be on targeting customers who have ‘solutions’ (commercial bundles) rather than stand-alone products. It sounds like another tough year for IBM customers, so make sure you understand your IBM estate. If you need any assistance, get in touch with one of Snow’s experts today.


Patrik Burvall has looked under the hood of Microsoft’s licensing changes and says customers will be forced, as a result of Microsoft’s recent licensing changes in the data center, to regularly review their virtualization strategy taking into accounts both hardware AND software costs. He also forecasts that Microsoft will issue more comprehensive licensing bundles, which will create new Software Asset Management challenges.

Matt Williams adds that customers will have to plan carefully around Windows Server as it will only be licensed on cores. Microsoft will be aggressively driving Windows Server 2016 adoption and without a good SAM solution in place he expects complexity and confusion will reign when organizations have to take into account multiple platforms built on virtual instances, as well as all the physical servers and legacy systems. He also reckons it will take another three years until customers properly get to grips with the huge mixture of licensing rules and metrics that they’ll have to contend with.


Stephen Wood has looked into his Oracle crystal ball for the year ahead and foresees that Oracle will continue to aggressively audit customer, with a strong emphasis on databases in the short term. Stephen also predicts that Oracle’s middleware will also become grow as a focal point as Oracle starts to finds less customers with database compliance issues. Stephen goes on to suggest that acquisitions will continue with Oracle across the niche markets and these are likely to define the direction that Oracle is moving in, but the main income for Oracle will always remain the maintenance fees secured from ULAs and from customer audits.

For the rest of Oracle, Stephen says we can expect to see activity around the move to integrate the Exadata into more of a system-based approach for its enterprise customers and a constant push to replace IBM AIX in the Datacentre. Oracle cloud offerings may start to appear more and especially for smaller companies, in what is becoming a saturated market.

Furthermore, Stephen envisages that Oracle may provide some competition to IBM in the form of middleware and apps. He says that Oracle will continue to grow slowly but the main products of Weblogic and Tuxedo will continue to map the IBM equivalent and we can expect Oracle to produce appliances in the next year or so to counter the IBM offering.

Finally, Stephen eludes to the fact that the industry is unlikely to see Oracle accepting virtual software as a valid option in the near future, and we can expect this to be even more critical for audits in the next year as more customers are using virtual clusters using soft partitioning almost exclusively.

Christian Den Boer  says that Oracle has come a long way since Larry Ellison’s famous quote in 2008 “What the hell is Cloud computing?”. Christian continues by saying that during Oracle OpenWorld in 2015, Oracle flatly admitted that its focus has shifted to the Cloud.

During his keynote at OpenWorld, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd made a number of predictions that show how Oracle sees the market evolve between now and 2025. According to Hurd, 100% of testing and 80% of production applications will run in the Cloud and 100% of Enterprise Data will be stored in the cloud. There will be just two companies that own 80% of the Cloud market, and Oracle intends to be one of these.

Christian’s crystal ball says that Oracle has clearly broken away from its “old” status as just an on-premise database and application vendor. Since OpenWorld, it has consistently emphasized its presence in the SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) spaces. Oracle has even introduced cloud-based mobile development services for Android and iOS. Oracle is actively persuading customers to move to the cloud and has made cloud an important part of the commission plans of its salesforce.

Christian’s main predictions for the remainder of Oracle’s FY16 and start of FY17 is that this trend will continue. Oracle will use software audits as a way to bolster their cloud numbers by offering better conditions on cloud than on traditional licenses if any out-of-compliance is found.


For SAP, Brian Skiba adds his insight and forecasts that in the US, the first Fortune 500 company will force the SAP indirect access licensing issue to be resolved publicly in the courts through litigation.  Most Fortune 500 companies today feel that SAP, for more than a decade, has strongly encouraged the use of the software as a platform and now has come back to charge for all the toll bridges connecting hundreds of third party and bespoke applications to the SAP core ECC system.  

Whatever you do in 2016 make sure you have a robust SAM solution in place to keep one step (or indeed many) ahead of the vendors. You will be able to ensure continuous compliance, pay only for the software your organization consumes, and save significant time and money.

Contact one of our SAM experts today and find out how Snow’s solutions can make a visible difference to your organization.