Software Vendor Audits: Keeping a Low Profile

Don't want to leave your organisation susceptible to unplanned vendor audits? Check out our guide on how to keep everything above board, whilst remaining on the down low.

Published on 10th July 2015

Now we are all constantly reminded of the increasing chance of being audited by at least one software vendor each year (68% by Gartner’s estimates). What we aren’t told are ways to keep a low profile and potentially avoid a vendor driven audit. Vendor audits that are unplanned can tie-up internal resource for months and cause their own brand of expense outside of non-compliance.

I’ve jotted out a few points below that I feel can often be a catalyst for a vendor audit:

1. A sudden drop in software spend

This is probably the biggest red flag you could fly in a vendor’s face. And this could happen through a variety of channels including:

Breaking free of enterprise level agreements or maintenance contracts

Replacing of software infrastructure with other competing/OpenSource/FOC software

Downsizing of a company through staff retrenchment/perhaps a sale of an affiliate

2. Organisation growth

The most obvious contributor here is of course acquisitions and mergers, but vendor interest can also be drawn to natural growth where escalation of software spend is not following suit. There are of course some things that you can do to buffer yourself against unexpected surprises here:

With acquisitions and mergersIt really is incredibly important that software assets are a big topic in discussions prior to acquisitions of any sort. As the software risk absorbed can often outweigh any benefits projected from the attainment of company.

With healthy-growth Make sure that you also have a healthy communication with your HR department and helpdesk. To ensure that you are made aware of new licensing requirements promptly and that the relevant software and access is given out. Similarly, that you are notified when staff leave, so you can re-harvest the licenses appropriately (discovery tools can take up to 90 days to confirm the absence of a device).

3. Lack of communication

Like in any kind of relationship, communication is needed to ensure both parties feel involved and respected. The same goes for the relationship you have with your vendor account manager. Keeping the channels open (with at least the large vendors) develops a level of trust that can go a long way towards amicable relations moving forward.

This my friends, this is the one area that can really make a difference and can impact your susceptibility in the other areas already mentioned.

You obviously can’t remain chained to contracts that no longer suit your needs or limit your company growth for fear of the impending attention can you?? But you certainly can:

Be PROACTIVE and OPEN!!!

Here is something that you can do reduce your risk of a vendor driven audit. Firstly, you can be proactive, don’t wait for the vendor to come knocking and set the terms, deadlines etc. Schedule your own monthly/quarterly/biannual compliance reviews. And here is a shocker, then be open…when you are done…submit the results to the relevant software publishers yourselves!! This will prove that you have nothing sinister to hide and they may even be able to point out a new purchasing model/software to make your lives easier. Believe it or not, software publishers do want happy customers.

And for those of you that simply can’t afford that level of resource, don’t be hesitant to outsource to those lovely SAM Consultants out there…we can often save you more than the service itself costs!

Written by:

May Turnbull

SAM Manager

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