Trends Report

Surviving A Software License Audit

Control The Process To Minimize The Risk Of Unexpected Charges

January 4th, 2010
Duncan Jones
With contributor:
Christine Ferrusi Ross


There's nothing wrong with software companies doing license audits — they have to protect their intellectual property (IP) — but sometimes audits can be painful, or even terminal, for IT sourcing and vendor management leaders. Not only did companies face increased software audit activity in 2009, but they also saw more causes of disputes and noncompliance claims. In addition to spotting genuine under-licensing, many vendors' audit teams seemed to want to meet their revenue targets by exploiting technicalities and loopholes. Smart software sourcing managers can reduce the risk of unexpected fallout from a software audit by staying in control of the process. The audit process becomes unstoppable once the vendor's compliance team spots a problem and places a dollar value on it. You can prevent this by resolving likely causes of dispute before the audit team comes on-site and limiting what they do when they're there. You may still face a bill at the end of the audit, but you will be able to limit purchases to products and capacity that you need going forward, rather than paying penalties for technical breaches that provide no value to your organization.

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