How IBM Passport Advantage Works

By Rich Staas

Director of Client Services, NPI

May 21, 2014

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IT vendors have long been criticized for the complexity of their licensing agreements and pricing – especially by large enterprises that have to manage large vendor footprints across their organization. In response, some vendors have created enterprise-friendly programs and agreements designed to make purchasing and license management easier and less costly. For IBM, this comes in the form of IBM Passport Advantage .

IBM Passport Advantage differs from other enterprise-style agreements (such as the Microsoft EA or Oracle EULA) in that it’s more of a program than a contract option. While its intentions are good, many customers are unsure how it works, whether they qualify and whether their organization would garner any cost benefits from the program.

Eligible products available under the Agreements include software licenses, both One Time Charge and Fixed Term, Software Subscription and Support, plus IBM Appliances and IBM SaaS offering

So, what is it exactly? IBM Passport Advantage (PPA) is a common set of agreements, processes and tools that covers software licenses (one-time charge and fixed term), software subscriptions, software support, IBM appliances and IBM SaaS offerings. It is designed to allow businesses to acquire software and maintenance services in a manner that matches their needs. A business can order a single platform or many platforms; one product or entire suites; for one location or a network of offices around the world. There is a PPA solution to match the way your organization manages software and services, whether you are a small company or a large international corporation.

How does it work and what are the benefits? The PPA program allows customers to receive discounts for IBM software purchases based on their purchase volume over time, and based on the size of individual transactions. There are also options to acquire groups of products to be deployed across an enterprise on a per-user basis. IBM PPA includes software maintenance, which provides support as well as upgrades as new releases are introduced. It also includes cross-platform migration coverage for all IBM software. With IBM PPA, you receive a personalized web portal where you can view your account history and proofs of entitlement.

How exactly are better discounts acheived? Each acquisition under an IBM PPA is evaluated based on two criteria: the size of the current transaction and the amount of current business you're doing under Passport Advantage. You receive a Relationship Suggested Volume Price (RSVP) level based on your initial acquisition of licenses and software maintenance under the program. IBM will then review your RSVP level during each annual renewal to determine if the accumulated acquisitions during that period qualify your business a higher RSVP level and, therefore, better pricing. Customers who qualify for RSVP level of "D" or above may also qualify for even higher discounting for a specific transaction depending on its size. This is known as the Transaction SVP level, or TSVP. The larger the transaction, the better the TSVP. If eligible, you will always receive the better of the RSVP or the TSVP for your transaction.

Want to learn more about IBM Passport Advantage and how it can benefit your unique computing environment? Contact NPI. We can help you determine eligibility and the actual cost savings it will deliver. We can also optimize your existing IBM PPA contract to secure best-in-class discounts, pricing and terms.