Software Audits: A Story Of Home Truths, Horror Stories, And Money

Mark Bartrick

Software audits are a bit like public transport; you can wait for ages for a bus and nothing turns up and then all of a sudden five come along at the same time. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that software vendors are running more licensing audits today than ever before. The challenging economic climate has driven down the volume of new license sales for many vendors, so they are looking to backfill that revenue gap by auditing their clients and by finding which ones are using more licenses than they actually purchased.

Looking at Forrester’s inquiries over the last few years, we can see a steady increase in calls asking for help with a Software Audit. The main vendors we see active in the software auditing space at the moment are IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. That’s not surprising, as they’re the major software vendors overall. More clients means more audits. And audits certainly aren’t limited to these players; vendors of all sizes are auditing.

But software audits don’t need to be a horror show. If you are well prepared for an audit and have good Software Asset Management procedures in place then you should have nothing to fear. If you aren’t prepared, perhaps in blissful denial that such an event would happen to you, then let this be a warning; in the software audit space, no one can hear you scream.

Un-licensed software usage is easy to miss. There are many potential causes but the outcome is usually the same; you owe more money to the software vendor!

So be prepared. And preparation starts with this: once the audit request arrives make sure you:

  • Understand the vendor’s Audit process
  • Establish a single point of contact within your organization
  • Establish your audit team
  • Get ahead of the audit by thoroughly reviewing your license entitlements and your actual usage before the Vendor’s audit team arrives
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