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During the last years, all Software creators have made most or at least a significant part of their revenues through software auditing their clients. And as we don’t dispute that we’ve signed for that in our software contracts it’s still very strange that most of the departments at the software creators that are responsible for the legal use of it’s Intellectual Property have an attitude of a bully. If you don’t give us your lunch money we’ll drop you in the toilet, head first!
And of course there are also milder organizations but what I’m hearing and experiencing in the market is mostly the very tough approach.
What I don’t really understand is why? Because mostly we’re talking here about customer relations of multiple decades that are brought to risk. Do you think that organizations won’t change their technique when they’re feeling bullied? Think again. More and more changes are being designed and brought to practice each day. However, this mostly isn’t the solution to the problem. When you change IBM for Oracle, or SAP or whatever creator you can think of you might be in the same situation in a few years from now. There are a few reasons for that:
- You encounter the same software policeman at a different Creator (they tend to change jobs after a few years or go to resellers or SAM providers)
- You still decide not to have a proper license administration, License management or SAM. (Btw, buying a SAM tool still doesn’t solve the problem)
- You’re organization changed (grew, shrink) and your software position didn’t change for years.
- Your software reseller or you creators’ salesperson hasn’t met his personal targets yet.
- You think you’ve left your current role when the audit comes (very collegially)
Just let them audit then?
No. Most contracts say something about the right to a software audit, not on the procedure of this software audit. And that’s where you have to make a stand. Show them your procedures, tell them about the local laws, involve your security officer, your data protection officer, HR, legal and workers council if necessary.
When the auditor meets your demands in process and personnel the actual search for the in compliance can start. And to shatter all your dreams: all software metrics, rules and exceptions are so multiple explainable that you will have in compliance! Which will bring a lot of rumble in your organization.
Mostly the software creator hires a fancy accounting firm to do the initial research to impress you the shakes in your pants. But to be honest those accounting firms aren’t the cheapest and if you can give a reasonably credible report on your compliance fairly quick you can prevent a time consuming and thus expensive drill that an audit is. So the best thing is to be prepared by having a solid software administration.
Never ever run the scripts you’re handed. The stories of stopped plants, broken down IT, stopped points of sales are numerous. Let the scripts be tested by all people mentioned earlier and be aware of operational impact when running these scripts!
When all parties involved are satisfied you can run the scripts. Which again can be a real challenge when you have one or more service providers where your software runs…..
In the end, you will have to settle on the breaches. And for a lot of software creators, you can only buy the current versions of your software, mostly more expensive and loaded with extra’s you won’t use.
And now you have to buy your software. Mostly the software creator pushes you to buy the shortage at the appointed reseller. But what about buying the right version in the 2nd hand market? This changes the price list for you in compliance drastically and you’re helping out a colleague organization in one. Maybe you have a surplus in your compliance calculation. Then you could make that financial to help another organization with cheaper licenses for their in compliance, maybe.
A secondary effect is that you bring more software licenses on the market and thus urge the software creators sales to think of more effective ways to upkeep client relations than doing a software audit because he can!
If you need help on how to ‘survive’ a software audit or even better how to prevent them? Just give me or my colleagues at In2SAM a call or a message