IBSMA Joins Industry Effort to Promote SAM in China (Apr. 10, '08)

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For Further Information Contact:
Steven Russman, 734/930-1295
E-mail: Inquiry@IBSMA.com

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 10, 2008) – The International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA) launched its Practitioners Certificate in Software Asset Management (PCSAM) course in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China, in April. Twenty representatives from government and industry attended the course, held at Microsoft’s offices. This group joins some 200 IT professionals in the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia certified in IBSMA’s methodology for assessing software asset management processes (SAM) according to ISO/IEC 19770-1.

“IBSMA is thrilled to have the opportunity to support software industry and government efforts to adopt SAM standards and to further education on software license management in China,” said Steven Russman, executive director of IBSMA and publisher of ECPweb. The Chinese government is making strides in promoting the protection of copyright and licensed property, and educating the business community is a long-term objective.

Software publishers and local IT service providers report awareness of software license management (SLM) in China lags other developed countries. Industry groups estimate more than 50 percent of software running on business and home computers is not properly licensed, though the rate of unlicensed-use has declined in recent years. The software industry in China is looking for ways to boost license revenue, yet enforcement practices, including compliance audits, which are routinely used in the U.S. and Europe to combat under-licensing and piracy in business, aren’t practical in China.

“Chinese business’ view of software license management is about 10 years behind the U.S.’,” said Russman, “but it won’t take 10 years to catch up. The country wants to be a major international player, and to do so, its business community will quickly adapt a Western-style approach to protecting intellectual property.”

Publishers and the watchdog trade association, Business Software Alliance (BSA), could step in with Western-style tactics, but they haven’t for good reason, says Russman. “The largest customers are state-owned enterprises across the country employing millions of workers, and they’re exempt from enforcement actions. China is also a fast-growing market and the software industry doesn’t want to alienate prospective customers with heavy handed compliance tactics.”

Some publishers, including Microsoft, Symantec and Adobe, are using education and awareness-building campaigns, and report some success. The BSA and its members, along with industry partners, hold seminars covering the risks of using unlicensed software, stressing the benefits of SAM and adopting industry standards, such as ISO/IEC 19770-1.

This toned-down approach requires patience and a long-term view, something earnings-focused companies find difficult to swallow. Software-company sources tell IBSMA that revenue is growing in China as multinationals and local businesses buy new licenses to support expanding operations. To foster license management as a good business practice, the publishers’ local SAM operations are helping Chinese firms and government develop software license management programs. The Chinese National Standards Institute, the influential government-sponsored body and member of ISO, is joining the effort. The group sent representatives to the IBSMA course and has plans to promote the ISO/IEC 19770 SAM standards and dedicate funding for industry research.

IBSMA plans future events in China, including adopting its courseware for the local market and a program to support adoption of 19770 standards.

IBSMA, the International Business Software Managers Association, is a division of ECP. IBSMA is an international association of business-focused SAM professionals working together on issues of common concern. ECPweb.com (ECP) is the innovative leader in news and reviews of technology asset, IT service and software asset management issues, practices and tools. ECP publishes Tools Manager, Software Manager, IT Service Manager and other industry-leading guides and reports.

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